Earlier this year, Waste360 announced the winners of its fifth annual 40 Under 40 awards program, which honors the next generation of leaders who are shaping the future of the waste and recycling industry. We are excited that two Republic Services leaders were named winners! Congratulations to Felipe G., Vice President, Sales, and Rich K., South Area President.
To view a slideshow of the 2020 Waste360 40 Under 40 winners and read their bios, click here.
Waste360 recently featured a Q&A with Rich K., highlighting his career path as well as serving the community. Read an excerpt of the interview here:
Waste360: What do you view as the most critical part of your job, as well as the most rewarding parts?
Rich: At Republic, prioritizing safety above all else is critically important to us. The safety of my employees is my responsibility. If my employees are safe, I know they can reliably serve our customers. But the truly most rewarding part of my job as an area president is investing my time in developing talent and working alongside smart and engaged teammates, including my area leaders and their teams, our drivers and frontline employees.
Waste360: What is your philosophy with regard to working with customers, and how do you act on this?
Rich: Listening and understanding the needs of our customers is the core of who we are, so I sit down with them and I listen.
We know our customers want to recycle, despite the challenges we face with China’s policies on acceptable recyclables. We are partnering with our municipal customers to create a more sustainable recycling model. I am working closely with my leadership teams to make sure we identify solutions that will allow customers to achieve their recycling goals as well as create a sustainable model for them and their communities.
Waste360: Tell me about your engagement with students.
Rich: I truly enjoy working with children, especially when it comes to talking about sustainability that impacts their future. I, along with my area and local leaders, work with school administrators and educators to host local school events around America Recycles Day and Earth Day where we talk with students about recycling, safety and other important topics.
We want to educate and empower students so they can be expert recyclers in their homes and at school.
For me, having an interactive lesson is important. I will typically show a short video on what we need to recycle and the recycling processes. And we use examples that make it personal for them. For instance, most kids love pizza. We know that putting a greasy pizza box in the recycling bin is a common mistake and use this as an example of something they can avoid to make a difference for the better.
The key is having something students can relate to, and making it fun and engaging. This will help create a sustainable future for the children – and their families – while enabling us to recycle more and reduce contamination.
Waste360: What other outreach do you do?
Rich: At Republic Services, we are actively involved in our communities; it is important to give back to the communities where we live and work. For example, under my leadership last year, the Republic Services Charitable Foundation, as part of its National Neighborhood Promise program, made a $250,000 donation to Avenue, one of our not-for-profit partners. Together with the non-profit, using the donation, our manpower and resources, over 120 volunteers revitalized several homes and a school playground in Houston. We are committed to working with this non-profit again in 2020 in Houston, along with over 20 other charitable giving projects across the country.
To read the full interview, click here.