After 58 Years, 7 Months and 28 Days, Operator Willie Jean Retires from Landfill

June 22, 2020

One of our longest tenured employees (if not the longest!), Willie Jean retired last month with plans to spend time fishing and gardening. We think he’s earned it! Willie Jean started at Republic Services in October 1961, and during his years with the Company, he learned how to run just about everything at the Spring Grove Landfill in Charleston, SC.

Willie Jean grew up in Barnwell, a small town in South Carolina. He worked in cotton fields as a teenager and then went to work for the previous owners of Spring Grove. He worked with them until Republic Services acquired Spring Grove in 2003. Willie Jean has always been an Operator and previously worked all over the state. As an equipment operator, running the excavators and bulldozers, his two largest projects were the building of I-526 in Charleston and the interchange of I-26 and I-77 in Columbia SC. He was at Spring Grove since the first ton was put in the landfill in 1992.

“Willie Jean was the ultimate team member. He was always on time and always here. There was never a job too big or too small for him. He used to always tell me, ‘Boss, you are paying me to be here, so I am here for you.’ I have known Willie Jean my whole life and I genuinely will miss him. Well, at least until the weekend when I can pick him up to go fishing,” said Eric S., Charleston Post-Collection Operations Manager.

On his last day, Willie Jean didn’t want a ‘big hubbub,’ but instead chose to have a fish fry with his team. Several area leaders came out to wish him a happy retirement, including Justin V., Savannah Post-Collection Operations Manager; Rob C., Charleston General Manager; Bart K., Savannah General Manager; Eric S., Charleston Post-Collection Operations Manager; and Rachel M., Charleston/Columbia Human Resources Manager (see photo above).

Willie Jean,

From all of your friends at Republic Services, we wish you health, happiness and lots of fishing in this next chapter of your life! Thank you for your tremendous service and contributions to Republic – you will always be a valued member of the team! Happy Retirement!