With a hands-on approach that involves strategic partnerships, giving back to the communities they serve and enthusiastically tackling challenges that come their way, A.J. Blosenski, Inc. continues to be one of the largest and most well-respected family owned trash and recycling companies in Pennsylvania.
A.J. Blosenski, Inc. (Elverson, PA) is a fourth generation, family-owned and operated, full service trash and recycling company established by Anthony J. Blosenski, Sr. In 1984, with the support of his wife Colleen, Anthony J. Blosenski, Sr. began operating as A.J. Blosenski Do Away and Hauling under the mentorship of his father, Joseph Blosenski, Jr. At that time, special pickup services included trash removal from residential homes, businesses and warehouses, as well as property maintenance and snow removal. After starting their first recycling account with the Daily Local News, A.J. Blosenski Do Away and Hauling expanded operations in 1994 to become a full-service collection company that included residential, commercial, and industrial trash and recycling collection. That same year, Anthony J. Blosenski, Sr. and his wife incorporated the company and A.J. Blosenski, Inc. was born. Celebrating its 30-year anniversary in 2014, Anthony J. Blosenski, Sr. and his family continue to make their own contributions to the continued growth of the company. “A.J. Blosenski Do Away and Hauling laid the foundation and set the standards and principles that guide A.J. Blosenski, Inc. today,” says Anthony J. Blosenski, Sr.
A.J. Blosenski, Inc. currently has 230 employees and 135 vehicles in their ever-expanding fleet. They provide service in 13 counties of southeast Pennsylvania and two additional counties in northern Delaware. A.J. Blosenski primarily uses single and dual-stream recycling collection methods. Their onsite recycling center, BDSI Recycling, processes more than 30 million pounds of recyclable material per year. This material includes plastics, paper, cardboard, aluminum and scrap metal. A strategic partnership with Conshohocken Recycling and Rail Transfer (CRRT) added in 2015 also helps them to process more than 500 tons of construction and demolition material per day.
Although the nationwide hit to the recycling industry has impacted A.J. Blosenski’s current business, they are focusing on doing their best to limit the contamination rates of their fiber loads. This is facilitated by collecting as much material as possible in a dual-stream fashion. “This greatly reduces the contamination rates, which significantly impact the marketability of the product in today’s environment,” says Denny Riggins, Plant Manager of BDSI. “The cleaner the collection technique, the more marketable the products will be and that is very important in today’s market. By focusing more on dual-stream collection, we are able to collect cleaner, more marketable product.”
A.J. Blosenski has also seen an increase in the amount of recycling that is taking place on construction sites. Contractors seem to be more conscious of disposal costs, which has caused a jump in wood, metal, sheetrock, asphalt and masonry recycling. These efforts have helped to decrease disposal costs, limit environmental impact and make new construction more sustainable. This increase has had a direct, positive impact on the partnership with CRRT.
A Hands-On Approach
When it comes to training, A.J. Blosenski takes a proprietary hands-on approach that requires all new employees to experience and learn about each department within the company. In this unique approach, new hires, including drivers and loaders, shadow the in-house sales and customer service team. This allows them to see how the A.J. Blosenski team interacts with new and existing customers. “Our training program allows new hires to learn how each department contributes to the overall success of the company. This approach has helped us to build a team that works exceptionally well together,” says Nicholas Rohr, Sales and Marketing Coordinator.
Continued technical education and certifications for the mechanical staff is overseen by Fleet Supervisor, John Watson, while OSHA training is outsourced. A.J. Blosenski uses the Smith System for safe driver training. During training sessions, drivers cover the comprehensive program’s five keys (look high in steering, get the big picture, keep your eyes moving, leave yourself an out and make sure other motorists see you) and how they correlate to driver safety and reducing accidents. New drivers also spend time in the classroom and on the road with Kevin Davison, Safety Coordinator. Davison regularly schedules safety meetings where drivers and loaders can discuss current safety concerns within the industry and determine how they can work to better limit risk. He also meets individually with drivers to discuss performance and new safety protocols.
Anthony J. Blosenski, Jr. (AJ) is the company’s fleet manager. He oversees a crew of 15 mechanics and technicians who inspect, maintain and manage their vehicles. “Keeping our fleet of 135 vehicles clean is a challenge but also a source of pride within the company. A.J. Blosenski, Inc works very hard to break the stigma surrounding trash and recycling collectors. Just because we haul trash does not mean that we should have dirty trucks,” says AJ. A full-time wash crew works hard at detailing their trucks on a daily basis, even going as far as DOT Washes on the undercarriage. This extra step has greatly improved their roadside inspections and helps the fleet to stand out amongst the competition. Their facility also includes a full-service body shop, a container repair and fabrication shop and a custom decal department that helps to keep the vehicles in top shape.
Even when it comes to the communities they serve, A.J. Blosenski, makes sure that they are involved in giving back. Anthony J. Blosenski, Sr. strongly believes in participating with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Truckers for Miracle Kids benefiting The Children’s Miracle Network, Touch-a-Truck events, Ronald McDonald House, community parades and other local events. They also proudly sponsor public and private schools along with local athletic programs. The Twin Valley Community Education Foundation recently honored A.J. Blosenski with their 2016 Community Business Program Award for the internship program that they offer.
Not only does A.J. Blosenski currently face the challenges of clean recyclable material, constantly growing disposal rates and rising labor costs, the company also wrestles with the fact that there is a massive shortage of qualified commercial drivers. The waste and recycling industry has not gained the attention of the young, working class individuals. “Gaining the attention of reliable, hardworking employees has always been one of our biggest challenges,” says Anthony J. Blosenski, Sr.
Hauling trash and recycling products may not be the first choice a newly licensed commercial driver thinks about, so the company is continually working to make A.J. Blosenski stand out in the job market. Human Resources Manager, Rachael Farber, says, “Our fleet is one of our greatest marketing strategies. Drivers see our trucks on the road, at truck rodeo competitions, or merely at the local Wawa and call us for job opportunities.”
The newest trucks to the fleet are rewarded to those employees with the most outstanding driving records. This approach is a great way for A.J. Blosenski to show appreciation for outstanding performance. The driver is consulted on the build specs to allow them some freedom in features they are interested in to make the vehicle more personal. The employees’ family members are also included in the project and their names are lettered on the doors or front bumper. A small photo shoot is held the day the truck is delivered to its new driver and the best picture is framed as a gift. This strategy creates a little competition amongst the employees to do their best every day, in hopes that they’ll earn their own truck as well.
A.J. Blosenski provides competitive pay, uniforms, a great benefits package, retirement options and state-of-the art-equipment to their employees. Day rate or route pay has become the preferred method of pay for the waste industry but A.J. Blosenski has always paid employees per hour. This allows employees to keep safety as their number one priority as well as an integral part of the route growth.
Despite these hurdles, Anthony J. Blosenski, Sr. points out that he is especially proud of the fact that they are growing into one of the largest and most well-respected family owned trash and recycling companies in Pennsylvania. Anthony J. Blosenski, Sr. has unwavering attention to detail and a unique ability to hire employees that take as much pride in the company as the Blosenski family members. “Faith and family are the key ingredients to a successful business,” he says.
Continuing to Grow
Erin Blosenski-Littlefield is focused on increasing the company’s municipal contract portfolio and professionally managing current and future customers. She is also focused on providing a culture within the company that emphasizes the employee comes first. “The phenomenal team at A.J. Blosenski, Inc. has allowed us to grow to the size we are today,” says Erin. She works diligently to constantly educate the administrative team and sales professionals on industry specific software that aids with customer management.
A.J. Blosenski enthusiastically looks forward to the future to continue providing the quality of service their customers have associated with the Blosenski family name for the past four generations. “Our customers and our employees are the foundation of our company; these relationships are crucial to the success of our business,” says Anthony J. Blosenski, Sr.