Let’s continue to shake off 2020 and the comfort zone of digital meetings. While useful in some applications, let us not make it the forefront of our meeting styles. While we can stimulate this return to normal more than we may realize, we need to continue to share what made us successful.
By John Paglia III
There is no industry quite like the waste industry. I have said it time and again—our services are essential and required to live a life like anyone in North America is accustomed to. Customers are familiar with paying for a service, and haulers make the material disappear, simply put. It is up to us on the back end to do it legally and reliably. We work every day to minimize risk exposures, increase safety measures, negotiate, drive cost down, increase profitability, and continue to network to grow your business either one container or one acquisition at a time. We are both private and public, relying upon face-to-face interaction for our successes.
The “New Normal”
Frankly, I enjoy the face-to-face. I am personally done with zoom calls, phone calls and webinars as the frontline communication that 2020 forced us to operate under due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. I enjoy and invite face-to-face interaction, and it is nice to see the industry going back to the “new normal”. I have begun to see vendors making site visits again, traveling to keep business relationships alive. New vendors, hungry to earn business, relentlessly knocking on the door (physically) in hopes of finding a crack in the door. One of the most desired attributes of the waste industry is that no day is the same and it will open doors to business and personal relationships that last a lifetime. I too enjoy traveling. While this year’s Waste Expo will be a scaled down version, it will still exist in the physical form. Colleagues young and old that I have talked to are making the trip. It is a glimmer of optimism that things are in the clear.
Not Missing a Beat
Now, how do we get everyone to buy into the full transition back? Our industry did not miss a beat during 2020. We worked very hard to communicate with each other about what worked and what did not. This communication and flexibility allowed many companies to not miss a beat when measuring success via profitability. Acquisitions by large privates/publics stayed on schedule and some can argue accelerated opportunities in their favor. Our services are and were in high demand. In previous articles, I have covered things we all have done to protect our men and women in the field, which is now everyone’s new normal. I believe the more the industry continues to push safe health practices—but encourage and not shy away from face-to-face interaction—we will be back to the way we knew it in a more hygienic version.
Shaking Off 2020
So, let us continue to shake off 2020 and the comfort zone of digital meetings. While useful in some applications, let us not make it the forefront of our meeting styles. It is job security in a way. The more we travel, the more trash and recyclable material we will generate in the process. Depending on where you look, the waste services industry can be very close to the top 10 largest industries in North America. Doing business with everyone on that list above or below us, we can stimulate this return to normal more than we may realize. In this process, large or small, we need to continue to share what made us successful, and other industries will continue their rebound as well. It is my hope that if you are reading this, you grabbed a physical copy while attending Waste Expo 2021. If so, reach out to me, I would love to meet and shake your hand and have a conversation—maybe even over an adult beverage. Stay safe and stay well. | WA
John Paglia III is a 4th generation garbage man and President of IMG, the parent company of Florida Express Environmental. Currently, John is focused on growing his company and offering the highest level of customer service and prolonging the world that we live in today. He continues to cultivate his passion for business leadership, innovation and education through his memberships in the National Waste and Recycling Association, Legislative Affairs Committee for Florida, National Interstate Insurance Corporation and the Future Industry Leader Association. He is also an active member of the Detachable Container Association. John wakes up every day knowing the impact professional haulers have on their community is far greater than most realize. He can be reached at (352) 629-4349, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.floridaexpress.us.