Miami-Dade County Department of Solid Waste Management (DSWM)
How long have you been in the industry?: More than 20 years.
How did you get involved? What was your first job?: I started as a temp, working for Browning Ferris Industries (BFI).
Who/What was your biggest influence?: My biggest influence was being part of a team of professionals that work hard and strive to providing excellent customer service.
What has been your most unique/interesting experience over the years?: My unique/ interesting experience has been making the transition from the private sector to the public sector and running one the of largest integrated solid waste systems in the Southeastern U.S. The DSWM collects from over 340,000 residential customers, twice-a-week, to include on-call bulky waste service, 13 neighborhood trash and recycling centers, two household hazardous waste sites, three transfer stations, three landfills (Class 1, Class 3 and Monofill) and a waste-to-energy facility. We are talking about the collection of more than 700,000 tons, to include 1.8 million tons managed by the disposal sites.
Another unique experience has been dealing with disaster debris collection. After a storm, DSWM is responsible for removing debris from the rights-of-way throughout the County. Back in 2017, Hurricane Irma caused more than 4 million cubic yards of debris. We collected the bulk of the debris within three months. We hired more than 1,400 truckers and hit hauling figures of 140,000 cubic yards a day. This was impressive! I also dealt with the aftermath of other storms such as Hurricane Wilma and Katrina from the public side of things. I was working in the private sector when hurricanes hit the Treasure Coast back 2004. These were all unique experiences for me.
What do you see as the biggest challenges to the industry today?: The biggest challenges are adapting to technology, finding resources and managing the waste.
What do you like most about being in the industry/your job?: I love my job because I care about the employees that make the garbage magically disappear. I manage one of the largest waste systems in the U.S., with close to 1,100 employees and more than 1,000 pieces of equipment. Everyone plays a special part into the day-to-day operations. From the collector collecting the garbage, to the transfer station operator loading the tractor-trailer, to the landfill/WTE personnel processing the waste, and let’s not forget the administrative staff behind the scenes making sure that we are hiring personnel and that we are billing and doing our accounting correctly. Everyone plays an important role! I’m just the captain on this massive ship. Mind you this ship is equivalent, if not larger, than some of these privately own regional firms such as Waste Management, Waste Connections and Republic Waste Services.
Hobbies: I like to run and stay active. I’ve run five marathons (two Miami Marathons, one New York, one Chicago, one Disney) and about 10 to 15 half marathons. Now, I’m starting Spartan Obstacle events. I have an eight-mile obstacle challenge in October and a 13-mile challenge in December. Staying active helps me unwind and remain focused. I also enjoy fishing and saltwater living with my kids.
Last vacation: This past summer I went on a cruise with my family. We cruised the Caribbean, visiting St. Kitts, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. It was great to spend some quality family time together.
Words to live by: I have a few. 1) Your title makes you a manager; your people make you a leader. 2) Stay humble and don’t forget where you came from. I still have my CDL-B license and don’t mind getting into a truck or yellow iron to get dirty. 3) Appreciate what your staff does for you every day! A simple thank you goes a long way.