Michael Rosenberger
President/Owner TRM Disposal (Indianola, IA)

How long have you been in the industry?: My first day as an employee in the industry was August 28, 2006. My first day as a business owner was October 31, 2011.

How did you get involved? What was your first job?: Prior to the waste and recycling industry, I worked for a company called Drywall Distributors where I drove a boomtruck and delivered drywall to houses and commercial businesses. We live in a small town, Indianola, and my wife and I both worked 45 minutes away from home. We were expecting our first child and one of us knew we should work in town. There was a small, family owned local hauler, McCoy Sanitation, who I had always been interested in working with. I had been looking in the local paper one day and there was a job advertisement for a garbage truck driver. I went in for an interview and they offered me the job of rear load truck driver. From that point on, I’ve enjoyed what I do, including being in the truck and throwing trash into the back of the truck.

Who/What was your biggest influence?: My first boss I had in the industry—Jeff McCoy of McCoy Sanitation. He taught me a lot about work ethic, equipment maintenance and pride in our industry. I am customer service driven; I want to make everyone happy and do the right thing. This industry is a lot different than the rest. When someone pays their bill for trash service, it is not like going to a store and taking something home. It all comes down to customer service because even though we are a local haul hauler, my community does not owe me anything, I have to prove myself.

What has been your most unique/interesting experience over the years?: Being a business owner after being an employee in this industry has been interesting. When my employer decided to retire and sell out to a national hauler, I wanted to continue to be in the industry and provide service for our community, so I bought a truck and started with 24 customers on October 31, 2011. In the last seven years, our company has grown to eight employees and almost 5,000 customers. In fact, the office coordinator that works for TRM Disposal is Brenda McCoy, the wife of my old boss. I have found that small haulers in this industry are very helpful and friendly. We all have a common purpose or goal, which is to provide a service to our community that adds value and support.

What do you see as the biggest challenges to the industry today?: Definitely manpower. With this low unemployment rate, it is really hard to find the right people. We have plenty of applicants, but not the right ones that I want representing my company. The way we deal with this is we all step up and do a little more; we help each other out.

What do you like most about being in the industry/your job?: Being out and about and having the actual customer interaction. I like going out in the elements and not being stuck inside. We are a small company in a small community, and we have never lost a customer due to poor customer service. The fact that I can go to a local establishment and people are comfortable starting a conversation with me because I’m wearing a company shirt is a compliment. Our customers enjoy having a local hauler in the community that is different than many other communities where the city chooses the hauler. We operate in an open hauler community making it more important to provide the best service possible to compete against national haulers. This is my passion.

Hobbies: I am an avid Iowa Hawkeye fan. We have two kids that keep us very busy running to many sporting and dance events. Our summer months fly by quickly with many community activities that I am involved with, like the National Balloon Classic. When possible, I try to get to at least one Jimmy Buffett concert every year and just enjoy the simple things in life.

Last vacation: Two years ago, my family and I packed up and took a nine day, 2,000-mile road trip. We went left Iowa bound for Dearborn, MI. We circled around Lake Huron and up to Mackinaw, MI and came back home through Wisconsin. It was the longest vacation we have had so far and it was a great experience.

Words to live by: Do the right thing, treat others the way you want to be treated, show respect, integrity and empathy. | WA