A fully integrated operation, Caglia Environmental is strategically setting their foundation for growth while giving back to their employees and areas that they serve.
The patriarch and founder of the Caglia Family of Companies, Frank Caglia, was born in 1912 in the village of Muschito, Italy. Emigrating with his family to the U.S. in 1920 through Ellis Island, they settled in Fresno, CA and worked diligently to make ends meet. His first job, at age 14, was working at Electric Motor Shop (a electric motor repair and electrical contracting company) doing small jobs around the shop, such as sweeping and helping out where needed. Soon after, he began buying ownership interests in the company and purchased the remaining shares in the 1940s. Still run by the Caglia family today, Electric Motor Shop has been in business for more than 100 years and employs over 100 members of the local community.
In 1941, Frank purchased his first garbage business—the Orange Avenue Landfill—and in 1971, with his son Joe, he created Industrial Waste & Salvage (IWS). Today, IWS is one of the largest roll-off hauling companies in the Central Valley.
In 2004, the family recognized that the Orange Avenue Landfill was nearing its capacity and would soon need to close. From that, the Cedar Avenue Recycling and Transfer Station (CARTS) was developed and built on the backside of the landfill. CARTS is the largest permitted facility in the Central Valley, with processing capabilities of more than 3,000 tons per day. The facility receives, processes and/or transfers municipal solid waste, commercial and residential recycling, construction and demolition materials, and organic waste. Frank’s son, Vince Caglia also helped start and currently operates a large-volume asphalt and concrete recovery plant.
The Caglia Family’s newest Division, Redrock Environmental Group, started in 2012 with a franchise award from Madera County (North of Fresno) for the operation of its waste and recycling programs. Redrock operates the county’s landfill, the collection franchise under 1,000 feet elevation, a small transfer station in North Fork and a household hazardous waste facility. In total, Caglia Environmental employs 150 people which serve more than 15,000 customers in the Central Valley.
Passing away in 2008, Frank is survived by five of his children and several grandchildren, a few of which are involved in running the organizations today.
A Fully Integrated Operation
“The Caglia family has a unique advantage in the Central Valley by being the only organization that is fully integrated, receiving and processing every material type collected while also operating a landfill,” says Justin Raymond, Redrock’s Division Manager. “This has been the key to hedging against the volatility of the recycling markets.” Caglia Environmental is committed to implementing initiatives, trying to create more value in the materials while adapting to the current commodity markets. The company has also made changes and innovations to their sort line and recovery equipment. “There has been drastic changes in the industry and we have been adapting to try and stay ahead of the curve. We are constantly evaluating the commodity markets. Being fully integrated gives us the ability to work in our current market,” says Raymond.
“Like most, we continue to face huge challenges in our business. Last month, we acknowledged yet another significant decrease in the fiber market. It’s a hard pill to swallow when everyone still wants to recycle,” he continues. With paper bales piling up, the necessity to be more creative in how to market the material is paramount. Greg Ollivier, the CARTS Division Manager notes that, “I have found unique ways to incentivize buyers to take our materials and keep moving them out the door. In scenarios like that, we have been successful in getting rid of various commodities even if no revenue was generated just to keep it from going to a landfill.”
Mike Ledieff, Caglia Environmental’s Business Development Manager, highlights on the CARTS Construction and Demolition processing, “We have an outdoor C&D processing line as part of our CARTS operation. Being integrated with a facility like this allows us to help customers meet the CalGreen standard as diversion becomes more of a prominent requirement for new construction building. We help our customers get above the mandated 65 percent diversion rate because of the innovations that we have in place.”
Caglia Environmental finds that one of the other big challenges they face is working with various generators of organic waste to implement California’s AB1826—the Organics Recycling Mandate. “There is de-packaging technology that we use to process material and do our best to incentivize diversion of materials away from landfills. However, there are generators that still choose to landfill due to its low cost. The generators that we do have using our technology support the additional cost and appreciate the fact that their material is going to another use. In most cases, their processed organic material is being used to create natural gas that comes back for reuse in other areas,” says Ledieff.
He continues, “The Caglia Family appreciates the concern for our air quality in the Central Valley and does its best in many thankless ways to do their part.”
The Caglia Family created a landmark project several years ago by taking the closed Orange Avenues Landfills methane gas and converts it into electricity with a generator. By day, it assists its facilities with power, by night it puts electricity on the local utilities grid. Previously, that gas would have been flared into the atmosphere.
Raymond stresses that safety is the number one priority to the organization and something that every employee is very proud of. The Redrock division of Caglia Environmental has achieved more than 550 days without a recordable accident and has never experienced a lost-time accident since inception over 2,300 days ago—an extremely impressive record in this industry. The organization does many things at the forefront to tackle this important issue, whether it is weekly department tailgates or monthly safety meetings with groups, to specialized training for lockout/tagout, confined spaces, etc. A lot of what has attributed to Caglia Environmental’s success is how every department is committed to safety. For example, at CARTS, the Sort Line Supervisors and the Operations Managers hold several minute daily tailgate meetings with their staff, where they stretch together, warm up and get ready for the day. In addition, all of the management teams from all of the different divisions get together monthly and talk higher level safety program policy.
They have monthly safety inspections in their facilities as well as safety incentive programs that award people for safe practices, behavior and safety records. The company holds frequent BBQs in recognition of maintaining an accident and injury free workplace. They also have annual events that recognize the employees for their accomplishments.
Raymond also points out, “We have numerous ways for employees to communicate with us on any safety concerns or issues they have, either confidentially or in open forums. We also have an inspection program where we conceal sticker dots on pieces of equipment to make sure the operators or drivers are doing proper pre- and post-trip inspections. Safety is at the forefront of all of our focus and every leader that works for this family takes it very seriously. We have weekly paycheck attachments that talk about recent accidents in the industry, share forecasts on the local weather conditions, etc. Lastly, something we are very proud of, is the CARTS facility receiving the prestigious CAL OSHA Golden Gate Award. We want to continue our core focus on safety,” he says.
Changing a Traditional Mindset
Changing the traditional mindset has been the key to overcoming the demanding job market change. “We are still feeling a small trickle down affect from the job market shift a few years ago so finding individuals to fill front line positions, such as commercial drivers, heavy equipment operators and even mechanics, has been difficult,” says Raymond.” Not only have pay ranges changed significantly over the last three years, but just the vast amount of employment opportunities has narrowed down available candidates to those with less experience. Five years ago, it would have been relatively easy to find a garbage driver that had 5+ years of experience. Now, most of the candidates have very little experience, or in some cases, just graduated from driving school or equipment college. This shift has forced us to enhance our internal training programs and we have been successful at doing so.” Seeing the growth in their collection divisions and the need for more drivers, plus the turnover attributed to the job market, the company developed a formal driver in training program. It outlines what an employee would go through over a six-week period and what each week would cover in their training process. For example, a week of general equipment overview, getting their permit, passing their medical card exam, all the way through week six of taking their commercial driver’s license test at the DMV. Raymond states that they have placed several employees through the program successfully and it has been a great way for them to retain people that normally would not have sought employment in the solid waste industry.
Another training program the company has developed is for heavy equipment operators. This is a six-step sign off program. Instead of a weekly layout, there are six steps to demonstrate in six categories. The Equipment Trainer, Lead Operator and Operations Manager must sign off on the training completion before the employee is allowed to operate that particular piece of heavy equipment. “Developing these two programs has been vital to enhancing our operations.” says Raymond.
For recruitment and hiring, Caglia Environmental posts on their website, social media channels, uses social media jobsites, sends out mass e-mails to retired veterans, works with local employment agencies, participates in job fairs, adheres stickers or magnets to the back of their collection vehicles, and places ads in numerous different magazines and newspapers. They have even recently hired a recruiter to take a more aggressive approach to finding experienced applicants. “This recruiter is to reach out for those positions that are not self-fed through our normal recruiting channels. The recruiter has various tools we have come up with to encounter the type of employees we are looking for. Sometimes, its as simple as a strategic hello! The recruiter’s focus for our companies is simply implementing those tools,” says Raymond.
Rooted in the Community
Frank Caglia’s successes, fueled by his appreciation of his home town of Fresno, inspired him to give back to the community that had given him so many blessings. It is that love of community that has led the Caglia family, for three generations, to be an integral part of the philanthropic works of greater Fresno and San Joaquin Valley. Expresses Raymond, “They are huge supporters in the Central Valley and very well-respected members of this community.”
Raymond points out that the Caglia family is proud that they are so rooted in the local community. “When I tell people where I work, people know who the family is and what they stand for,” says Raymond. The Caglia family is most proud that they have provided a sturdy foundation for their employees to prosper, treating them like family, while reinvesting in the development and growth of the business. “How you should treat people has been instilled in all of the second and third generation family down from Frank. He taught them that you treat your people right and they will take care of your business.”
Ledieff agrees, “Seeing the relationship that the Caglia family has with their employees has been phenomenal—the owners know the names of the family members of a frontline employee, have taken them to lunch, know their likes and dislikes; you don’t see that very often. There is a gentleman that has been working for the company for over 40 years and has not retired yet because he loves being around this family. There is a level of respect here that you don’t see or hear about at other places in our industry.”
On the Horizon
For now, Caglia Environmental is focused on strategic growth. They have taken an aggressive approach to growing in the Central Valley and over the past few years, they have developed the team and the systems necessary to do just that. The family is looking to grow all aspects of the business, internally and externally. Explains Raymond, “We hope to expand as the Central Valley expands and strategically being ready to support that growth is what we have our eyes on for the near future.”
Keeping up with the industries’ advanced technology is another focus of Caglia Environmental; whether it is equipping all of the collection vehicles with the latest technology or their CARTS facility being powered on landfill gas that is produced from the closed Orange Avenue site. Says Raymond, “The garbage business is always evolving and, regulations are always changing; opportunities that may not have been available in the past are presenting themselves now, so we have a lot on the horizon.”
Raymond concludes, “The Caglia Family of Companies is excited for whats next. Not only have they set the foundation for growth, but they will also forever prosper as they continue treating the customers and communities they serve like home and the people they employ like family. They are winning combinations.”
A Family of Companies
Electric Motor Shop
Frank Caglia began working at the Electric Motor Shop when he was a teenager, sweeping, cleaning and learning the business as he worked. As a young man, he began buying ownership interests in the business, and when the original owners retired, Frank saw an opportunity and purchased the remaining shares of the business. Under Frank’s leadership and with his entrepreneurial spirit, the business prospered and developed into a well-known, highly respected Fresno landmark.
Established in 1913, today Electric Motor Shop is a premier electrical contractor, motor repair shop and electrical supply wholesale distributor. Dick Caglia, Frank’s son, has been the General Manager of Electric Motor Shop and the Caglia Family companies for many years, and his children work with him today. Frank’s daughter, Sally, is Executive Administrator for the Caglia Family companies. Three of Frank’s grandchildren are the next generation of the Caglia family to work at Electric Motor Shop. A family-managed business, Electric Motor Shop is a valley landmark: a premier electrical contractor and electrical supply wholesale house.
Orange Avenue Landfill
Frank Caglia’s father-in-law bought the old city landfill from Rossi Disposal Service in 1939. In 1941, Frank purchased the landfill from him and in 1971, created Industrial Waste and Salvage to expand the company’s trash and recycling services, including construction and demolition disposal and recycling. Long before recycling was in vogue, Frank taught his seven children, Joe, Richard, Sally, Vince, Mary Ann, Bernadette, and Rose, the importance of resource conservation. From those early days, the Caglia family championed environmentally sound practices like recycling, offering inexpensive and convenient disposal of trash and recycling materials throughout Fresno County. Orange Avenue Disposal always participated in the Keeping America Beautiful campaign and championed services to keep Fresno clean of trash as part of the Fresno Beautiful campaign in the 1960’s. Frank’s eldest son, Joe, carried on the family tradition of environmental preservation by managing the landfill for optimum trash disposal and recycling in the seventies and eighties. Frank’s son, Vince, was the General Manager for the last 17 years of the landfill, until it ceased operations in 2008. It will be maintained in post-closure care by the Caglia family for over 30 years.
Industrial Waste and Salvage
Industrial Waste and Salvage (IWS) offers disposal services for trash and recycling collection, rental of trash and recycling dumpsters, rental of trash and recycling roll off bins, and construction and demolition trash and recycling services. As the company grew, it modernized its fleet with the purchase of environmentally friendly CNG trucks. By doing so, IWS is reducing the company’s carbon footprint in the Central Valley, resulting in cleaner air for the Central Valley communities IWS serves.
Cedar Avenue Recycling and Transfer Station (CARTS)
The CARTS facility, started by the Caglia Family in 2004, represents the latest generation of transfer station facilities. Unlike a traditional garbage dump, such as the closed Orange Avenue landfill, the CARTS facility is a fully integrated materials recovery facility, processing mixed recyclables from a variety of sources, including construction/demolition materials, trash and recycling from commercial, government, industrial, and residential customers. When a customer orders a trash or recycling dumpster or a trash or recycling roll off bin for home, business, or construction clean-up, it is taken to CARTS for recovery. CARTS recycles more than 70 percent of trash and recycling collected, repurposing it into raw materials for transformation into new products for consumers.
Redrock Environmental Group
As the exclusive provider of trash and recycling services for the lower elevations of Madera County since 2012, Redrock Environmental Group is committed to a cleaner, healthier Madera County through advanced trash and recycling practices. Madera County agricultural, business and residential customers receive prompt, courteous trash and recycling pick-up. Businesses and residents in Madera County can order dumpsters and roll off bins for trash, recycling, and construction and demolition clean-up. Redrock also operates the Fairmead landfill for Madera County.
For the first time in Fresno County, a privately held company is harnessing landfill gas and converting it into electricity. A landmark project, it supplies 100 percent of the power required to operate many of the Caglia family owned facilities. Caglia Environmental facilities now operate using renewable energy generated by the gas from the closed Orange Avenue Landfill. Gas from landfills is produced during the natural process of waste decomposition over time. When not harnessed for power, the filtered gas is burned off into the atmosphere. By capturing the gas before it is expelled, it can be used as a fuel, which is a sustainable alternative to an atmospheric release.
For more information, please visit www.cagliaenvironmental.com or contact 559-999-1111.