Danielle Holland is no stranger to working in a “man’s” world. When Danielle graduated high school, she headed straight into the military. In fact, she says, the day she left for boot camp happened to be one of the darkest days in American history – September 11, 2001. Danielle served on the Navy’s military police force for four years as a Master-at-Arms, an experience she says prepared her for her future in the garbage industry. “It helped me to ground myself, be structured, follow rules, and not be soft,” she said.
Shortly after leaving the Navy in 2005, Danielle had her first child. In 2007, she joined the Department of Defense as a federal police officer in Jacksonville, FL, a role in which she served for ten years. In 2017, Danielle decided she wanted to “get the inside scoop” on what 911 dispatchers do, so she left Jacksonville and joined the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office as a dispatcher. During these years, Danielle did it all – worked, raised her children, and got an education. She has an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, and master’s degree in criminal justice from Kaplan University, and is currently working on her PhD in forensic psychology from Walden University. “Everybody asks me what I’m going to do when I get my PhD, but I have no intentions of going anywhere any time soon. I love our team in Palm Coast.”
Danielle joined Waste Pro in 2019. She never expected to work in the garbage industry, she says, but as her children grew up, she needed a change of pace that would allow her to spend more time with them at home. “There is no 9-5 in law enforcement,” she said. “Christmas was never on Christmas, birthdays were never on birthdays, I missed a lot of school celebrations.” So, she decided to try something different. “I started out as a customer service representative, answering calls and helping with complaints,” she said. “I guess I picked up on it quick.”
Heather Badger-Felmet, who was Office Manager at the time Danielle started, became Division Manager in 2019. When the Office Manager position opened, she immediately knew Danielle was the right person for the role. “Heather was giving me more responsibilities and I loved it,” she said. During her time as Office Manager, Danielle says she also did a lot of “behind the scenes” work with operations in addition to helping the supervisors. So, when the route supervisor position opened up, Heather knew the perfect person and Danielle was up for the opportunity. “I knew it would be a challenge and I was up for the task. I was the only female supervisor and additionally did not have a CDL license. Going in, I worked hard to earn the respect of our Waste Pro crews and the rest is history,” Danielle said.
“Our crews know there is nothing I ask them to do that I wouldn’t do – they have seen me on the back of a truck to help finish a route as well as waiting at the yard nightly to make sure every last person gets back from their route before I leave for the day.” The rest of the team was quick to notice her dedication and support for them. “I have a good relationship with all of the crew, we’re like a family,” she said. “I don’t wake up in the mornings and go ‘ugh, got to go to work today.’ I just really enjoy it.”
Danielle doesn’t take it lightly that she’s been promoted twice in three years – the opportunities she’s received, she says, are the best thing about Waste Pro. “They don’t look at you and say, ‘you’re good where you’re at, we’re going to keep you there,’” she said. “They see potential in people, and they move you. I tell people during interviews all the time – there is so much room for growth if you want it.” Every day is different, Danielle says, and she always jumps at an opportunity to challenge herself and learn more. She recently attended Waste Pro’s Driver Training Center in Sanford, FL, which gives employees a chance to attend a multi-day training class covering topics including customer service, safety, vehicle specifics, and the “Waste Pro Way.” In addition, the curriculum gives participants access to hands-on experience using a new, state-of-the-art driving simulator, and specially designed training trucks. “I don’t get complacent in a lot of things,” Danielle said. “I like learning.”
When she’s not on the back of a truck or supporting her team, Danielle describes herself as a family person. She has a twin brother and a mother who both live close to her and her three children, and they like to spend time together doing things like barbecuing or going to the local theme parks – family time she had very little of before joining Waste Pro. “Working here has definitely given me a balance to be with my kids,” she said. “I can be home with them and cook them dinner while still working hard and taking pride in what I do.”