Driving It Home

EIA recognizes its 2009 Drivers of the Year.

In June, the Environmental Industry Associations (EIA) honors its Drivers of the Year. These individuals truly represent the excellence that is exhibited by garbage men throughout the United States.

EIA extols the virtues of all American solid waste industry employees, calling them “Environmentalists. Every Day.” These 2009 award recipients are some of the best examples of “Environmentalists. Every Day.” As drivers and helpers, they are on the frontlines, protecting the environment and public health by efficiently and reliably collecting trash and serving as the face of their companies to their customers.

Studies have shown that Americans have great respect for their garbage collectors, considering them trustworthy, reliable and hardworking. Americans appreciate the ease of being able to dispose of their garbage and recyclables each week by putting it outside their homes or businesses.

People recognize that collecting waste is hard work. Drivers must safely navigate America's busy streets, avoiding the dangers caused by accident-prone, increasingly distracted and all-too-often aggressive drivers. They make their way safely through rain and shine (as well as other forms of precipitation), night and day, frigid cold and searing heat. Their vigilance is paying off, as efforts by our industry in recent years have helped to substantially decrease the fatality rate for garbage collectors.

In addition, many Americans can cite instances where garbage men went above and beyond their duties to help people along their routes, recovering a mistakenly discarded valuable or notifying emergency personnel when something seemed amiss.

EIA honors the following drivers:

Jean Alexandre, a refuse truck driver for Veolia ES Solid Waste in West Palm Beach, Fla., received the Large Residential Category Driver of the Year award. “It is clearly evident that [Jean] takes pride in the task before [him] as the service [he] provides Veolia's customers remains of the highest quality,” said Alexandre's supervisors.

Richard DeFelice, a refuse truck driver for East Coast Resources in Richmond, Va., received the Small Industrial Category Driver of the Year award. His company said of him, “Richard is a steady and consistently safe driver and has proven to be a valuable asset to our company and driver force.”

Kenneth Hunnicutt, a refuse truck driver for the City of Fresno, Calif., received a Driver of the Year award in the Public Sector Category. Hunnicutt previously has been recognized by the Fresno City Council as an employee of the quarter for his safe and courteous driving record.

Sean Jollon, a refuse truck driver for Mr. T Carting Corporation in Glendale, N.Y., received the Small Commercial Category Driver of the Year award. Jollon says he does a complete check of his truck as soon as he arrives each morning and when he returns the truck at the end of every day. “I'm very aware of the road, anticipating what people are going to do ahead of time,” he adds.

Donald Lederer, a refuse truck driver for Republic Services in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., received the Large Commercial Category Driver of the Year award. His customers say that he never misses a pick up and is always polite. One customer said of Lederer, “Donny is an extremely reliable, capable, dedicated and personable young man.”

John Thomas, a refuse truck driver for Republic Services of Southern Nevada in Henderson, Nev., received the Large Industrial Category Driver of the Year award. His customers noted the pride he takes in his job, the care with which he handles his truck and how he carefully repositions containers after emptying them. One customer said, “John is a hard-working, self-starter, who invariably understands exactly what handling a customer is all about.”

Larry Upshaw, a refuse truck driver for Cardinal Sanitation in Tyrone, Ga., received the Small Residential Category Driver of the Year award. He is known for his positive attitude and kindness, helping his customers, waving and smiling. His boss said of him, “Larry has always led by example and is always eager to assist new employees in getting on the right track.”

For more information about these awards or EIA, visit www.everydayenvironmentalists.org/EIA/DOYawards.

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Thomas Metzger is director of communications and public affairs for the National Solid Wastes Management Association. Reach him at (202) 364-3751.

Larry Upshaw, a refuse truck driver for Cardinal Sanitation in Tyrone, Ga., received the Small Residential Category Driver of the Year award. He is known for his positive attitude and kindness, helping his customers, waving and smiling. His boss said of him, “Larry has always led by example and is always eager to assist new employees in getting on the right track.”

For more information about these awards or EIA, visit www.everydayenvironmentalists.org/EIA/DOYawards.


Thomas Metzger is director of communications and public affairs for the National Solid Wastes Management Association. Reach him at (202) 364-3751.

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