Heroic Deeds

All too often, the waste industry is in the news for the wrong reasons, such as when neighbors complain about odors from a landfill, traffic in and out of a transfer station, etc.

In early September, however, four Rumpke Consolidated Cos. collection workers made headlines for all the right reasons. On the morning of Sept. 2, Joe Battaglia, Michael Jones Sr., Bradley Wild and Charles Voland helped 10 people — including a mother and her two children — escape a burning barbershop and apartment building outside of Cleveland.

As one of the men said, the scene “looked like something from a movie. The building was full of flames.”

Their actions quickly drew the praise of a grateful community. “It was obviously a heroic deed,” said Cleveland Fire Captain Martanovic. “These guys did a great job. We can’t say enough about them.”

For a full account of the heroism displayed by these Rumpke employees, read "Hauler Heroics."

The other stories in our October issue may not be quite as action-packed, but “Hauler Heroics” is not the only story in this issue that you need to check out.

In "Steady as a Rock," longtime Waste Age contributing writer Michael Fickes profiles Raleigh, N.C.-based Waste Industries USA. Founded in 1970, the firm has grown to the point where it ranked No. 16 in the most recent Waste Age 100 ranking of the largest waste management firms in North America.

Fickes details the firm’s diverse revenue stream and chronicles the changes it has made over the years, including its headline-grabbing 2008 return to private ownership after more than a decade as a publicly traded company.

We kept Fickes busy this month: His "The Spirit of Radio" details how some haulers are using radio frequency identification (RFID) devices to improve their waste and recycling collection operations.

In "The Recycling Roadmap," consultant Robin Mitchell details how states such as California, Maryland and Massachusetts are able to achieve high landfill diversion rates. The article is the first installment of a two-part series.

As always, we want to hear your feedback, both on the stories in this issue and on other subjects that you think we should be covering. I can be reached at (770) 618-0201 or [email protected].