Brad Berryman, senior director, fleet management for Republic Services and one of Waste360’s 40 Under 40 award recipients, joined the waste and recycling industry in the late stages of his career. For the past nine years, Berryman has made a name for himself by moving up from the purchasing department to a management position.
Previously, Berryman held jobs at Harley Davidson, Honda of America and other well-known companies, but he quickly found a passion for the waste and recycling industry when he joined the Republic team.
Berryman is an active member of the Future Industry Leaders Alliance (FILA), the sister organization of the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF). He also is a current member of EREF’s Auction Committee, which helps organize the foundation’s events.
Waste360 recently spoke with Berryman about how he got his start in the waste and recycling industry, the challenges and rewards that come along with the industry and his role as senior director, fleet management for Republic.
Waste360: How did you get your start in the waste and recycling industry?
Brad Berryman: In 2007, my entire family moved from Ohio to Arizona, and I was looking for a new opportunity that would allow me to follow them out there. During that time, Republic was expanding its purchasing department and it just so happened that I was a good fit for one of the roles that the company had open. It’s really an example of being in the right place at the right time.
I worked for the purchasing department for a couple of years, and I eventually had the opportunity to branch out to other areas and landed where I am now in maintenance and operations.
Waste360: Tell us about your current role as senior director, fleet management for Republic and your responsibilities.
Brad Berryman: My team and I are responsible for both fleet management and maintenance. We have a 15,800 truck fleet spread throughout 300 divisions and more than 2,300 technicians who work on our fleet.
On the fleet management side, we have the responsibility of spec’ing and procuring the best equipment available to us in the industry. We also are responsible for building industry relationships with suppliers and making sure that we properly educate our field on how to maintain our equipment.
On the maintenance side, we set the strategy for our company, which is to maintain the safest and most reliable fleet in the waste industry.
At Republic, we also have a very robust safety strategy. We have excellent teams in the field that execute all of our strategies so that we perform as one organization. When we are in touch with our customers and communities, for example, we ensure that they are provided with the safest opportunities that we can provide them.
Waste360: What are Republic’s goals for 2016?
Brad Berryman: When it comes to company goals, we are completely aligned from our CEO to our drivers and technicians. We all work together to ensure that we have the safest and most reliable fleet in the country.
Specifically, my team needs to make sure that our trucks roll because if they don’t roll we cannot provide great service to our 14 million customers.
Waste360: What are the most exciting/most challenging aspects about directing fleets for the second largest waste hauler in the country?
Brad Berryman: When I reflect on being in charge of the corporate department responsible for managing the second largest fleet in the industry, it is an amazing responsibility to reflect on. Being responsible for the fleet is what makes my job so rewarding. I get the opportunity to touch all different aspects of our organization, and I get to communicate with all of the different departments, including operations, procurement, sales, marketing, maintenance and more. It’s a rewarding opportunity, even though it’s challenging at the same time.
My personal job description has a 75 percent travel potential so my team and I spend a lot of time on the road. Traveling allows us to go out and ensure, coach, train and provide fleet buying and spec’ing strategies to all of our areas. In order to make this effective, my team spends a lot of time setting corporate expectations and strategies so that we can see them implemented in the field during our travels.
I am most proud of the fact that I get to work with really great people during my travels and report the company’s successes back to corporate in Phoenix. I couldn’t have found a better group of people to work for and support. I am having a lot of fun in this role, and I am proud of the impact that I am having on the organization.
Waste360: What advice do you have for the future generation of industry workers?
Brad Berryman: I would definitely tell the future generation to not overlook the waste and recycling industry. One of my only regrets is that I didn’t find it sooner. If I had known that the waste industry was such a close-knit community, I definitely would have made the decision to try and find a way into the waste industry much earlier.
And that is the part that makes it so rewarding … It’s an amazing industry to be part of, and I hope I don’t ever have to choose to go somewhere else.