Serendipity played a role in bringing Katie Raverty-Evans into the waste industry, but it was a minor role. The main driver of her relocation was simple, clear-eyed logic paired with hard-nosed research.
"It was a spur-of-the-moment thing," says Raverty-Evans, recalling the growing disenchantment she felt toward the end of 2010 after working in the creative branding industry in Cincinnati for six years. "It was near the end of the Great Recession, and I was burnt out, so I decided to leave my job. I wanted to see what else was out there. I took a step back and started thinking, 'What would be a secure industry to get into?'"
That rationale led Raverty-Evans to Best Way Disposal, where she has found a home. Raverty-Evans works as a government affairs representative for the Burlington, Ky.-based company. In that role, she has demonstrated leadership in advocating for the passage of laws that address crucial issues facing Best Way and the waste industry.
"In addition to monitoring policies and objectives at the local and state level for Best Way Disposal, Katie is involved with industry issues at the national level," says Chris Phillips, public relations and compliance representative at Best Way. "I'm impressed with her ability to see the big picture and the cascading effects of policy change. Katie is fearless when it comes to engaging industry challenges, setting goals, analyzing details and moving to action."
We recently talked with Raverty-Evans, a 2019 Waste360 40 Under 40 award recipient, about her entry into the industry and her enthusiasm for her twin passions, waste management and government affairs.
Waste360: You've been in the waste industry for seven-plus years, and before that you worked in creative design and branding. What drew you to this industry?
Katie Raverty-Evans: I remember back in 2010 looking at job openings and thinking to myself, "People can't buy Cadillacs right now, but everybody needs their trash picked up." I started doing some research, and I came to realize that the stability of this industry is powerful. When analysts look at our stocks and our measures, we're always sound. We're always gaining. It might be slow, like our trucks, the slow workhorses. But we're always going up. We're never going down.
Also, as I looked at it, I thought that with the skillsets I had from the creative branding world, I could transport that in to help Best Way Disposal. And I have been able to do that.
Waste360: Drawing on your government affairs expertise, what do you think will be the most challenging policy issues facing the industry over the next five to 10 years?
Katie Raverty-Evans: I think it's going to be twofold. One is the driver shortage we're experiencing. That's something that we are continually trying to help build up, but we're losing that fight. Many people just aren't interested in becoming truck drivers. So, we're looking at, for example, legislative policies that help military officers when they come back to get their license or to help with credits.
The second issue has to do with infrastructure. We've all been affected by National Sword. We need to start thinking about building the infrastructure within the United States and not relying on other countries. These are two areas where we're going to see tremendous innovation, I think, in the next five to 10 years. This is where entrepreneurs, new businesses and new ideas can really play a big role.
Waste360: Let's talk about your experience helping to get two bills passed for the industry: Hauler Displacement Support and Slow Down to Get Around. How did you become involved with these efforts?
Katie Raverty-Evans: I started getting involved through the National Waste & Recycling Association's Kentucky Chapter. It's funny, before we had the Hauler Displacement and Slow Down to Get Around, there was a bill in front of us where it was illegal for a garbage truck to come to a complete stop in Kentucky. If someone was to come to a complete stop and Mrs. Smith runs into the back of our truck, guess who would be at fault? I got involved with these two issues because our legislators in our Kentucky general assembly like to hear from the independent haulers. I was asked to step up and testify, to talk from the perspective of an independent hauler, a family-owned company, about the impact these two bills would have.
Waste360: What is the most fun thing you've done during your time working at Best Way Disposal?
Katie Raverty-Evans: I get a kick out of working with all the different companies in our industry and meeting the people in them. Getting to go around and represent my company and being given the opportunity to listen and become friends with a lot of my colleagues has been a thrill for me.
Waste360: Do you envision yourself doing anything outside the industry in the future?
Katie Raverty-Evans: I don't know about outside the industry. I really have found a home at Best Way Disposal. But I do see myself getting out in the community more. I'm very volunteer focused. I love the fact that in my job, I'm able to help my community and help with bigger issues. So, I want to do more of that. I love that the waste and recycling industry is my home. As people say, it gets in your blood, and once it gets in your blood, it stays in your blood. I don't think I'm going to be going anywhere anytime soon. I'm continually growing and learning and having opportunities to do new things. If I ever feel like that's not happening anymore, I might look for something else. But right now, I love what I'm doing.