At 39 years old, Rody Taylor is the owner of two growing companies in Lees Summit, Mo., that both aid in the disposal and diversion of waste and recycling from job sites and residential locations. KC Dumpster Company is a roll-off business, while Taylor Construction Services provides labor services for demo work and diversion when applicable.
“Rody's most admirable quality is how determined he is to deliver on any promise made,” says Holly Sammons, dispatcher for KC Dumpster. “The dumpsters we deliver or service his laborers provide are all unspoken promises to Rody. If his companies have offered a service, Rody is determined daily to get every job done in any way, shape or form for our customers, even if that means he has to do the work himself.”
When the city of Lee's Summit was approaching a landfill at capacity, Taylor set out to help find a solution.
“During the time I have worked for KC Dumpster, I have watched Rody's visions become realities,” says Sammons. “It seems once he has his mind set on a goal to make waste and recycling more achievable, affordable and available to the people in our community, he doesn't stop.”
We recently sat down with Taylor, a Waste360 40 Under 40 award recipient, to discuss the newest innovations to make the waste industry more efficient and environmentally safe for communities.
Waste360: What is your background in the waste and recycling industry?
Rody Taylor: I started a small construction cleanup business in 2006. At first, it was something I did on nights and weekends, but eventually, I was able to go full time. During the last recession, when the housing market crashed, I pivoted into a selective demolition business. I bought a few dumpsters and a truck in 2015 to haul for my own business and found that our area had a need for that type of service. Because of that, we launched our own roll-off service in 2017.
As the KC Dumpster Company grew, I began to look for ways to expand into the waste and recycling industry. When I was fortunate enough to be awarded a contract to operate a convenience center for our local community, things really began to move in an exciting direction.
I was introduced to some incredible opportunities to make an impact for our industry right here in my hometown. The site we operate today provides many recycling and diversion streams to our local community.
Waste360: Describe your role as owner of KC Dumpster Company.
Rody Taylor: Well, it has certainly changed over time. I’m one of those guys who has done it all over the years. I have been a laborer, driver, mechanic, dispatcher, salesman, estimator, human resources representative and accounting manager.
Today, my role is to oversee people who serve in those tasks and set the pace for where we are headed as a company. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by some amazing folks who excel in their roles, so I’m freed up to look more into the big picture. I work hard every day to expand my knowledge of the industry and continue to grow in my profession.
I also continue to explore ways to grow and expand our services here in my local area. My goal is to offer people in our area ways to divert and recycle as many materials as possible.
Waste360: How did you resolve the landfill closure issues in the city of Lee’s Summit?
Rody Taylor: As the local landfill reached capacity, all of the haulers knew that they would start hauling to other transfer stations in the nearby cities. The people who were going to be affected were the residents who had smaller loads. They had enjoyed the convenience of a local landfill option for 37 years. We wanted to make sure that they had an option. That is why the city partnered with my company.
At the site of the [former] city-owned landfill, we developed a public disposal area and implemented several new recycling and diversion streams. I partnered with several great nonprofits to provide things like mattress recycling, used bike donations, Habitat for Humanity ReStore donations, electronics recycling, metal recycling and pallet recycling.
We also worked with the city to provide source separated recycling streams for cardboard, mixed paper, plastic Nos. 1 and 2, aluminum and tin cans. In addition to that, the facility has a compost pad for brush/yard waste and a concrete recycling area.
Waste360: Describe what the household hazardous waste (HHW) program is and how it works.
Rody Taylor: HHW is one of those tough issues in our industry. It is very expensive and hard to get excited about, but it is also critical to any community. If people are not provided with a convenient option, these materials will find their way into our landfills and waterways.
I knew early on that the only way to make it work would be to self-perform as much as possible. We began to give employees training, certifications and tours of other facilities in our area. We learned so much through the process and began our program last summer.
One of the things that worked best for us was the development of our paint reuse program. We now take reusable paint and mix it, package it and give it to Habitat ReStore. They sell it in their reuse store and profits go to Habitat for Humanity. We have grown the program in a short period of time and are proud of the results. The HHW program is free to local residents.
Waste360: What do you see as the future of innovation in waste and recycling?
Rody Taylor: I don’t believe that I’m qualified to answer a question like that; I’m still a learner! But since you asked, I will say that as a business owner in the construction and demolition (C&D) waste industry, I see the need for an expansion in C&D recycling.
I know that a lot of the innovation and technology exists, but somehow, we need to make it appealing to businesses like mine. I know that some cities are experiencing success, but I think that we have a lot of work left to do. These types of materials are an underserved diversion stream in my area. I hope that we can find a way to connect the technology to the waste stream and keep more C&D out of our landfills.
Waste360: What is your leadership style?
Rody Taylor: I hope that those around me would see me as a transformational type of leader. I work hard to identify where we are as a team and try to move us toward our ultimate goals. I have very high expectations, but I temper that with grace and understanding.
I trust those around me to make the right choices and empower them to take the lead. My employees are all amazing at what they do, so being their leader is easy—they make me look good.
Waste360: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
Rody Taylor: I am probably most proud of the balance that I have found in life. I work a lot of hours, but I’m home every night to eat dinner as a family and spend time with the kids. I am involved in my church, Rotary, the local Chamber of Commerce and several other civic groups.
I take a “Ninja Warrior” class every week with my kids and find time to get away with my wife. These are the things that keep me grounded and charge my batteries. Keeping that balance is something that didn’t always exist when I was getting my business off the ground.