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August 4, 2023
ATHENS, GA – Think solid waste is just a young person’s game? Don’t tell that to Tom Wassel. Tom, who proudly shared that he turns 83 this year, is a sales associate in the Athens, Georgia Division of Waste Pro and has been with the company, some might say, since before day one.
The energetic Georgia transplant is the oldest Waste Pro employee in the country, but he can still hang with the best of them, pulling in new contracts regularly.
“It is in my nature to be upbeat and excited; this is how I am with customers,” he shares. “I just love talking and making friends.”
Tom’s journey at Waste Pro goes back to before the company was founded. His 40-year friendship and business relationship with Founder and Executive Board Chairman John Jennings is what landed him in the solid waste industry. In the early days of Waste Pro, John made a company acquisition in Athens, Georgia, called Tom, and asked if he would join the team. At first, Tom said he wasn’t ready to move to Greece, but the destination was Athens, Georgia, and Tom was all in!Starting with just one truck and ten containers, Tom pounded the pavement creating lasting relationships with contractors, construction companies, and, most notably, the University of Georgia (UGA) to build the Division’s commercial accounts.
“I was already there and ready with roll-off boxes every time businesses or the college expanded or had a capital project get underway.” “UGA continues to be a great customer; they know they can always count on me and Waste Pro!“ Tom explained.
Divisional Vice President Jerry Harrison has worked with Tom over the last decade, “He knows all the right people, and they call him time after time, which helped build a solid reputation for Waste Pro in and around Athens.”
“Sometimes customers will ask me, ‘Why are you still working?’” Tom said. “I tell them, ‘This isn’t work. It’s an extension of my family. Waste Pro is home to me.’
Tom was candid and shared that a few years ago, he was battling cancer, and despite the challenges, he got back to work as quickly as he could. “John and Sean’s faith in me was evident. They were very supportive, and it helped carry me through that tough time and many others over the last 23 years.”
“He is a hard worker with a dynamic personality who always has a great story to share,” said Sean Jennings, who took over as President & CEO of Waste Pro in 2020 from his father, John. “He knows and understands the importance of people, relationships, and community.”
What’s next for Tom? “I’ve raised six kids and am helping raise three of my grandkids. It’s a good reason to get out of bed in the morning. I have something to do, and it’s great to feel part of the Waste Pro legacy.”
About Waste Pro USA
Waste Pro USA, Inc. is one of the country’s fastest-growing privately-owned waste collection, recycling, processing, and disposal companies, operating in ten southeastern states. With revenues projected to exceed $1.1 billion in 2023, Waste Pro serves more than two million residential and 100,000 commercial customers from over 90 operating locations. Waste Pro is headquartered in Longwood, Florida, and maintains approximately 300 exclusive municipal contracts and franchises.
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