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Caitlin McGovern from WIN Waste Innovations Highlights Multifacetedness in the Waste Industry

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Caitlin McGovern, Chief of Staff to the CEO at WIN Waste Innovations, has worked with people from all different professional backgrounds and believes that is part of what makes this industry so strong. Waste360 recently had the opportunity to meet with McGovern to hear about her experiences working in the industry.

The waste industry is full of individuals doing a wide variety of tasks to keep this essential line of work afloat. From business operations, to engineering, to trash collection and transfer, this field attracts people of different expertise and pushes them to explore the full range of their skills

Entering the waste industry with a variety of experiences under her belt, Caitlin McGovern, Chief of Staff to the CEO at WIN Waste Innovations, has worked with people from all different professional backgrounds and believes that is part of what makes this industry so strong. Waste360 recently had the opportunity to meet with McGovern to hear about her experiences working in the industry.

In this Q&A, McGovern expresses her admiration for those working in waste and the ways her versatile professional record and help from her well-rounded teammates have allowed her to excel.

Waste360 Staff: What is your current job title with WIN Waste Innovations?

McGovern: At the time that I received the 40 under 40 award, I was the VP of the Project Management Office and our Procurement Supply Chain Organization. Currently, my title is the Chief of Staff to the CEO.

It is a relatively new position for me. I still have our project management office and our procurement and supply chain organizations underneath me. In addition to leading those two orgs with a really wonderful team, I now have the responsibility to work with our senior leadership team to execute our strategy and work as a liaison between the SLT and our leadership teams to ensure that we continue down our strategic path.

Waste360 Staff: Can you tell me how you got started with WIN Waste Innovations?

McGovern: Prior to WIN Waste Innovations, I was working in the defense industry. When I joined WIN Waste, I had a diverse background where I had taken several cross-functional rotations within the defense industry — everything from business development to internal audit, proposals, and supply chain. I joined WIN Waste in a supply chain capacity as a Senior Strategic Sourcing Manager for the company.

I went from the Senior Strategic Sourcing Manager role to the Director of our Procurement and Supply Chain team. From there, our project management office as well as our SWAT team — which is a strategic workflow assessment team — were added to the portfolio that I currently manage.

The project management team provides structure to strategic and compliance projects across the company and giving leadership more visibility to these focus areas supports cross-functional execution.

The procurement and supply chain team not only procures and supplies goods and services across our company and our portfolio but works to support operational synergies and strategic sourcing for cost efficiencies. These synergies across our footprint can drive bottom-line improvements and EBITDA for our company.

Our SWAT function explores process consistency and optimization across the company.

Waste360 Staff: If you were asked ten years ago where you thought you’d be in a decade, is this where you would’ve imagined?

McGovern: That's a great question. The answer is no. Ten years ago, I had been working in the defense industry, but when I had my first child, I wanted to do something that I felt was more impactful to his life. I now have three children, and that desire to positively impact their lives has grown exponentially.

I came across WIN Waste Innovations and felt that a sustainable, holistic approach to waste management was critical to our impact on the planet. And being a vertically-integrated company allows us to ensure that our sustainable goals can be exhibited in every step of the waste process.

I felt that investing my time with this company and in this industry would be really important to the lives of my children and their futures. I didn’t initially consider a career in waste until I was looking for something that would make me feel really fulfilled. I'm really grateful to have found this industry because it’s an incredible group of people with an incredibly important task for our world.

Waste360 Staff: Can you tell us your favorite thing about working in this industry?

McGovern: Definitely the people. I think there are a lot of very diverse backgrounds and very diverse perspectives, especially within our company. There are really innovative people who are committed to not only doing a good job, but to making the world better.

Waste360 Staff: Can you pinpoint one experience prior to your work with WIN Waste Innovations that you believe really prepared you for your current position?

McGovern: It’s not just one experience, but I think it's extremely important to get a breadth and a depth; to get experiences doing multiple functions. Experiencing multiple functional rotations provides a good foundation and then helps you identify what you want to do from a depth perspective, allowing you to become an expert in the area that you choose to pursue.

Waste360 Staff: What has been your largest success while working at WIN Waste Innovations?

McGovern: COVID has had a significant impact on our supply chains and I think for the first time in a very long time supply chain was in the public eye and was felt everywhere from auto manufacturers to individuals trying to get Amazon packages. I'm really proud of the team’s success in mitigating that supply chain risk and keeping our facilities open and operational to provide the essential work that we do for our customers and communities. We also worked diligently throughout this unprecedented time to ensure our essential workers had the PPE and appropriate equipment to stay healthy and safe.

Waste360 Staff: What is the largest lesson you have learned in your current position?

McGovern: In my current position as Chief of Staff, the most impactful lesson I’ve learned is that no individual function can be effective without the support of the entire team, and this is a value of WIN Waste Innovations. One Team is one of our value pillars and the most important lesson that I carry with me into the role of Chief of Staff. It takes all of those functions to make the company successful. WIN Waste stresses the One Team culture because we recognize that everything we do is cross-functional in nature and that it requires those different perspectives in order to achieve success.

I’ve found that to be true of our industry, as well. No company is an island and across the industry, there's a lot of codependency.

Waste360 Staff: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

McGovern: I was really grateful for this nomination and to be awarded this, but I strongly feel it's a reflection of the team that I work with on a daily basis and not just me as an individual.

I am really blessed to work with such a fantastic team here.

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