These stories were published in Waste Advantage Magazine’s Heroes on the Front Line series.
The COVID-19 pandemic has confirmed what we in the recycling industry have known for a long time: people who work in Material Recycling Facilities or MRFs are essential to our environment and health.
The thousands of men and women Leadpoint puts to work every day in MRFs across the country are heroes, perhaps not in the same way as first responders or active military personnel, but their effort and contributions rise to hero status from our point of view. Here are the stories of a few of these dedicated men and women who do the tough work every day to support America’s waste and recycling industry.
With more than five years on the job, Sorter Sonia Cornejo is the kind of employee any MRF would value. Over the years, she has worked as a sorter at two Leadpoint sites in Washington state and has been a top performer at both. Her manager says, “We can put Sonia anywhere, in any position, and she’ll do an outstanding job.”
A single mother, Sonia is driven by a desire to create a better life for her daughter. She likes the opportunities to improve herself that working for Leadpoint provides. “My greatest satisfaction is being responsible by respecting the work schedule and respecting the supervisors, secretaries, and bosses,” Sonia said. “And the best thing is that we have work 365 days a year. Thank God. I love my work.”
Brad Diesing’s solid work ethic, zeal for development, attendance, and overall positive attitude got the attention of Leadpoint’s onsite manager and customer in Madison, Wisconsin. “From his first day, Brad has wanted to learn new things,” his manager said. “When we started a new project to raise cardboard numbers on our long-mixed paper line, we turned to Brad to help us hit our goal. And we made it!”
Recently, Leadpoint’s customer hired Brad as a member of their permanent staff. They plan to train him for further advancement in his career. His new employer said, “Brad is one of those employees you wonder if he’s a robot. He just keeps picking and picking. He’s an employer’s dream.”
When he needed a second chance, Kenneth Foy found one in the recycling industry. Leadpoint hired him as a sorter in a Seattle MRF and in a short time, he became a back-up line lead. According to his manager, “Kenneth always excelled, never complained, just put his head down and went to work. He has always shown great leadership skills.”
What drives Kenneth to work so hard in this difficult job? “I’ve always been a hard worker since I started my first job when I was 16,” Kenneth said. “The thing that drives me the most is that I don’t like to fail! It doesn’t matter what your job is or how much you get paid. If you work hard and do your best, you can do anything and overcome any challenges life has to offer.”
Clarence Hampton got a second chance when he joined Leadpoint as a sorter in 2014. Since then, he’s worked in nearly every role, moving his way up to supervisor at a MRF in upstate New York. “He understands what needs to be done and what can happen if you don’t do what’s needed,” his onsite manager said. “He never guesses; he verifies. He exercises good judgment.”
The drive to be a better leader comes from growth. “I have had the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally in my years with Leadpoint,” Clarence said. “What makes me different than other employees is that I have had the opportunity to build a skill set through daily functions and accountability, and narrow down what works for myself and others, always as a team player.”
Kurtis Jones-Tolliver is Leadpoint’s Shift Lead/Associate Trainer at a MRF in Spokane, Washington. His manager singled-out Kurtis for his hard work, dedication, and compassion. “Kurtis is always the first to arrive onsite, gets his team ready, and supports them throughout the day,” he said. “He strives to enhance the experience of our staff and his efforts are continuously brought to my attention by the team and the plant manager.”
For Kurtis, Leadpoint has given him a personal and professional sense of accomplishment. “I spent many years bouncing from job to job, never finding satisfaction or stability until coming to Leadpoint,” he said. “I genuinely enjoy working with the sorters, leads, and management, solving problems, boosting production, and operating a complex system. Working here has also restored my belief in myself.”
These stories are typical of the dedication and productivity of Leadpoint employees at MRF sites across the country. With Leadpoint on the team, MRF operators can reduce turnover and improve their efficiency and profitability.
Talk to Leadpoint today at 888-205-1511 to learn more about adding our heroes to your site.