Hard work and dedication are two essential aspects of working in the waste industry. With these two features, your work can take you anywhere you want to go. Nathan Frischkorn is a prime example.
Frischkorn is a 40 Under 40 winner and has worked in the waste industry since the age of 15. With dedication and a lot of hard work to Waste Pro, the company he started working for, he slowly climbed the corporate ladder, loving every step of the way.
In this Q&A, Frischkorn shares all of his favorite things about working in the industry with Waste360, and the importance of staying focused on the job.
Waste360 employee: Can you tell me how you got started with Waste Pro?
Fresh grains: When I was 15, the local department manager ran the company’s truck refurbishment crew, who would travel to the sourcing location on weekends to repair and repaint trucks to waste professional standards.
I was lucky enough to be invited to one of these tours. I fell in love with Waste Pro and got a job as a helper.
My high school at the time had a worker program that allowed me to work for the company while continuing my high school education.
Waste360 employees: What roles have you held that led to where you are now?
Fresh grains: I worked as an assistant on the back of trucks and refurbishment teams until I was 18 before I was eligible for my CDL to be a driver. I worked as a driver for a few years and learned the operational side of the business including residential, recycling, front loading and roll-on.
I help as much as I can; get as much information as possible. After I felt I had a good grasp of operations, I transitioned to the maintenance side of the business.
I worked as a PM technician for a year before getting a supervisor position. I helped oversee a contract launch in a large city where we hired 90% of our former Porter staff and immediately changed residents’ perceptions of garbage service; from negative to positive.
Nearly two years later. I had the opportunity to run my own division as a division manager in Gainesville, Florida, where I have been for the past four years.
Waste360 Staff: What is your current position and what are you responsible for?
Fresh grains: Currently, I am a department manager. I am responsible for everything that happens in my department. I am responsible for recruitment, payroll, discipline, contracts, and assistance with municipal and client relations.
More importantly, I am a helper in every aspect of my department. I drive trucks when I need to, and sometimes I want to be alone with each driver.
When the store gets busy, I help keep morale up and take good care of the trucks.
I’ll help answer calls during peak hours of the month when the office is busy.
When your team sees your work ethic and desire to help, they embrace your pitch.
Waste360 Employee: What kept you at this company for so long?
Fresh grains: What do I love about working there? There are so many things it’s hard to list them all.
I like the freedom that I can be the master of my factory like it’s my own business. I like to take responsibility for how good or bad these decisions are.
I love the philosophy of our founder, John Jennings: good trucks, good people, good service.
I like the accessibility of leadership: you can call or email anyone at any time and talk to them.
I like that the boss of the company is so engaged and knows what each department is doing and commenting on our performance at least once a month.
What really caught my attention from day one was the maintenance of the equipment. It really changed my mind about what a garbage truck should look like when I first started.
I could go on for days, but I think it’s easy to see that there is so much to love.
Waste360 employees: What is your favorite job title and why?
Fresh grains: My favorite position so far has to be my current position as a department manager. I love the freedom and trust they give me to run my business.
Waste360 employee: What is your favorite thing to do right now?
Fresh grains: Be part of everyone’s day. I talk to each employee at least 2 to 3 times a day. I love the connection you get when you spend the work week together.
Waste360 employee: Can you tell me how dedication has contributed to your success within the company?
Fresh grains: I think this is the most important part of any leadership role being successful.
I learned a long time ago that everyone you work with sees what you do, which can be positive or negative. So make sure you focus on how you and your team are doing every day.
Waste360 employees: What do you think is the most important thing about your job?
Fresh grains: We keep our communities beautiful. If you find yourself in a rural area where there is no garbage service, you will find all kinds of illegal dumping. We give residents confidence that their neighborhoods will be kept clean. We do a big cleaning every year. We love being a part of our community.
Waste360 Staff: Where do you see your future?
Fresh grains: I definitely consider myself a waste professional and would like to be in a higher position. I think my next step will be regional VP, but I’m patient and love what I do. With this company, it’s just a matter of hard work and you can keep climbing.