Employee Spotlight: Carol O’Connell

Passionate. That’s just one of the terms people use to describe Carol O’Connell. Her enthusiasm for Quincy Recycle is infectious. She helps ensure that the company culture is not only communicated to people internally, but is a big part of how that culture translates to customer service and our interactions with our vendors.

When did you start with Quincy Recycle?

My first day with Quincy Recycle was 7/7/2014 which is easy to remember since 7+7=14.

What was your job title when you started?

I was hired as the Outbound Accounts & Logistics Coordinator for our New Haven, IN facility. I was living in Quincy, IL (my hometown) at the time and a dear friend, Danielle Jacobs, referred me for the position.  I moved from Quincy, IL to Fort Wayne, IN for the position and opportunity to work for Quincy Recycle.  I’m not a fan of hot weather and Fort Wayne gets quite a bit of snow so it was a good fit!  The team at the New Haven plant quickly became like family.

What is your current title?

That is a great question.  Short answer: Trainer.  Long answer: My hat changes hour by hour and day to day depending on the needs of the business and our employees.  My main responsibilities include training new Account & Logistics Coordinators (ALC’s) and Sales Coordinators and covering for said positions when an employee is on a long vacation, maternity leave, turnover, etc.  I work closely with two of our largest customers and enjoy building relationships with the various vendors and customers we partner with.

One of the benefits to my position is that I travel to all of our facilities.  We have uniformed processes company wide, but what works for one facility might not work for another.  I get to share ideas with the teams and brainstorm new processes to make us better and more efficient.

Currently, I am planning our annual Customer Service Summit this September.  We bring 40+ team members together from all our facilities for two days to build relationships, learn, laugh and make our QRP/QFP families even stronger and more successful.

If you had to pick one, which Core Value is your favorite and why?

Be courageous & try it!  “It’s all fixable” is a common Carol-ism. Our employees are empowered to make decisions and if it works out, it’s a win!  If it doesn’t, then we know we gave it a go and move on to the next option.

What was the most challenging thing to learn in your roles?

I came from the home & holiday décor wholesale industry so working in the recycling field was a completely new challenge for me.  Learning the QRP Lingo took some time. I recall double drop & hook being the hardest freight lingo concept to grasp and now its second nature.  I share with our new employees that it takes 6 to 8 months to feel comfortable and almost 2 years to feel confident in their role with Quincy Recycle.  We are here to support them through the learning curve because there isn’t a short cut.  There is a lot of new to learn!

What was the most surprising or fun thing to learn?

That the first step to recycling cardboard at a paper mill is to push it into a large blender (pulper) filled with water and chemicals.  I’m not sure what I thought the process was, but that was not it.

And the term “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is relevant!  I was getting my mail recently and talking to another tenant when he complained about all the junk mail he received.  My ears perked up because junk mail to him is $$ to me!  Yes, please toss that junk mail into a recyclable container, we will shred it, bale it and sell it to a paper mill who will make it into something new.

What’s your favorite part about working at Quincy Recycle?

Our people are the best of the best.  My position involves 80% travel which allows me to visit all of our facilities and get to know my team members. A lot of people have heard me say this and I’ll continue to say it: “there isn’t one person that works for QRP & affiliates that I wouldn’t go out to lunch with”.  Ugh oh, did I just open myself up to a lot of lunch dates?

What would you like prospective employees to know about Quincy Recycle?

We are a family (One Team, One Dream, One Family) and we care about your family.  Companies will tell you “family first” in interviews, but at QRP we truly mean it.

What are some of your hobbies outside of work?

I really relate to the saying…“You’ve never seen me truly happy unless you’ve gone to a concert with me”.  Whether its Coldplay at Soldier Field or Brett Eldredge in a small venue, I love live music.

When I do get home after traveling, it’s time to catch up on any shows I missed throughout the week.  I love all things Bravo & Andy Cohen.  Southern Charm, Real Housewives, Summer House, Watch What Happens Live, Below Deck – Bravo, Bravo, Freaking Bravo.

I live in downtown Chicago so exploring new restaurants, checking out a neighborhood weekend festival, going to Broadway shows, hanging with friends on their rooftop, anything involving enjoying the city and all it has to offer, I am in!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever read or received?

Received: Do Better. – John Danker

Read: Be here now.

If you had to pick a song to portray the culture of Quincy Recycle, what would it be and why?

I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas.  It’s great upbeat song!