We had so much fun bragging about one of our amazing employees in our last post that we couldn’t wait to do it again. Quincy Recycle has always put a great deal of focus on safety. Without it, we can’t operate at the high levels needed to provide industry-leading customer service to our partners. So, today we are going to spend some time getting to know an employee who puts safety first. Meet Eric Savage!
Eric works in our New Haven, IN facility, and has been with Quincy Recycle for 6 years. He currently serves as the Operations Manager and is always looking for new and innovative ways to help his team stay safe at work.
Quincy Recycle’s Core Values
If you’ve read our blog in the past, then you may have heard us talk about our core values. Our core values are at the heart of what we do each and every day. The entire team at Quincy Recycle is extremely committed to our core values and Eric is certainly no exception.
Focused on Safety
Eric is extremely dedicated to maintaining a safe working environment for his team, which aligns well with our first core value, Alive and Well. Safety in the workplace is ever-changing, especially in recent months and Eric’s tireless commitment to this core value is why we are excited to feature him today.
“Eric’s number one priority is making sure his teammates make it home to their partners every day. He is always innovating production plans focused around the foundation of safety and our number one core value, Alive and Well.” — Michael Malloy (General Manager, Quincy Recycle)
Let’s learn more about Eric!
1. What does a typical day at work look like for you?
My typical day consists of checking in on all my employees seeing how their day is going and if there is anything I can do to help. I also spend a lot of my time tracking production, managing inventory, and resolving any issues that come up throughout the course of the day.
2. How would you describe the culture at Quincy Recycle?
Supportive. We are only as strong as our weakest link. At Quincy Recycle, we want everyone to be successful and enjoy coming to work each day.
3. Are there any big projects you are currently working on?
My maintenance team and I have been working on developing new and updating existing training procedures and preventive maintenance forms for all of our stationary and mobile equipment. The new and updated forms will help with training our staff on how to safely operate and maintain their equipment, reducing the risk of injury as well as potential downtime and repair costs should the equipment become damaged.
4. What’s one thing you’d like prospective employees to know about the company?
Your career is what you make it and opportunities at Quincy Recycle are endless. Quincy Recycle does a great job identifying strengths of employees and putting them in positions where they can utilize those strengths.
5. When you’re not at work, how would we find you spending your free time?
I spend my free time with my wife and kids. We enjoy being outside hiking and camping. My wife and I are very competitive and play in various sporting leagues such as Softball, Volleyball, Golf, and Bowling.
Alive and Well
We are all proud of Eric and grateful to have him as part of our team. His commitment to our first core value, Alive and Well helps make us a better company. We’re in the recycling business, but without our people, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.
Our culture and core values define who we are at Quincy Recycle. Recently, we put together a video showcasing the Alive and Well core value and what it means to the team. Check it out!
Are you interested in learning more about Quincy Recycle?
Quincy Recycle is in the business of solving waste stream problems for manufacturers. With in-house logistics, equipment distribution, and food waste processing, we are a one-stop-shop in helping our partners maximize their financial and sustainability goals from coast-to-coast.
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From Quincy to the Windy City, it’s been quite a ride for John Danker, who has literally grown up with the company. “I was a lot younger then,” he jokes, as he referenced when he started in 2003, when Quincy Recycle was a single city operation in Quincy, IL. His journey took him from Maintenance and Operations Manager to his eventual Managerial position overseeing the entire Chicago territory.
It was, in fact, his drive that motivated him to take on both maintenance and general floor manager responsibilities until ultimately another maintenance manager was hired. Now, John could focus purely on overseeing the safety and smooth operations on the floor. Fast-forward a decade or two later, and John is not only the manager of one of the biggest teams at Quincy Recycle but has assisted in the opening of several other plants across the Midwest.
The following interview is an inspiring reminder to “Be Courageous & Try It”.
When did you start with Quincy recycle? How did you come into your role as maintenance and operations manager?
So, there was a position open for maintenance. And my wife said, “Hey, you want to check this out?” “And I was like, yeah, maybe.” And I ended up taking it; that was back in January of 2003.
I did the Maintenance and Operations job for a little bit until I noticed that there wasn’t anybody managing on the floor operationally. So I started doing both. And then Bryan Stokes asked, “Why don’t we just hire another maintenance guy and you become general operations?” So that’s what happened. We built a newer building in Quincy and got a bigger baler; that’s when we started expanding. We bought the building in the Chicagoland area, and Bryan asked me to transfer up North to become the Operations Manager.
As time went by, we started opening up other plants. I helped open the West Bend, Wisconsin facility, and helped open/run the facilities in Indiana. Currently, I am the General Manager of the Chicago location.
It’s been pretty fun to watch the company grow. I mean, it’s a lot bigger than it was when I first started. That’s for sure.
If you had to pick one, which Core Value is your favorite? Why?
There are actually two. One is “Alive & Well.” It’s busy, there’s a lot of heavy, heavy machinery.
It’s not the most glamorous job in the world. It’s essential that we make sure our employees follow OSHA rules, follow[RC1] our Quincy Recycle safety guidelines, and make sure they come to work happy. Ultimately, they get to go home to their families, safe and sound.
That kind of leads into “One Team, One Dream, One Family”. I have a group of salespeople, the ALC team, my plant employees, and I need to make sure that we’re all reaching our goals financially to support our families.
What was the most challenging thing to learn in your roles?
When I started with Quincy Recycle, I had never been around a baler. I has to learn the ins and outs of it, how to work on forklifts and other machinery in the plant. With managing, I guess the most challenging thing about Operations is getting the people on the floor to respect you as a leader. When I came into the role, I was inexperienced in comparison to those I was now going to manage . I had to get in the trenches with them to learn what we do and how we do it. That helped shape me into the manager that I am today.
Overall, I think in operations, it’s pretty easy to gain respect when you know what you’re doing, and you do it well. I’ve never been a skybox manager, just watching them from my office, I was on the floor helping them with their challenges of the day.
What was the most surprising/ fun thing to learn?
For me, it would be how we make money. Figuring out what we can do different operationally; what can we upgrade? What can we change to make the company the most amount of money? Taking risks, you know, trying to do things outside of the box. Just really getting involved and not saying, “Well, this is how we’ve done it.” So that’s the fun thing, just being allowed to try. It’s my plant here in Chicago.
What’s your favorite part about working at Quincy Recycle?
The camaraderie of the team. I’ve been doing this for 19 years, and there’s not one day that I don’t feel like I want to go to work. It’s just a fun environment.
What would you like curious prospective employees to know about Quincy Recycle?
That it’s a great environment in which to work, it’s not a corporate environment. It’s a family, more like friends; we’re hard-working, full of gratitude for each other. It’s just a great place to work.
What are some of your hobbies you like to do outside of work?
I like to golf. Go to the gym when I can. I do yoga on the weekends. And then I like to do some yard work. Just stuff like that around the house.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever read or received?
The work you do is hard work. But not everybody can do it. If everybody could do it, you wouldn’t have a job.
If you had to pick a song to portray the essence/ culture of Quincy Recycle, what would it be?
“God Gave Me You”, by Blake Shelton
We’re not saying we saved the best for last. We love all our Core Values just the same. However, we do have a deep respect for this last one; Commit, Be Tenacious, and Compete to Win.
To us, these three components blend into each other to seamlessly create momentum that catalyzes us into leaders of the waste removal industry. They come together to build a workplace born of commitment; one that is open to evolution for the good of all. Our goals may seem lofty to some, but never to us. We know we have what it takes to succeed, and if we stumble, we always get back up and build upon what works to ultimately meet our goals.
Our people are dedicated to our collective processes, goals, and follow-through, which means a promise made is a promise kept. They come to work prepared, focused, and ready to support each other as a team. This commitment fosters tenacious ambition, and follow-through leads to those ambitions being realized.
Confidence that they have full and steadfast support goes a long way for our team. Our employees know they will have people in their corner to help them make moves with bold strokes. It’s these bold strokes that give us an edge as a company, and keep us agile and competitive. No one ever got ahead by playing it safe (in terms of innovative ideas; our commitment to safety in the physical workplace remains uncompromising) so our employees are driven to transform and deliver results.
All of this combines together and creates an environment full of creativity, tenacity, commitment, and victory. It means we are always ready to conquer, reach new heights, break through barriers, and come out on top. These Core Values, along with our mission and our people make us who we are. We owe them credit for all we’ve been able to do, as well as our future accomplishments and successes.
We’re willing to bet you don’t typically equate creativity with waste removal, when in actuality, this entire company was founded on a creative solution to a common problem in the world of manufacturing. Questions were asked in the space of listening and open minds, and that is why all those components are an integral part of our Core Values.
Our employees are always asking, “But what if it could be better?” They blend creativity and data with our market, customers, and vendors always in mind. We all embrace working in the here and now while looking forward to the future. This means that we’re able to implement solutions that work for today but will also grow into tomorrow.
We’re always searching for a deeper understanding of our clients and their needs; again asking the questions that need to be asked in order to perfect our process. We’re never afraid to try something new, to see if it can help us further streamline waste removal processes, and add to the increased savings and productivity we give our clients.
These values also influence the way that we hire. People are multifaceted, and we take great care into choosing the right individuals with their own special talents to join our team. We encourage the various talents of our cohorts and see how they can work together to form a comprehensive unit with a full perspective. Our people listen dedicatedly, question boldly, and implement new solutions bravely.
This means our people want to work hard, but as a team. For the whole. To see this company succeed. It also means that we don’t implement solutions out of thin air; we’re always open to trying new things, but risks must be, for lack of a better word, strategized. We consult data and analysis to figure out new ways to go.
The ability to truly listen, ask hard questions, and meet the answers openly is vital to our tactics and services, and we’re glad we’ve assembled a team that’s intelligent and agile enough to seek only the most efficient solutions.