Employee Spotlight: Lucie Spohr

“I want to go out there.” Little did Lucie Spohr know the changes those 6 words would bring. Who would have thought 5 years ago that she would find her home out on the floor of a recycling plant? Not her. But Lucie’s ambition is unstoppable when paired with the support of her Quincy Recycle team, so when she expressed a desire to give it a try, her boss said go for it.

“Lucie is a go-getter. She gravitates towards where the work is, and where the help is needed,” said boss Kyle Venvertloh. “She comes to work pumped up and excited to do her best for the day. She adds to the aura of positivity and confidence at work and she really brings a focused and fun attitude with her everyday.”

From logistics coordinator to plant manager, Lucie’s strong work ethic and inventive ambition is a gift she shares with every employee she meets during the day. We sat down with this intrepid forewoman who isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves and toss on her toolbelt, and asked her all about her journey with Quincy Recycle.

When did you start with Quincy recycle? What were you doing?

It was 5 years ago in January, that’s when I started as an Account and Logistics Coordinator. I went through long interviews for that job and thought, “There’s no way they’re hiring me, that was the longest interview of my life.” It was 4 hours! They really like to make an educated decision, and I got to spend some time with everyone I was going to work with so that was cool.

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

Be Courageous and Try it. That is my favorite. That’s the attitude you have to come in every day with. In my position, things change daily, what things are worth and what you’re going to do to make money today, so it’s definitely an important value. It’s one that we live by here. Even my transition. It was not in my realm, but it was in my sights, and I took it.

Refresh my memory of how you started mainly in the office, and your evolution into a more industrial role “in the action”.

It was an awesome thing for them to do, really, to give me a chance. Obviously I didn’t come in with plant experience and driving skid loaders or forklifts and operating balers and stuff like that. I was just this girl working behind the desk who said, “Hey, I want to go out there.” They probably thought I was crazy but here I am and I love it, every bit of it. The support you know you have and the chances they’ll let you take make it awesome.

What was the most challenging thing to learn? What was the most surprising/ fun thing to learn?

The most challenging thing was taking a team that had been here for many many years, and getting them on board with me. There were things I wanted to do out there, and there are a lot of folks stuck in their ways. Being in the Quincy Plant, this is home plate for the company, so I had and still have employees who have been here for 17, 18 years. All of my staff had me beat on seniority, so they knew a lot more than I did, so getting them on board with me while letting them know I was going to be out there with them. You know, “I’m going to be on the front line with you, I’m not going to point my finger from my office and tell you what to do.” That’s my unique way in my position, I like to be there with them. I will come out and help load trucks, or come on the baler when we need someone to help. Just get in there and I think that’s one thing that earned me some respect; I’m going to get my hands dirty with you guys every single day.

What was the most fun or surprising thing to learn?

Maintenance! I love maintenance. That’s another one of those things that- If I’m going to tell you what to do, I’m going to know how to do the gist of it myself. There are so many different pieces of equipment around here, and the ones that fault more often than not, I study how to fix those things. When things go down, instead of having to run and get maintenance and take them off a project, I just dig into it for a little bit. That stuff just blew my mind. There’s hundreds of parts in just a wire tie machine. It’s really neat getting to fix everything, and once you learn it you kind of know the schematics of the other equipment. Learning that stuff is way outside of anything I thought I would do- motors and any of it. I’ve got my tool bag right here actually, and I use it quite often.

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

My favorite part is the family, who are basically your cheerleaders. I’ve got a huge group of cheerleaders all the time and it’s really great support to have. There’s so much support from our corporate office and other plants. We’re all here playing for each other and to help each other. The support system here is unbeatable.

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

First thing I would tell most of them is that this company will take care of you. If you take care of us we’ll take care of you. They genuinely care about everyone who is employed here. Everyone. We all stay pretty close and we keep it close. Just knowing that person a little bit more than what you would normally in a work environment. You know about their lives, their homes, their families, it’s very personal.

What are some of your hobbies you like to do outside of work?

Well I have 2 kids and a husband and we’re a big football family. Sundays are a big day for us, we spend a lot of time watching football games. We actually just went to Minnesota this last weekend to watch a Vikings game. Other than that we’re pretty family oriented. We spend time together with my in-laws or my parents. Everyone likes to see the grandbabies. We are very outdoorsy. We live on a cattle farm. Yeah! I have cows! We also love to fish!

Best piece of advice you’ve ever read or received?

I mean there’s one that sounds terrible but it’s always kind of been a big deal in our family. I’ve even said it to my kids a few times, embarrassingly enough. My dad had a construction company and I’d help him, and he had a little slogan in our family and it was, “If you’re going to be dumb, you gotta be tough.” That’s something I like to throw around here jokingly, now and then. Yeah, anytime you’re getting ahead of yourself and not thinking 100% and now you have to clean up your own mess.

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

“You Gotta Be” by Des’ree. I love the “challenge what the future holds” line.