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Quincy Recycle Employee Spotlight: Carrie Potter

There isn’t too much that gets us more excited than getting to talk about recycling. But, the chance to spotlight one of our amazing employees is definitely at the top of that list. Meet Carrie Potter.

Head shot of Carrie Potter

Carrie has been with Quincy Recycle since 2009 and currently serves as a Safety and HR Coordinator at the corporate office in Quincy, IL. She lives and breathes our company’s core values. And, while it’s difficult to pick just one to talk about, the leadership team here at Quincy Recycle nominated Carrie for her commitment to our first core value: Alive and Well.

Quincy Recycle’s Core Values

Alive and Well is all about the safety and well-being of our employees. A safe work environment is extremely important to us here at Quincy Recycle and what “safe” looks like has changed a lot over the last few months as the coronavirus pandemic has swept the globe. Without hesitation, Carrie has stepped up and taken an active role in managing the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) supply chain for all of our plants.

“Currently with COVID-19, there is a greater need for supplies to keep the plants clean and more PPE is required. These supplies are not easy to find right now. Carrie stays on top of the orders and if she is not confident a vendor will ship in time, she will find another avenue.” – Joe Genenbacher (Purchasing, Maintanence and Safety Manager at Quincy Recycle)

We sat down with Carrie to learn a bit more about her and her tenure at Quincy Recycle.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

I start my day looking through emails and adding new tasks to my list.  From there, I may be working on numerous tasks: ordering supplies, payroll, sending safety-related emails, working with employees on benefits… every day is always different.

What is your favorite part about working for Quincy Recycle?

My favorite part about working at Quincy Recycle is how much it has grown!  It’s a great testimony to how hard our team works and adapts to change.

How would you describe the culture at Quincy Recycle?

The culture at Quincy Recycle is positive and supportive.  We wear many hats and working with co-workers has always been a positive experience.  It’s a blessing to work with a team that acts and feels like a family.

When you’re not at work, how would we find you spending your free time?

You’ll find me hanging with my kids and husband.  Playing Barbies/dinosaurs, riding bikes, and reading books are some of our favorite activities.  My husband and I enjoy gardening and cooking and usually have a yard or house project in the works.

What’s one thing you’d like prospective employees to know about the company?

Prospective employees should know what an innovative company we are.  Quincy Recycle is always striving to improve processes, be more efficient, and is always ready to adapt and grow.  It’s phenomenal how versatile we are!

We are a family here at Quincy Recycle and keeping our family safe is at the top of our priority list.

The entire team is extremely proud of and grateful for Carrie and her commitment to the health and safety of everyone at Quincy Recycle. She truly wants everyone to be Alive and Well.

“Carrie is a go-getter and genuinely cares about the people she works with.  You can see this in her loyalty and commitment to the company.  You won’t find anyone who wouldn’t say this same thing about her!” – Laurie Gilbert (Human Resource Manager, Quincy Recycle)

Creating a strong and positive culture is something we’ve put a lot of work into over the years. It’s why we established our core values, which we hold near and dear. Everyone at Quincy Recycle is committed to living our core values every day. We may be in the recycling business, but we’re also in the people business and we think our people are the best around! Be on the lookout for future employee spotlights. We can’t wait to show off more of the team!

 

Are you interested in learning more about Quincy Recycle?

Check out our About Us page for company background and our Careers page for information on how to join our team.

 

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John Danker, General Manager at Quincy Recycle - Chicago, IL

Employee Spotlight: John Danker

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

 

 

Commit, Be Tenacious, and Compete to Win

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.

Listen Up, Be Inquisitive, and Keep an Open Mind

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.