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Summer 2011




As many of you know, staff is preparing a Solid Waste Master Plan. This Master Plan will be a road map for our future services to the public and will be presented to City Council in August. We are looking at the future through a different lens, moving away from traditional waste collection and disposal toward a new material management system. Our new mission requires us to refocus our energies toward more diversion activities, including more aggressive recycling and composting. Previously named the Austin Sanitation Department, our Department’s mission was to pick up household waste, dispose of dead animals and sweep streets to create a cleaner city. Over time, the Department’s name was changed to Solid Waste Services to reflect the growing need to collect and landfill residential solid waste. As citizens became more environmentally conscious, recycling and yard trimmings collection services were added, creating an “integrated waste management system.” Throughout this long and proud history of service, the material collected was considered and treated as “waste.” Zero Waste Solid Waste Matters 1



shifts our way of thinking from “waste management” to “materials management.” This new approach treats materials collected as “resources” that have a second life, not as “waste streams.” In 2009, the Austin City Council endorsed Zero Waste as a significant goal for the City. With Zero Waste, trash is what we have left over after we reduce, reuse, recycle and compost. As the City of Austin embarks on the journey toward Zero Waste, the Department is already transforming from a waste management collection agency into a materials resource management agency. Part of that transformation is to re-evaluate our core services and align them within the framework of this new direction. SWS adopted a new vision, mission, values and objectives to guide us toward providing the services our citizens expect from us. At the heart of the services we provide to the citizens of Austin are our employees. I wish to thank each of you for your dedication and hard work as we provide excellent customer service and fiscal responsibility through the various functions we perform on a daily basis.

Bob Gedert, SWS Director





Vision: To be the national Zero Waste leader in the transformation from traditional integrated waste collection to sustainable resource recovery. Mission: To achieve Zero Waste by providing excellent customer services that promote waste reduction, increase resource recovery, and support the City of Austin’s sustainability efforts. Department Values: • We deliver quality services through sustainable and innovative best practices. • We are fiscally, socially, and environmentally responsible through collaborative efforts. • We are ethical and transparent. • We foster a safe and healthy work environment through employee/staff development, appreciation, recognition, and respect. Department Objectives: • To meet community needs by providing excellent customer service and proactive education and outreach. • To increase fiscal responsibility to our customers. • To provide optimal resource recovery while reducing the Department’s carbon footprint. • To educate, empower and hold staff accountable to provide affordable quality services. Summer 2011


City Hall Chambers Room 10–11 AM in Spanish

July 19:

City Hall Chambers Room 11–12 AM in English

July 21:

4108 Todd Lane Auditorium 2:30–3:30 PM in English

August 2: 1520 Rutherford Lane Room 102-01 10–11 AM in Spanish For the second year in a row, the Solid Waste Services (SWS) Department is offering composting classes over the summer, as well as rebates on a home composting system. To make it convenient for City employees to participate, classes are available through TRAIN. The classes are part of the City’s composting rebate program, which challenges Austinites (including employees) to complete a free composting class, downsize to a 32-gallon trash cart and purchase a home composting system. SWS curbside customers who do these three things are eligible for a rebate of 75 percent off the cost of their new home composting system up to $75. Since the rebate started last year, 917 people have taken the classes and 461 rebates have been issued.

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“Composting plays a large role in reducing the amount of waste the City sends to area landfills, so this program directly helps us reach our Zero Waste goal,” said Gena McKinley, SWS Planner Principal. Composting is nature’s way of recycling. It is also a great way to reduce the amount of trash you throw away by turning kitchen scraps and yard waste into a rich organic fertilizer that you can use in your yard. By using compost made in your backyard, you can also save gas and a few dollars by avoiding a trip to the gardening store to purchase fertilizer or mulch!

If you are unable to make any of these classes, see austinrecycles. com for a full schedule.

minimum of 25 participants and SWS will teach the class in English or Spanish. Classes will be offered by request from June 1 to Aug. 31, 2011, and the classes will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. To request a class for an organization, email or call 974-6383.

SWS is also offering Austin organizations the opportunity to host a free home composting class at their location upon request. Organizations are responsible for gathering a

Summer 2011

AUSTIN ENERGY SERVICE CENTER Solid Waste Services, in conjunction with Austin Energy, Austin Water and Watershed Protection hosted a ribbon cutting and preview media tour of the City’s new Utility Customer Service Center in north Austin on April 29. The center officially opened for business May 2 and was built to address the growing number of residential and commercial customers in north Austin zip codes. Customers can pay their utility bills at the site, get questions about their bill answered and have access to information about City programs. The 5,000 square foot facility replaces the Town Lake Center payment center and includes four teller stations, a check/ deposit slip counter, the City’s first automated payment kiosk, customer meeting rooms, seating areas, and a customer education center/meeting room for conservation classes or workshops to benefit customers.

Utility departments can reserve the meeting room, with capacity for 40 people, by contacting Maureen Saval at 972-7739 or Eunice Ransburg at 972-7881. The new center is located at 8716 Research Blvd., Ste. 115, near Ohlen Road and Highway 183. Operating hours are Monday through Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


New WasteSmart Partner Recognized

After hosting internal and external focus groups and narrowing the search for a new name down to three options, Solid Waste Services staff released three names online for public comment: • Austin Recycling & Waste Reduction Department • Austin Resource Recovery Utility • Austin Resource Collection & Recovery Utility While the original approach was to tie in the new name with other Earth Day celebrations in April, the decision was made to hold off announcing the new name until a final Master Plan is released. The new Department name needs to accurately reflect the services we provide and the Zero Waste strategies set out in the Master Plan. The Master Plan is slated to be presented to Austin City Council in October 2011.

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Austin company SpawGlass receives a WasteSmart certificate from SWS for their sustainability efforts. From Left to Right: CEO Joel Stone, Estimating Assistant Taryn Ritchie, Austin Region President Pat Williams, Senior Waste Diversion Planner Keith Bible and Senior Waste Diversion Planner Shirley Gillespie. Summer 2011


Dare to Go Zero, the Zero Waste reality show produced by Solid Waste Services (SWS) and Channel 6 debuted on Earth Day, April 22, and followed four Austin families as they tried to reduce the amount of waste they generated in their everyday lives. The show was hosted by Michael Bocanegra, SWS bulk collector, and the theme song was written by Herman Dietrich, SWS recycling crew member. Dare to Go Zero aired on Channel 6 for five weeks, but it is still available on YouTube and has garnered wide-spread media attention, both locally and nationally. Austin Post columnist Jackie Stone wrote of the show, “Dare to Go Zero has a…professional host, interesting families with interesting stories, good production values and the necessary end of episode competition/elimination with winners and losers revealed at the last second.”

everyone liked it and wanted it to be replicated in New York. A promo for the show was also shown at a Los Angeles public meeting about Zero Waste. University of Colorado in Denver Professor Arunprakash Karunanithi, Department of Civil Engineering, also called because he was doing research, saw it on the internet and said it was “a fantastic tool for public motivation!”

In mid-June, Waste & Recycling News, a national publication about the waste management industry, ran an article about the show. Less than a week later, the Dare to Go Zero story appeared on its list of top 10 read stories from the publication’s daily email and top 10 news stories from their website.

Developed by the SWS Public Information and Marketing Team (Lauren Hammond, Jennifer Herber, Gena McKinley, Erin Tongay and • Yahoo! Finance Betsy Woldman) along with • Business journals across the country Channel 6, each episode includes • TV stations in Austin, Nashville, weekly “dares” testing the families’ Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, recycling and waste reduction Cincinnati, Little Rock, Phoenix and knowledge and weigh-ins of each San Diego team’s trash. The “dares” included an • Papers in Austin, Dallas and Seattle educational element each episode and • Several online blogs chances to win eco-friendly prizes to • Waste industry and sustainability help them further their efforts. For trade publications example, on one episode, teams were asked to do a scavenger hunt in their More than 3,000 people have viewed neighborhoods for hard to recycle the YouTube videos of the show and a items like computers, cell phones, photo from the show was even household cleaner, batteries, displayed in Times Square in New etc. That “dare” concluded at the York City. Traffic to the SWS website Household Hazardous Waste facility even picked up after the show and highlighted the items collected debuted, receiving approximately in the scavenger hunt that could be 2,500 more visits in April than in March. dropped off there. Dare to Go Zero was covered in more than 230 media outlets, including:

Austin American-Statesman TV writer Dale Roe agreed. He wrote, “The do-ityourself production…looks and sounds like a real television show…” Dare to go Zero even received national praise. A stakeholder group of the New York Waste and Solid Waste Advisory Group viewed the show and the general consensus was that Solid Waste Matters 4

Summer 2011

In addition to SWS and Channel 6 staff, several other City departments and individuals assisted with the show, including the Cultural Arts Division, Building Services, Law Department, Communications & Public Information Office and Austin Water. As a long-term effort, SWS is combining all five episodes onto one DVD. The DVD will be distributed to all City libraries and shared with local school districts, businesses and other groups for use in classrooms, at neighborhood meetings and other functions. Dare to Go Zero increased exposure to the Zero Waste message and is a tool to educate the public about how going green is not as hard as it may seem. The show aimed to educate SWS customers about common mistakes crews frequently see on the routes. Examples of educational elements covered in the show are proper cart set out, what can and cannot be recycled and how to compost. Catch up on all five episodes at or by visiting a City library and checking out the DVD. The Marketing Team is also working on plans to air the show at the Kenneth Gardner Service Center. (continued on next page...)

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Summer 2011

Feedback on Dare to Go Zero Kristin Hillman from Huntersville, N.C., wrote to compliment SWS on Dare to Go Zero: “I LOVE the Dare to go Zero show. I have been keeping up with it online. Congratulations for inspiring not only the City of Austin but the whole country to get to Zero Waste! My husband and I have reduced our trash as a result of the show and we have started composting many of the items that were going into our recycling bin. Thanks again for the inspiration!” Jamie Moore of Planet Earth Promotions was impressed with the show: “I watched a few episodes of the Dare to Go Zero show on YouTube over the weekend. I learned a few new things and it re-energized my efforts to go green in my household. I’m picking up a composter this weekend. I have to admit, I’m a little terrified of composting, but it’s worth giving the old college try.” Customer Debbie Perlman entered the home composter giveaway as part of episode 2 and said, “I think Dare to Go Zero is a great public awareness campaign that appeals to the new reality TV craze.” “I thought it was a brilliant idea…and impressive that it was accomplished using all internal resources. I also liked the fact that you used a field worker to host the show,” said Leslie Sopko, Austin Energy Public Information Specialist Senior.

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Summer 2011

SWS GREEN TEAM The first meeting of the Solid Waste Services “Green Team” is slated for July 7. The Green Team is a group of SWS employees that will help other employees learn to reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink more at our facilities. The main goals of the team will be to educate employees, increase awareness of “green” issues and to establish sustainable programs to ensure the goals set forth in the Department’s Climate Protection Plan are met. This team will play an integral role as SWS moves toward Zero Waste and becoming carbon neutral. “Each one of us plays a role in attaining ecological balance within the Department,” said Shirley Gillespie, SWS Waste Diversion Planner Senior. “It’s important to save our resources today for our future tomorrow.” Current Green Team members are: Angela Begnaud, Aiden Cohen, Jessica Edwards, Shirley Gillespie, Karl Harrison, Conley LeLoux, Vidal Maldonado, Shaun Marie Auckland, Gena McKinley, Daniela Ochoa, Woody Raine and Victoria Sanchez. If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact Shirley at or 974-4306.

ENCORE PERFORMANCES OF THE TRASH PROJECT Solid Waste Services (SWS) and Forklift Danceworks are teaming up again for two encore performances of the award-winning arts event, The Trash Project, on Saturday, Aug. 27 and Sunday, Aug. 28. Debuting Sept. 12, 2009 to a rain-soaked audience, The Trash Project is a one-of-a-kind dance performance featuring SWS employees and vehicles. A crowd of 2,000 people showed up for the event. The encore performances will be at the Austin Studios tarmac at 1901 East 51st St. Tickets will be free and can be reserved beginning in July via Join us before the show for a family friendly One Green Step event. Look for more information about employee tickets soon! Solid Waste Matters 7

UNIVERSAL RECYCLING ORDINANCE TAKING SHAPE The Austin City Council approved changes to the current Commercial/Multi-Family Recycling Ordinance on Nov. 4, 2010. The first phase of the new ordinance, renamed the Universal Recycling Ordinance (URO), becomes effective Oct. 1, 2012. The Universal Recycling Ordinance affects all commercial and multifamily properties within the Austin city limits and will be phased in over the next four years, requiring more than 4,500 properties to recycle by October 2015. Currently, two major activities are taking place regarding the URO: The first activity is the URO Phase 1 meetings that are working to develop a new set of “Director’s Rules” to implement and enforce the ordinance. The development of the new rules includes community and business stakeholders discussing how the details of the ordinance will be implemented as fairly and rapidly as possible. The goal is to write a new set of rules that will help the community move toward Zero Waste (a 90 percent reduction of materials sent to the landfill by 2040) while ensuring that businesses are provided adequate time and the technical assistance needed to comply with the new recycling ordinances. So far, staff conducted seven public meetings with between 15 and 20 stakeholders at each meeting. Phase 1 meetings are scheduled every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at 9-11 a.m. at the Rutherford Lane Campus. You can learn more about our efforts to improve recycling at in Austin at: Secondly, the Solid Waste Advisory Commission (SWAC) Committee for URO Phase 2 meets, every third Tuesday of the month at City Hall to discuss URO amendments that will affect restaurants, retail facilities, manufacturers and warehouses. The Committee is made up of three SWAC Commissioners, and meetings are attended by City staff as well as stakeholders from restaurants, service providers, hotels and non profit organizations. We are currently discussing which materials businesses will be required to recycle under the URO Phase 2, and how to effectively encourage greater participation in recycling and waste diversion. You can find additional information about the Phase 2 Committee meetings on the Boards and Commission’s website at: cityclerk/boards_commissions/meetings/46_1.htm If you have any questions about URO Phase 1 or Phase 2, please feel free to contact Aiden Cohen, Program Manager, Summer 2011

HEARD ON THE ROUTE...SOUTHWEST AUSTIN FIRE CLEAN UP Anyone who was in south Austin on April 17 noticed the huge, dark smoke cloud billowing into the blue sky. The smoke cloud was the result of a large brush fire that occurred in Oak Hill, destroyed at least eight homes and damaged another 10 in its path. Because the brush fire was so large and destructive, the Oak Hill community sought cleanup assistance from the City of Austin, including the Solid Waste Services Brush and Bulk collection crews. SWS frequently assists with debris removal after damaging events such as storms, fire and floods. First, representatives from several City departments, including SWS, hosted a meeting with the South Windmill Run Neighborhood Association to provide helpful information to the community. Residents were advised about looters in the area, people who could try to exploit the residents for money, fire prevention and the cleanup process. To develop a cleanup process, Vidal

Maldonado, Litter Abatement Division Manager, and Mike Lewis, Litter Abatement Assistant Division Manager, assessed the damage in the area to determine a collection strategy that would work for both the collection crews and the residents. Residents were asked to separate their brush and bulk piles at the curb for collection on Fridays. Three to four employees assisted with each collection and brush was taken to Hornsby Bend for recycling. Crews also made an extra trip through the community mid-week to collect anything set out. As of May 31, SWS collected more than 13 tons of debris in the area and made seven trips out to the community.

neighbor mentioned the fire spread from tree to tree because they were overgrown and the only reason his house was spared was because his trees were trimmed back.”

Operator Specialist Shanda Johnson assisted with the debris cleanup and said she was impacted by the loss and devastation the fire left behind. While she was there, she had the opportunity to hear from some of the residents. “A resident from the area told us that homes burned to the ground in a matter of minutes because of the winds,” Shanda said. “Another

As the cleanup process winds down, staff will continue to monitor the number of set outs to determine if collections are still needed. Once set outs become less frequent, an end date will be determined. With the help of brush and bulk collection crews, Oak Hill residents are able to clean up their community and move on with their lives.

CITY INSTALLS FIRST PUBLIC RECYCLING CONTAINERS Recently, Solid Waste Services installed 20 solar-powered trash compressors called a BigBellys outside City Hall and on Guadalupe Street from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. to 30th Street. Recycling containers stand adjacent to the trash compactors. This is the first time recycling of aluminum cans, plastic bottles and clean paper have been regularly offered on public rights of way in Austin. “Providing recycling in these high pedestrian traffic areas will divert recyclables from the landfill and help us meet our Zero Waste goal,” said Solid Waste Matters 8

SWS Director Bob Gedert. The BigBelly trash compressors, which get 100 percent of their energy from the sun, replaced 14 regular trash cans along Guadalupe and can hold about four times as much trash. First used in Vail, Colo., Big Bellys can also be found at the Alamo in San Antonio, and Harvard University and Fenway Park in Boston.

Operator Specialist Eric Harrison was assigned to use the crane during the cleanup. While at the site, a resident shared her experience with him. “She could see the fire coming into her yard when the wind changed and a spark blew into her front yard. It burned the area in between her house and the other,” Eric said. Luckily, the ember ignited a small grass fire in between houses and did not damage any homes.

The container’s side panels and front hopper cover are made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled car bumpers. The containers are a year-long pilot program for the City and if successful may expand to other parts of Austin.

SWS staffer Reynardo Ramirez checks a BigBelly container on Guadalupe St. Summer 2011

ANNUAL TAKE YOUR KIDS TO WORK DAY A special thank you goes to the following employees for helping with the event:

On June 22, Solid Waste Services and Code Compliance hosted activities as part of the City’s annual “Take Your Kids to Work Day” event. More than 50 children, ages seven to 15, participated in the activities, which included education in outdoor safety, safe texting, demonstrations on recycling and code inspections, games, food and giveaways. The kids also enjoyed a magic show performed by Steve Farmer in Code Compliance, face painting and a composting demonstration. Bobby Brown, Solid Waste Operator Specialist in bulk collections, not only brought his children, but also volunteered his time at the event. After attending, his 7-year-old child told him his job and his uniform was cool. “Bring Your Child to Work Day was great,” Bobby said. “It gave [my kids] a first-hand look at not only what I do, but the city as a whole…looking forward to next year.”

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Allen Aaron Bobby Brown Sharon Callis Mike Carnline Mike Carter Sharlene Daniels Jermain DeFreeze Lisa DeRoche Steve Dixon Steve Farmer Ben Gonzales Hannah Hammock Virginia Hernandez Tony Hipolito Aaron Jaramillo Jonathan Josephson Debbie Kelton Jeana Kingsbury Maria Kirk Mike Lewis Sylba Loren Marcus Lyons Richard McHale Kesha Moore Jessie Morales Daniela Ochoa Bruna Quinonez Kevin Reed Lauren Taggart Erin Tongay

Summer 2011

SAFETY MATTERS: TORNADO SAFETY Approximately 1,000 tornadoes touch down in the country each year with an estimated 153 tornadoes in Texas alone. Tornadoes have occurred in every month, but occur most often April through June, between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m. Texas ranks 11th among the 50 states in density of tornadoes with an average of 5.7 tornadoes per 10,000 square miles per year. The U.S. record for the fastest tornado winds occurred in Wichita Falls on April 2, 1958, with a top wind speed of 258 mph. The most important thing you can do to prevent being injured in a tornado is to be ALERT to the onset of severe weather. Most deaths and injuries happen to people who are unaware and uninformed. If you don’t regularly watch or listen to the weather report, but strange clouds start moving in and the weather begins to look stormy, turn to the local radio or television station to get the weather forecast or check The Weather Channel for additional information.

What should I do to prepare for a tornado? • During any storm, listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about watches and warnings. • Pick a safe room in your home where family and pets may gather during a tornado. This should be a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. Make sure everyone knows what to do if a tornado is approaching. • Prepare a disaster supplies kit to keep in your shelter area to include a first aid kit with essential medication, canned food, bottled water, a battery powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries. • Write down instructions on how to turn off your utilities. • Consider having your safe room reinforced. Plans for reinforcing an interior room to provide better protection can be found on the FEMA website at prevent/rms/rmsp453.shtm.

• Prepare for high winds by removing diseased and damaged limbs from trees annually. • Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile. • Stop moving vehicles and head for a sturdy shelter or a lie down in a low, flat spot and cover your head. Don’t take shelter under a bridge. Never try to outrun a tornado. • Watch for tornado danger signs: • Dark, often greenish clouds – a phenomenon caused by hail • Wall cloud – an isolated lowering of the base of a thunderstorm • Cloud of flying debris • Large hail • Funnel cloud – a visible rotating extension of the cloud base • A strange quiet followed by a roaring noise Information compiled from, and

What should I do during a tornado? If you are in:


A structure (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building)

Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.

A vehicle, trailer, or mobile home

Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.

The outside with no shelter

Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location. Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter. Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.

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Summer 2011

SWS ROAD-E-O WINNERS ADVANCE TO STATE COMPETITION In May, two Solid Waste Services (SWS) employees won big at the State Road-E-O, hosted by TXSWANA (Texas chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America). Chris Guerrero placed 3rd in the Automated Truck category and Bobby Brown placed 3rd in the Tractor Trailer category. Other employees competing at state were: Ismael Bryan and Antonio Monroe (rear loader category); Jessie Sanchez and Mike Carnline (automated trucks); and Greg Karo and Jesse Langley (tractor trailer). The Road-E-O tests drivers’ skills behind the wheel on a competitive course and their knowledge of safety regulations and equipment. Road-E-Os are held annually at the local level and employees who placed 1st–3rd locally are eligible to compete at the state level. The SWS Road-e-o, held in March, offered employees the opportunity to demonstrate their talents operating their everyday heavy equipment though an obstacle course of cones, barrels and barricades. The course is designed to create some of the driving conditions employees encounter while working on the route. For example, the course included parallel parking, reversing the vehicle and driving forwards to avoid obstacles. This year a new category made its debut in the competition–the Crane truck. As part of this course, participants were asked to pick up a full soda can using the crane arm, without crushing the can or knocking it over. They then had to place it inside a bulls-eye marked on the ground. Ismael Bryan received third place in the overall Crane category, but he was the only participant to successfully pick up the can and place it in the target.

to carefully maneuvering equipment throughout the City on narrow neighborhood streets with a variety of barriers around them like cars and low hanging utility wires. The Road-E-O is a great chance for them to show off their skills and demonstrate the safety precautions they take each and every day.” Many employees’ families attended the event to cheer for their loved ones and witness their talents. The Road-E-O also offered face painting, clowns and other family entertainment.

Chris Guerrero

Congratulations to all the winners in the local SWS Road-E-O: Pick-Up 1st Virginia Alexander 2nd Angie Bryant 3rd Mike Carnline Rear Loader 1st Mike Carnline 2nd Ruben Mata 3rd Chris Guerrero

Bobby Brown

Side Loader 1st Jessie Sanchez 2nd Antonio Monroe 3rd Mike Carnline

Tractor 1st Greg Karo 2nd Bobby Brown 3rd Aaron Jaramillo

Automated 1st Jessie Sanchez 2nd Chris Guerrero 3rd Mario Jimenez

Crane 1st Jesse Langley 2nd Bobby Brown 3rd Ismael Bryan

“For many employees, operating heavy equipment is second nature,” said Ellen Jensen, SWS Occupational Safety Manager. “Crews are accustomed Solid Waste Matters 11

Summer 2011

HR CORNER: NEW HUMAN RESOURCES STAFF MEMBERS Blanche Quarterman is the new Human Resources Manager for Solid Waste Services and Code Compliance. She has a business degree from St. Edward’s University and more than 22 years service with four different agencies at the State of Texas. She has worked in the field of corrections and Human Resources (HR) for most of her service. Blanche began her new role with SWS and Code in March. Jeana Kingsbury, Human Resources Advisor, transferred to Solid Waste Services from the Austin Fire Department in April. She is assigned to the Employee Relations section of Human Resources and brings more than 10 years of HR experience, with a primary focus on Grievances and Workers’ Compensation. Jeana started working at the City of Austin in 1992 for the Law Department and later transferred to Austin Energy. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement from Texas State University and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Another new member of the Employee Relations section is Mauricio Zuniga, Human Resources Consultant. Mauricio previously worked in Employee Relations at corporate Human Resources Department. Prior to working for HRD, he was based in the Public Works Department conducting investigations involving potential personnel policy violations for Public Works and various other departments including Financial and Administrative Services, Aviation, Austin Water Utility, Watershed Protection. Mauricio has more than 25 years experience working in Human Resources. In their current assignments, Mauricio and Jeana will be handling employee relations issues, including supervisor/ employee conflicts or peer to peer disagreements. Mauricio will also conduct investigations, provide Solid Waste Matters 12

assistance and guidance to managers and staff on City and department policies, and when needed, conduct training on these topics. Additionally, Human Resources assigned HR staff Sandra Schirmer and Jeana Kingsbury to the MRF building in order to directly serve the needs of employees located at the MRF and the Kenneth Gardner Service Center. HR is excited to have a greater presence at these locations. Please welcome Jeana and Sandra to their new offices. Jeana can be reached at 974-2352 and Sandra can be reached at 974-1947 office, 802-7602 pager. Ombudsperson - Open for Business In April, the City Manager announced the implementation of an ombuds process to assist with resolving employee grievances and workplace environment issues and named Tom Stribling as Ombudsperson. The office is available to serve as a neutral third-party to provide assistance to mediate and attempt to resolve non-civil service employee personnel grievances and other human resource-related matters. According to the Labor Relations Office an ombudsperson “is an advocate for properly administered processes, not an advocate on behalf of any individual, group or administrator within the City of Austin.” For more information including Frequently Asked Questions, a description of the procedures to access the ombuds process, and rules for mediation, visit http://www. You may also contact Mauricio Zuniga at 974-3451, Jeana Kingsbury at 974-2352 or P.A. Todd at 974-3566 in SWS HR if you have questions concerning this new process.

New Hires (March–June 2011): Patrick Clark Philip “Andy” Dawson Hannah Hammack Damon Hureskin Joshua Johnson Gretchen Kingham Jeana Kingsbury Augustin Martinez Daniella Ochoa-Gonzales Ray Ortiz Blanche Quarterman Woody Raine Ashley Schmidt Christopher Scott LaJuan Sheppard Phillip Tindall PA Todd William White Eric Wilson Promotions (March–June 2011): Richard Herrera–promoted from Solid Waste Operator in Litter Abatement to Solid Waste Operator Specialist in Collections Esequiel “Zeke” Grimaldo, Ivory Jackson, Jr. and George Quijada– promoted from Solid Waste Operators to Solid Waste Operator Specialists in Collections Annette Moreno–promoted from Department Executive Assistant in Administration to Research Analyst in Strategic Initiatives. Transfers (March–June 2011): Jeana Kingsbury, Julia McCarthy and Mauricio Zuniga.

Summer 2011

HR CORNER: TRAINING HIGHLIGHTS Congratulations to recent SWS Supervisor Academy graduates Gary Litson and Jesse Morales. The Supervisory Academy recently added new courses to keep supervisors informed and up to date about best practices in management. Although it is a requirement for all City supervisors to complete the Academy, crew leaders and other non-management employees may request permission from their supervisor to attend the Academy as well. With final permission from the Director, employees may attend all of the Academy courses, but will not receive a certificate or officially “graduate.” Coming attractions: SWS Human Resources began a pilot of an excellent conflict management class called, “When Conflict Happens: Every Employee’s Guide to Resolving Workplace Problems.”

The course is two hours long, includes role playing and introduces valuable tools employees can use in difficult situations. Sessions will begin in July and will occur once a month. A shortened version will also be available for groups and for use during retreats. Supervisor “Tailgate” meetings continue to occur monthly. Employee Relations staff Mauricio Zuniga and Jeana Kingsbury will present Human Resources related topics in July.

efforts. Litter Abatement team members at Juneteenth include: Virginia Alexander, Ray Armstrong, Tom Coleman, Steven Davis, John Davis, Tony Dudley, Jeffrey Garner, Ricardo Guerrero, Shiron Hill, Tiffiney Holland, Shonda Johnson, Greg Jones, Greg Karo, Julian Lopez, Anthony Phillips, Jose Salas, Miguel Salinas and Bearin Spears.

On April 21, SWS Yard Trimmings employee Eric Harris called the dispatch office because he spotted a 3-or-4-year-old child running down the street screaming and crying. He stayed with the child while dispatch called the Austin Police Department. APD arrived on site a few minutes later and the child was taken to a safe place.

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Operational employees can take advantage of computer skills classes in Outlook, Excel and Word, taught by Communications and Technology Management (CTM) staff. Held in the computer lab at the Kenneth Gardner Service Center, a minimum of three employees must pre-register in order for the classes to occur. If interested, ask your supervisor for approval. They will contact SWS HR and, once the class is confirmed, you will be notified.

SWS interview classes, Part One and Two: Building Your Employment Story will continue to be offered through September. The two hour session offers employees background information on how to prepare for an interview, a practice interview with a panel of supportive and objective interviewers and includes a special coaching by staff for those desiring


Thanks so much to the entire Litter Abatement crew and Strategic Initiatives members that helped with the Juneteenth event. The crowd was tremendous and there were a few challenges with citizens getting through barricades and driving toward street sweepers, but SWS staff handled themselves well. The streets were littered after the parade, but once the crews came through, the streets looked like they were brand new! Also, much appreciation to Strategic Initiatives members Lauren

further one-on-one or small group support.

Public Information specialist Lauren Hammond orients Zero Waste Ambassadors at the Juneteenth event. Hammond, Jessica King, Sylba Loren, Annette Moreno, Daniela Ochoa and Erin Tongay, for braving the 100+ degree temperatures from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. to share information about the Department’s Zero Waste

On June 29, Code Compliance staffers Todd Wilcox and Ira Frisinger found a young child walking alone on Rampart Street. They flagged down a recycling truck driven by SWS staffer David Bedford. David gave the child a bottle of water and Code waited with the child until the authorities arrived to ensure her safety. Customer Arthur Marinelli wrote in with this compliment: “Austin has the best services of any city I’ve ever lived in. And I’ve lived all over the country. Chicago, NY, NJ, CA, OH, WV. When I get my bill, it’s concise, it’s clear. continued on next page... Summer 2011

I think this is a great city. It’s people like you who are interested…And even the trash guys, when I see them in the street and I wave to them, they wave back. Can you believe that?” Customer Joan Calman wrote in to say, “I wanted to let someone know that I was very impressed with the ease of use of your website. In 2 clicks I was able to find out how to dispose of both my Styrofoam and light bulbs. Good work!!” Linda Morrison, SWS Financial Specialist, sent a note of thanks to Amy Slagle, SWS Quality Analyst, for her assistance in obtaining copies of checks and other information related to transactions dating all the way back to February 2000. Linda wrote, “It was a privilege working with Amy. She provided the files that facilitated the research process to determine a status and/or action on each receivable transaction. Amy provided assistance for the period beginning mid January 2011 through April 30, 2011. Her attitude was professional, efficient, and cooperative.” Awards & Achievements Gabriella Powers, SWS Accountant Senior, recently earned Certified Public Accountant (CPA) status from the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy. Congratulations, Gabby! The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) recently designated Donald Hardee, Disposal Facilities Division Manager, as a Certified Construction & Demolition Manager. Donald was also recently re-elected as the Lone Star Chapter President of the North American Hazardous Materials Management Association (NAHMMA). Way to go, Donald!

She holds bachelor’s degrees in business management and human resources, both from Park University. Roshanda is pursuing her Roshanda Smiley master’s degree in public administration at Texas State University. She’s also certified as a professional in human resources and is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management. Roshanda serves as NFBPA Central Texas Chapter-Emerging Leaders Committee Chair. Congratulations, Roshanda! The SWS Public Information & Marketing team (Lauren Hammond, Jennifer Herber, Sylba Loren, Gena McKinley, Erin Tongay and Betsy Woldman) was recognized in June for their communications work by the

Austin chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators at an annual awards gala. They received a Bronze Quill Award for the 2010 One Green Step campaign in the Marketing Communications category. The team was also recognized for the 2010 One Green Step campaign with a Silver Spur award from the Texas Public Relations Association (TPRA) in May. SWS was honored with a 2011 Environmental Awareness Award from the Austin Climate Protection Plan for the Department’s event recycling efforts. During fiscal year 2010, staff coordinated recycling services for 17 city sponsored events, which resulted in 10 tons of recyclables being diverted from area landfills. Many staffers were a part of these efforts. Congratulations!

Top: SWS Marketing team members Betsy Woldman (left) and Jennifer Herber (right) accept a Bronze Quill Award from IABC. Below: Mayor Lee Leffingwell (second from right) presents SWS staff Bob Gedert, Gena McKinley, Alanna Reed and Jessica King with a 2011 Environmental Awareness Award.

Roshanda Smiley, Chief Administrative Officer, recently graduated from the National Forum for Black Public Administrators’ (NFBPA) Executive Leadership I nstitute & Mentor Program. She has worked in the administration field for more than 20 years in private and public sectors. Solid Waste Matters 14

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Household Hazardous Waste Facility

SWS is looking for volunteers to be Zero Waste Ambassadors at upcoming Blues on the Green events at Zilker Park.

SWS is also looking for volunteers to be Zero Waste Ambassadors at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility. DATES: First Saturday of every month TIME: 8 a.m. to Noon LOCATION: 2514 Business Center Dr.

DATES: July 20, Aug. 3, Aug. 17 TIME: 5:45 to 9:45 p.m. YOUR ROLE: As Zero Waste Ambassadors, you’ll help monitor recycling and compost containers and educate event goers about where to recycle and compost at the event. SWS also will have an outreach/information booth on July 20 and Aug. 3, and Zero Waste Ambassadors will help staff the booth and share information about SWS programs and services. DETAILS: You’ll receive VIP parking at the event and will enjoy a fun evening of live music. Also, you’ll get a free t-shirt as thanks for participating. Please note that you will be volunteering your time. SWS will not compensate you with flex or overtime for the time you are volunteering.

DETAILS: Learn how the HHW facility operates while helping unload vehicles on collection day. No training necessary! Zero Waste Ambassadors with be supplied with appropriate safety equipment and will receive a complimentary t-shirt for participating. *Note: Ages 18 and up only. If you are interested in volunteering at the HHW, contact Shaun Auckland at 974-4339 or shaun-marie.auckland@

ABOUT BLUES ON THE GREEN: Blues on the Green, presented by 93.3 KGSR, is Austin’s longest-running free music series. 2011 lineup: 7/20 - Guy Forsyth with Dale Watson; Aug. 3 - Old 97s; Aug. 17 - Los Lonely Boys If you’re interested in volunteering for Blues on the Green, please contact Lauren Hammond, SWS public information specialist, at lauren.hammond@ Please indicate which date(s) you prefer.

GET READY FOR BUILD A BACKPACK PROJECT The 6th Annual Build A Backpack project will kick off mid-July! This backpack and school supplies drive supports local Austin Independent School District (AISD) children in need, and if there was ever a time AISD could use our support, it’s now. Each year as part of the drive, the City hosts a backpack decorating contest to promote friendly, interdepartmental competition. In 2008 and 2009, SWS backpacks won in their categories. So start brainstorming ideas for backpacks Solid Waste Matters 15

and looking for school supply sales. Anything you can donate helps the cause–even a single notebook can make the difference for a child without one. Send monetary donations and school supplies to Sylba Loren at the SWS Rutherford Lane Campus. Look for more information soon. Summer 2011

ONE GREEN STEP 2011 Solid Waste Services’ second annual One Green Step event was held on April 23 at the Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC). The event encouraged Austinites to commit to small, personal green steps to help make Austin a cleaner and greener place to live. One Green Step featured music by DJ Luis, entertainment by Maggy the Happy Clown, a photo booth, interactive art, informational booths and free giveaways. SWS provided five ClearStream recycling containers at the Zero Waste event and collected 20 pounds of material, diverting 19.5 pounds for recycling.

HHW Serves as Drop Off for National Drug Take Back Day The Household Hazardous Waste Facility served as a drop off location for the second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day April 30. The City of Austin partnered with the local Drug Enforcement Administration office and area agencies to host the event, which gave Austinites the opportunity to get rid of no longer needed pills and other medications.

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Summer 2011

Solid Waste Matters-Summer 2011  

The Summer issue of Solid Waste Matters

Solid Waste Matters-Summer 2011  

The Summer issue of Solid Waste Matters