Veteran Employer Background – Energy – Waste Management (1)

Waste Management  |  |  |

Published in the May/June 2011 issue of print Search & Employ®  |

Working in trash and recycling may not sound like a dream job to a lot of people, probably because the extent of their involvement is taking trash and recycling bins to the curb. But the industry offers lots of opportunities and is linked to the country’s future energy needs as well as environmental improvement.

A leading company in the industry is Waste Management Inc., a Fortune 200 company based in Houston. Through its subsidiaries, the company provides collection, transfer, recycling and resource recovery, and disposal services. Company revenue in 2009 was $11.79 billion.

Wheelabrator Technologies (, a Waste Management Company, is a developer, operator, and owner of waste-to-energy and landfill gas-to-energy facilities. Wheelabrator pioneered the waste-to-energy industry in the United States in 1975, when it designed, built, and operated the first commercially successful facility in Saugus, Massachusetts.

Waste Management has about 43,900 employees, and about 3,600 of them are veterans or members of the reserves or National Guard. On average, at least one military person or military spouse is hired at Waste Management every day of the year. The company provides pay differentials to employees who are on involuntary military leave, which are equal to the difference between their current base pay and their military pay.

“Waste Management has over 1,500 types of positions, yielding a variety of opportunities and pay ranges,” said Wes Reel, the company’s military recruiting and outreach coordinator and a former naval aviator. “So whether you are focused on accounting, engineering, finance, IT, maintenance, operations or sales, we probably have something that would appeal to most transitioning military.”

Reel said there are always openings at the company because the opportunities there are constantly growing. “Right now we have over 1,200 openings in the United States and Canada,” he said. “Our biggest demands include drivers, mechanics, fleet maintenance managers, route managers, and customer service reps.”

Veterans are at the top of the list when it comes to filling those positions. “One population that is important to WM is the military,” Reel said. “Our commitment is through action, not words. We offer pay differentials to reserve and Guard employees activated to duty, we operate a Military Veteran Professional Network, and student veterans can work for us as interns while attending college. You will recognize us at military job fairs, in the military media, and in our outreach efforts to military support organizations, active duty, disabled and demobilizing or transitioning Guard/reserve servicemembers.”

Reel said that a veteran’s sense of mission will serve him or her well at Waste Management. “Waste Management provides a necessary service, driven by an ecological purpose,” Reel said. “One of the things we like about veterans is that they value a mission with purpose. This is why they do so well at WM. They are hard working and they ‘get’ the sense of purpose. There are many opportunities in our company and for motivated and driven employees, there is little limit to how far their career path may extend.”

About the Author

This article was written by Jay Myers