Richard “Red” Gagnon
In 1958, Richard Gagnon accepted his first job in the waste industry as a helper on a truck for B. Ledger & Son, a company his father purchased in 1968. Three years later, he was a 10 percent owner and soon the operations manager. In 1972, when the company was sold to Waste Management, Inc., he continued to work as a manager. He bought back a part of the company in 1977 forming Commercial Disposal Co., which he sold in 1996. In 2002, he purchased The Master Garbologist and Full Cycle Composting, companies he still operates. He was one of the first haulers in Western Massachusetts to use a front loader and helped NSWMA pass legislation to build the first paper recycling plant in the state. He served as NSWMA’s Massachusetts Chapter chair and representative on the Board of Governors. In 1987, he founded a golf tournament to raise funds for special needs children and continues to run the tournament today. He is on the board of directors of Child and Family Services. In 2008, he received an award from the Center for Human Development for generosity and time helping disadvantaged children.
Mike Knaub began his career in the waste industry as a helper at the family business his grandfather started in 1915. In 1979, he joined Rubbermaid Applied Products as the midwest regional manager for roll-off refuse/recycling containers. When Schaefer Systems International formed a new regional team in 1991, he became the company’s midwest regional sales manager for waste for the Waste Technology Division. After three weeks, he was invited to join the management team and was advanced to general sales manager. He is now the senior vice president - managing director, WTC. In 1998, he joined WASTEC, participating on the WasteExpo Exhibitor Advisory Committee. He serves on the ANSI Z245 full committee and cart systems subcommittee. In 2001, he was named WASTEC Member of the Year. From 2006 to 2008, he was WASTEC’s Board of Governors chair. He also is active with the Solid Waste Association of North America, American Public Works Association, and the Detachable Container Association. He is a member of the East Charlotte Rotary and a strong supporter of Toys for Tots.
John McLaughlin did not plan a career in the waste industry. He started working on the family farm as a child and was the first in his family to graduate from college becoming a radio and television broadcaster. During his broadcasting career at the University of Nebraska, he was innovative in using the TV network to teach farmers the latest agriculture technology. He returned to the farm in 1971, when he co-founded Scranton Manufacturing, Inc. making livestock feeding and handling equipment. In the 1980s, he diversified the product line by acquiring the New Way line of refuse trucks and then built a network of dealers throughout the U.S. Today, the company manufactures front, rear, and automated side loaders, satellite and recycling bodies, and has expanded its facilities by over 50 percent. Recently, he acquired K-PAC compactors. He serves on the boards of Men for Missions International and OMS International, where he has helped build churches in South America and teach business ethics in Russia. To increase missionary work, he led a team of people and built a radio broadcast center near Cap-Haitian, Haiti.
William Rumpke, Sr.
Thomas Rumpke was an owner, co-president, and chief executive officer of Rumpke Consolidated Companies until his death in 2004. William Rumpke Sr., Tom’s cousin, is the president, chief executive officer, and chairman of the board of the company, which Bill’s father started in 1932. In 1932, the company was a hog farm where the young cousins helped collect garbage to feed the hogs. In 1965, they partnered to create Rumpke Container Service. About 15 years later, they formed the corporation’s Environmental Affairs and Compliance Department, recognizing the need to further point their business toward long-term environmental sustainability. In the 1970s, the company expanded to include service markets in Indiana and Kentucky and, in the late 1980s, they developed their own hydraulic systems (Rumpke Hydraulics & Machining), container shop (Rumpke Industrial Equipment Service Center), and then purchased a recycling company, Pickaway County Community Action Recycling. Following more than 200 acquisitions, the company’s revenue exceeded $270 million annually. Today, revenue is at $376 million and the firm is one of the largest privately-owned waste and recycling hauling companies in the U.S. with 2,300 employees, 1,700 trucks, 8 landfills, 7 recycling centers, and 20 transfer stations. In addition, in 1984, they partnered with Getty’s Synthetic Fuel (now Montauk Energy Capital) to collect methane gas, a clean renewable source of alternative energy, from the company’s largest landfill in Ohio. Thirty-three thousand homes are heated every day with this renewable fuel, and the company also is investigating technology to fuel their collection fleets with methane if feasible. At the same time the company was expanding its waste collection and disposal services, the cousins formed Rumpke Amusements and built a ballpark in Cincinnati, called Rumpke Park, which today still serves the local community for softball and youth baseball. They have funded the local boy scouts, built a new weight room for a Cincinnati high school, and regularly made donations to schools, hospitals, and other local events, a practice that continues at the company.