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20 Year Spotlight – Edwin Hernandez

20 Year Spotlight
Edwin Hernandez
Equipment Repair Specialist – Sanford, FL

Edwin Hernandez always wanted to be a “garbage guy.”

“As a kid, I used to chase the garbage trucks around when they came by.”

He turned that excitement into a career that’s spanned over 40 years – 20 of which have been with Waste Pro.

Edwin Hernandez accepts a $10,000 check as a reward for his 20 years with the company from Founder/Chairman John Jennings

Shortly after moving to Florida from Ohio, Hernandez began working for a locally owned garbage company that was later bought by Waste Pro Founder and Chairman John Jennings in the 90s. The rest, as they say, is history.

“I’ve had a good life with Waste Pro,” he said. “Mr. Jennings treats me very well.”

Hernandez has done just about everything there is to do in the industry – driven trucks, been a boss, make repairs, go out on sales calls, and everything in between.

He followed Jennings when he founded Waste Pro in 2001, and for a few months was the only employee. During that time he drove all kinds of trucks, picked up garbage, delivered cans to customers – he did it all.

Hernandez recalled a time in the early 2000s when Jennings surprised him by taking him to Lake Helen, FL, driving him around, and asking him how he would run the route.

“I said, ‘What do you mean?’ And he told me, ‘You’re the new recycling man here. Here’s a map, it’s all yours,’” Hernandez recalled.

20 years later, Hernandez’s main job is repairing equipment such as compactors – but he is still the go-to man for a lot of people. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I always find a way to do things. It’s the best part of the job for me,” he said. “I’ve always stepped up when someone needed me. I just love working with people.”

Chances are even if you do not know Hernandez, you’ve seen him at a Waste Pro event. His favorite part of working at Waste Pro is operating “Smokin’ Joe,” Waste Pro’s transportable grill that is often used at award presentations, trade shows, and city and county events. He’s well known across the company for firing up some delicious meals.

“The best part is when I can see everyone loving the food. I love to be the one cooking it,” he said.

Cooking at events has even led him to meet prominent people across the footprint, including mayors, commissioners, and pro-wrestler turned politician Matt Morgan.

In the early days of Waste Pro, during transition periods, Hernandez filled in some downtime by doing site work with other Waste Pro colleagues at other prominent locations such as Orange County, FL schools and even MGM Studios (now Hollywood Studios) at Walt Disney World.

“We helped build the wizard hat that used to be there,” he said. “I was there for nine months from 10 p.m. until 7 a.m.”

Hernandez hopes to stay on a consultant for the sales staff once he retires in the next few years. He doesn’t want to leave Waste Pro completely, after all – it’s been 20 years of some of his happiest memories. And, he says, the same can be true down the road for people who are just starting out.

“There are a lot of people that just want to get hired and see how it goes, but that’s not how you’re going to make it,” he said. “You’ve always got to be prepared and you’ve got to genuinely love what you do.”

When he’s not working, Hernandez is an avid pool player, a lover of karaoke and dancing, and a proud dog dad.