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Meet Buddy, Waste Pro Driver & Three-Time $10,000 Award Winner

For Immediate Release                                           

Media Contact: Ron Pecora
Chief Marketing Officer

CRESTVIEW, FL – June 6, 2019 – Crestview native Horace “Buddy” Simmons delivers such a high quality of work, leaders at the city personally recommended him to Coastal Regional VP Ralph Mills while he was working for another hauler.

For nearly 30 years, Buddy has been working the same route in Crestview; first with Waste Management, then with Waste Pro after the company was awarded the contract more than a decade ago – around the same time Ralph hired Buddy.

From being unhappy with Waste Management to losing his wife to cancer, a new career was a welcome change.

“I just wanted something new. Ralph and I hit it off so I gave my two weeks’ notice and started here in 2008,” Buddy said.

Buddy thrives on servicing his customers expertly and consistently, and doesn’t take it well when he can’t. He recently had a case of the flu with a fever of 104 degrees, but still tried to go into work until his wife stopped him.

“It’s drilled in me that you may burn it off, sweat it off if you’re working,” Buddy said. “They had to come get me once because I came in sick and couldn’t go anymore that day.”

The customers along Buddy’s route have come to expect nothing less than the best service from him. Division Manager Greg Martin said people rarely call to ask about Buddy, because even if he’s running late or having an issue with his truck, they know he will find a way to show up and get the job done.

His dedication to his job and the customers along his route has paid off. Buddy has received Waste Pro’s $10,000 Safety Award, which is awarded to drivers who remain accident-free for three years, three times since he joined the company.

“I’ve had close calls, don’t get me wrong,” Buddy said. “But the key is to keep your eyes moving and watch the traffic. Everybody’s in a hurry to get nowhere.”

Driving a garbage truck is considered one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, but being behind the wheel is not the only risk. Buddy has had to work with police to dig through trash that had stolen money in it and has even found homeless people sleeping in the dumpsters he had on his lift – he only realized they were there when he heard them yelling as he raised the dumpster.

But for Buddy, the pros outweigh the cons. He enjoys getting to meet new people while he’s on his routes, and he admires the leadership of Waste Pro. The first time he met Waste Pro’s Founder and CEO John Jennings was the first time he ever met the CEO of a company he worked for, and they shared a mutual respect from the beginning.

“I had a brand-new truck sitting there, and it was an Autocar. It was a couple months old. John Jennings asked me how I liked it, and I said ‘Well, it’s not a Mack but it’s the first new truck I’ve ever had since I’ve been in the industry,’ and I was thankful for that. He looked at me and said, ‘I’ll have you a brand new Mack in two weeks.’ The man lived up to his word.”

Buddy is adamant about keeping his truck clean and representing the company well as he services his routes. He thrives on providing his customers the service they expect, even though the job has gotten harder as he’s gotten older.

“It takes a toll on your knees, getting in and out of the truck,” Buddy said. “But I’m 59 and I still get around pretty good. I enjoy coming to work, I enjoy what I do, I enjoy the people that I service.”

Buddy is married and a proud father and grandfather. Family is the most important thing in life, he said, and he’s happiest when he can go this grandchildren’s ball games or take them fishing or hunting. He and his wife also like to take a break together by spending weekends in Freeport, FL, where they camp by the river.

About Waste Pro USA

Waste Pro USA, Inc. is one of the country’s fastest growing privately-owned waste collection, recycling, processing and disposal companies, operating in nine southeastern states. Waste Pro, with revenues exceeding $700 million, serves more than two million residential and 40,000 commercial customers from over 75 operating locations. Waste Pro is headquartered in Longwood, Florida, and maintains more than 270 exclusive municipal contracts and franchises.