Known for lending a helping hand, Potsdam, New York’s Ryan James displays his burning passion for teamwork through his orchestration of smooth operations in his role as a roll-off dispatcher. Outside of work, his dedication remains unwavering, serving the larger community as a volunteer firefighter.
For seven years I did line clearance tree work all over the northeast. For most of the time, the closest I was to home was three or four hours away. I wanted to be home. Now, I’ve been with Casella since March 2022. I started as a front-load driver for almost a year, and then a position opened up as a roll-off dispatcher. Because of my experience in a truck and my computer knowledge, we thought I would be a good fit for the position.
My biggest challenge in the office is communicating with drivers and getting them to understand what needs to be done but doing it in a way where they respect me as a person instead of just giving orders. I want to be someone they can trust and come to when they have a problem. My newest challenge has been obtaining my Class A CDL through the Casella CDL Training School so that way I have more options, more lines of business I can learn, and more things that I can learn in the waste industry.
My favorite part of my day is just getting the job done and getting back to the office and having a conversation with those people to see you their day went, being a good coworker. I like asking if anyone needs help and checking on the other drivers. Ever since I got to Potsdam, I have emphasized teamwork to get as much accomplished as possible. If we all help, we all get done at the same time, and we all go home at the same time, it’s a better day.
Be open and trust that the senior drivers and people who have been there, know what they are talking about, and how to do it the right way. You’re going to develop your own way of doing things which is okay. But if others have discovered a better way to run the truck, just give it a try to run it the same as them. You might find a new “best way.”
My proudest accomplishment is probably my 13 years of service in the volunteer fire department. I’ve belonged to the same fire department since I was 18 and I have continued to be active in that department. I do anything from being a lieutenant who does truck inspections to helping the community with EMS and fire, and I have not missed a meeting in the last two and a half years. I also belong to another non-profit organization that does all kinds of charity work. We are always going on motorcycle runs on the weekends to raise money for cancer, sick children and families, toys for tots, food drives, and more. I probably average around 80 hours of volunteer service a month.
My great-grandfather was one of the original firemen in the township I live in, and then my grandfather is still a commissioner at 80 years old. They both inspire me. I have so much pride in our small town and need to make sure that our community is taken care of. It also means a lot that volunteering is so embedded in our Casella culture. In our division alone, there are probably 15 or 20 firemen who have various positions that are volunteering outside of work and doing the most for their local communities on top of their day jobs.
Want to join our team? Explore our various career path options and apply today at casella.com/careers.
Casella Waste Systems, Inc., headquartered in Rutland, Vermont, is one of the largest recyclers and most experienced fully integrated resource management companies in the Eastern United States. Founded in 1975 as a single truck collection service, Casella has grown its operations to provide solid waste collection and disposal, transfer, recycling, and organics services to more than one million residential, commercial, municipal, institutional, and industrial customers and provides professional resource management services to over 10,000 customer locations in more than 40 states.