2024-03-13 14:54News

Sparking Inspiration: Mechanic Chelsea Cucci

Chelsea Cucci

Inspiring women to reach outside their comfort zone, Latham, NY’s Chelsea Cucci is a testament to the transformative power of hard work and determination. As a container repair mechanic, she’s not just breaking stereotypes, she is welding them shut with every metal bead.

What inspired you to join the waste and recycling industry? 

I went to college for fashion. I’ve always been a girly girl. As I got older, I discovered it didn’t matter as much. My boyfriend just suggested to me one day, why don’t you try welding? There’s a trade school 20 minutes from me, so I did a year of school, working at the same time Monday through Friday every night. It took me about a year to find a welding job that I felt was appropriate for my skill level, but I found Casella, and the rest is basically history. I can’t believe it has already been a year. It has gone by so fast. It changed my life completely.

How was the transition into your current role?

What helped me at first was the two guys who hired me, Rick and Matt. Giving me the opportunity to show them what I can do, I thought was so amazing of them. At first, it was the people, and it still is, but as I have worked here longer and learned more, it’s the smaller stuff like our employee lunches we have at least once a month and the new gear and equipment we are given. When everyone has a good attitude, it’s so much easier to be successful – finding that here changed my outlook on everything.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I feel like I got really lucky because I get to weld every single day. I think that would be my favorite part. I am artistic, so just seeing a nice, welded bead is very satisfying to me. Besides welding, being able to see something from start to finish that I did is probably my favorite part.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

I went to school for welding, but growing up, I was not mechanically inclined. I didn’t know how to read a tape measure or which screws to use in a particular place. That was probably my biggest challenge, just learning the specific tools I needed, how they worked, or when they were appropriate.

What does the power of hard work mean to you?

Before I started this, I was like, why would I want to do that? I don’t want to get dirty. But I would’ve never known unless I just did it. Once I got a taste of what it’s like working with my hands, I didn’t know if I ever wanted to go back to an office setting. There are some days when it is hard, I’ll be honest. But in my eyes, a successful day is if I can look back and check something off my list or feel like my time during the day was well spent. I am up against myself, so whatever I did yesterday, I want to improve the day after. 

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

Becoming a welder. Just for me, it was way out of nowhere. I never thought I would see myself in this environment, and I am not sure anyone else would expect this for me either. But I am proud of the fact that I followed through and found my career. I am proud that I went through the process. I did the hard thing, and I went to school, and I worked at the same time. It wasn’t easy. I am just proud of myself for putting up the fight.

Have you had any mentors at the beginning of your career?

There’s this one guy, John, who has been at my division for years and knows everything. You can count on him for literally anything. And everyone continues to be so helpful. I think they see that I care and enjoy doing what I do, so they give me that back.

Do you have any advice for women entering this industry?

Just do it. This was my first welding job, and I already don’t want to leave. You’re choosing this career, so you must be strong. At the end of the day, you’re working hard and doing something out of your comfort zone. You’re never going to know if you don’t try. 

What does the future hold for you?

I am learning that there are so many opportunities within Casella. For me, I really want to hone in on this and get good at what I do now enough to train others. Honestly, I see myself hopefully getting a lot better with compactors and being able to go out on service calls by myself. It is very cool to be learning all this stuff I had no idea existed.


Want to join our team? Explore our various career path options and apply today at casella.com/careers

About Casella Waste Systems, Inc.

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.


Jeff Weld
Vice President of Communications
Jeff Weld