December of 1970 was a time of economic uncertainty, one which consisted of high interest rates and low optimism, a sense of unmeasured detachment spanning America. It was a time when little advancement in the economic sector was being made, few braving the rough waters of a difficult time to begin any business for fear that the economic situation may worsen.
Yet, under these very circumstances, Lonnie Poole, Jr. had a vision of what could be, of something far greater than anything that was currently available in his home town of Raleigh, North Carolina or anywhere else across America. Lonnie Poole Jr. pitched his plan to J. Gregory Poole, who, inspired by the ideas and drive of Mr. L. Poole, quickly became the company’s first outside investor. Shortly thereafter, the two hired their very first employee; a young man fresh out of the Air Force, one Mr. Jim Perry.
With their first employee onboard and an investor behind the project, a new waste hauling company by the name of Waste Industries was born.
As was expected of any business founded in the turmoil of the 70s, the early years were filled with setbacks and struggles. Despite a long string of difficult challenges, the company established an unparalleled track record for superior performance and service in what was a very demanding business.
Constructing sanitary landfills and opening collection operations in towns and counties in Eastern North Carolina, Waste Industries had built its foothold. Through outstanding commitment to service, economically viable service options, and an unmatched attention to environmental sustainability, the company saw the rapid formation of countless business relationships in the early years of its existence that are still thriving today.
By the mid-80s, Waste Industries had reached revenues exceeding 10 million dollars. To match these awe-inspiring and motivational numbers, the company had created a culture that not only sustained its growth, but pushed it forward with pride and ferocity that was fed by the knowledge that they were achieving success based on truly remarkable service. But the culture was more than just drive; it was built from the beliefs, hopes, and aspirations of the company’s people, its principles, its practices and its constantly growing performance.
By the end of the 90s, Waste Industries had reached a milestone of 100 million dollars in revenue and had taken that coveted step into the world of publicly traded companies. The Waste Industries stock was traded on the NASDAQ under the ticker WWIN, and for 11 years it remained as such until circumstances guided it back to private ownership. In 2008, Waste Industries, with the support of two prominent investment firms, Macquarie and Goldman Sachs, completed a take-private transaction. And once again, Waste Industries was called home to its roots, brought back to a style of business that had inspired success for years of development.
Throughout the company’s history, our fundamental goal has always been to make a positive difference in the communities we impact, to enrich the lives of our employees, and to forge meaningful relationships with our vendors and suppliers. By living up to these ideals, we will continue to find more customers to serve, furthering the successful growth of our company and adding to a remarkable story that grew from humble beginnings over four decades ago.
Whether you are a new customer, a fellow employee, a supplier, or a friend, it is because of you that we are here today, continuing to push ourselves to provide a service that is more than just the collection of solid waste, more than just simple recycling, more than just customer service. Because of you, we are trying to change the world of waste to build a better world and a better future for the generations that follow us.