LeMay Enterprises Site Manager Paul Dionne came to work on the Harbor “three years ago almost to the day.” He jokes he “jumped ship from the evil empire” working for Allied Waste in Kent “to the good empire” at LeMay, owned by Waste Connections, the third largest garbage company in the nation. Dionne was raised in Idaho and attended North Idaho College. He earned two bachelor’s degrees, one in early childhood education and one in early childhood development from Central Washington University Annex in Des Moines, graduating the second time in 2006. He worked a series of “stinky” and substitute teaching jobs before landing a job in customer service at Allied, where he rose through the ranks rapidly. “They had a niche for me and I kind of filled it.” Dionne lives with his wife Tina and their baby son, Orion, named for the constellation, in McCleary.
Garbage rates are going up countywide. How and why?
Garbage rates continue to climb for two basic reasons in this county. The first is because simple cost-of-living type expenses increase every year (from oil, to fuel, to wages, etc). The second is that new stormwater, and other regulations, require older sites to change with the times. This causes companies to expend a tremendous amount of capital to upgrade current sites, or move to different sites altogether. This is a large factor especially in this state, Oregon and California.
Aberdeen clients have been asked to make sure their garbage cans do not overflow or they are charged more. What has been the response?
Our phones have been almost entirely silent on this issue. I cannot speak for the City of Aberdeen. What we have seen on the streets, however, is a shift in street appearance. More cans are completely shut than before this change took place. The initial hit is tough but as time goes on it will be a part of the culture and the end result will be one of aesthetic improvement to the city.
LeMay Enterprises has been mandated to install anti-pollution and water treatment systems. How is that going?
The system we finished installing in November of 2012 has performed even better than expectations. It is a temporary system, made to only last a couple of years while the county and LeMay decide what the long term strategy is for the site, but we are happy with its performance. The costs of running this system as well as those needed to stay in compliance with all the other myriad of newer requirements are increasing year (after) year as well, but we are committed to being a steward of our environment as a company.
You want to present programs in the schools about garbage and recycling. When will those be ready and what will they look like?
I can, and have delivered informational presentations in the Cosmopolis and Aberdeen school districts to date. These have largely been just Q&A sessions. I am hoping to use my background in Early Childhood Education to develop supplemental curricula that both support the Essential Academic Learning Requirements for the state at various grade levels, as well as provide environmental knowledge that is meaningful. This is on my 2014 agenda to work on provided the opportunity.
How can residents and businesses reduce the amount of garbage they produce and toss?
Recycling is a deliberate process. It’s also an economical one. The more you recycle the smaller garbage container you need and therefore you will see a cost savings as you change your lifestyle. Decision making on product purchases also helps. When looking at a price tag know that the disposal on the packaging is an added expense. Selection of products with recyclable or smaller packaging helps reduce your refuse. Composting units are becoming more affordable as more people buy them. This allows you to get the food waste into small gardens that enriches the soil and also reduces your refuse costs. Making use of the household hazardous waste service provided by the county at the transfer station allows you to often turn in certain items free of charge. Our E-Cycle program is free to the customer to get rid of TV’s and computers. All of these things can reduce the amount going in to the garbage, but it takes a change in habit.
As a former educator who likes to learn, what books are you reading and who would you invite as guests at a salon or dinner party?
A. I read and re-read the “Wheel of Time” series by Robert Jordan (sci-fi fantasy buff), though I like Stephen R. Donaldson, and J.R.R. Tolkien among others in the genre.
B. I would love to invite Emeril Lagasse over for dinner as I have gotten very lazy since our first son was born seven months ago and have not had the will to give my wife a primo meal as she deserves. The guest would have to do the cooking and their staff can do the cleaning, please!