Q: What is your role here at Berg? What are your typical responsibilities?
A: They call me a supervisor, but I usually just say I’m a foreman. A lot of what I do is just teaching the guys how landfills work. Lots of these guys have never really worked with landfill liners. Most of them come from a general construction background. Landfill work is a whole lot different than working on buildings, highways, or parking lots.
As far as my responsibilities go, I need to make sure the guys laying down the liner are doing everything right, along with keeping the inspectors happy and keeping everybody on my crew busy.
Q: When did you start working for Berg, and what were you up to in your career before that?
A: I started here in 2017. Before that, I worked as a foreman at another landfill here in Pennsylvania for 18 straight years. That’s why Berg wanted me is because I have so much landfill experience. I’ve also done blacktop work, turnpike work, state work, building work — I’ve done it all.
Q: What do you enjoy about your job?
A: I have a very good crew and I enjoy working with them. That just makes my days run so smoothly. Right now, I’m looking at my team putting a liner on the landfill and everybody’s got a smile on their face. They’re enjoying themselves. Honestly, I love what I do. I love working with these guys.
Q: Compared to other companies you’ve worked for, what makes Berg special?
A: It starts with the leadership. My previous employer started off as a family-type business, but then the company got too big and there wasn’t a family feel anymore. It stopped being fun. With Berg, our leadership team won’t let that happen. Ever since I started here, I’ve enjoyed coming to work again. They pretty much let me do whatever I need to do to teach the guys.
Q: Is there any particular aspect of your job that you’re especially proud of?
A: Watching the guys put down liner. We’re working on three-to-one slopes here. You’re always on a slope, so when it rains, it totally destroys your job. The guys work so hard to get to this point, and watching them be able to put two layers of liner down on the same day makes me very proud.
Q: Do you have any ideas about how our industry could recruit more young talent?
A: It’s very hard to do. I’ve gotten lucky here. I have three young guys working with me right now and they’re all great workers. They were easy to train and they love their work. I would tell young people that you can get paid a lot of money to do the work nobody wants to do.
I feel like if they knew how much money they could make in this industry, they might be more interested. Also, it’s important that when we do hire young people, we need to take care of them and keep them happy. Too many companies don’t do that.
Q: Is there anyone in your life that you see as a mentor?
A: Yeah, actually, I would say my old boss John. When I first started in this industry, I was a young kid. I have a lot of respect for that man because I feel like he taught me a lot, and he let me grow into who I wanted to be. He would yell at me every day, but he also made sure to point out when I did a good job. That made a big difference for me.
John actually fired me six times in my first year. Seriously! [laughs] Every time he fired me, I would go into the office and start putting my tools away, and he would ask me, “What are you doing? How do I get you to stay?” He was a different breed. He yelled a lot, but he was so proud of us whenever we finished a job.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: I was married, but my wife passed away a few years ago. These days, I like to take my family to car shows. I have a Corvette, and my four-year-old granddaughter likes to tell people that it’s her car. That’s a lot of fun. My grandkids really keep me going.