Aaron Alvarado. Photo Courtesy of Waste Management

Aaron Alvarado. Photo Courtesy of Waste Management

WM Veterans bring safety to our country and community

Aaron Alvarado’s time in the U.S. Marine Corps has transferred to his work at Waste Management.

  • Thursday, November 22, 2018 1:30pm
  • Opinion

By Hannah Scholes

Waste Management

In honor of Veteran’s Day earlier this month, we spoke with area fleet director for Waste Management operations in the Pacific Northwest Aaron Alvarado to find out how his military experience translates to his career outside the military.

Alvarado’s approach to work is straightforward: safety and service. Alvarado learned, and lived, those principles serving with the U.S. Marine Corps. They are the same principles that guide him in his leadership role at Waste Management.

Alvarado manages the 100-plus employees who make the equipment work at Waste Management. Whether it’s trucks, bulldozers, conveyor belts, welding equipment or fork lifts, Alvarado’s job is to make sure Waste Management’s technicians have the training and tools to get the job done safely and efficiently.

His first tour of duty was as a lance corporal in the Marines supporting Operation Desert Storm/Shield in the 1st Marine Division 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Alvarado arrived as the Marines were ramping up a campaign to reduce casualties related to improvised explosive devices (IEDs) — the deadly roadside bombs that were common in the area.

“The solution was straightforward,” he said. “It was all about situational awareness. We all needed to be more dutiful and disciplined about taking the time to inspect our surroundings, so we could anticipate and avert risk.”

Alvarado learned to be watchful 24/7 to protect himself and his fellow Marines. That same constant state of awareness is critical in the recycling and waste industry where heavy equipment is constantly in motion.

“You have to have your head on a swivel at all times,” he said. “I’m impressed how Waste Management embraces safety as a core value.”

Sometimes it’s the operational readiness of a 26-ton garbage truck, other times it’s the labyrinth of conveyor belts in a recycling plant; always, Alvarado makes sure equipment and systems work, and work safely. His attention to detail includes things as small as spotting a stool that could be a trip hazard on the repair shop floor.

From his office in Kirkland, it’s a short drive to Woodinville, home to two of WM’s busiest operations. The Cascade Recycling Center processes more than 144,000 tons of material each year. Woodinville is also home base for 161 collection trucks and WM’s natural gas fueling station. It’s where drivers fuel their trucks and huddle each morning for safety briefings before they go out into the Kirkland community.

“The leadership I provide for WM teams today is very much grounded in my early training in the military,” Alvarado said. “My work then was safety and service for my fellow Marines and for my country. I consider it a privilege now to be part of a team that brings safety and service to the community.”

Hannah Scholes is Waste Management’s recycling education and outreach coordinator. Learn more at sustainability.wm.com.

More in Opinion

Let’s talk about race | Windows and Mirrors

The more we talk about it, the more we can prevent incidents from happening.

Easing out from behind the wheel | Coming of Age…Again

There are ways to make the transition to give up driving less traumatic.

Innocent until proven guilty | Letter

Yes, today’s world is truly frightening. We are now living in a… Continue reading

The sweetness of coming together | Windows and Mirrors

For immigrant women on the Eastside, Turkcha is here to help.

State revenues to reach $50B but new fees or taxes loom

The state has never had so much money to spend on government. Inslee says it is still not enough.

Sleeping in troubled times

While adequate sleep is critical to good health and longevity, sleep deprivation is currently on the rise.

An opportunity for a cleaner future | Letter

An opportunity for a cleaner future Climate change is the No. 1… Continue reading

WM Veterans bring safety to our country and community

Aaron Alvarado’s time in the U.S. Marine Corps has transferred to his work at Waste Management.

Happy holidays from the Reporter

Join us in being thankful and helpful.

Thank you Kirkland voters | Guest editorial

Kirkland City Council thanks the community for approving Prop. 1.

Hot and cold | From Kirkland to Quito

The same temperature can mean different things in another part of the world.

Say NO to I-1000 | Letter

On the afternoon of Nov. 7, I was stopped by a signature… Continue reading