For a trash service garage, Mike Frandsen keeps his shop immaculately clean. Every wrench, part and even screw is accounted for and properly stored. It may be a dirty, trashy world outside in the service yard, but inside his shop at Waste Management, you could almost eat off the floors.
This dedication to efficiency and safety has garnered Frandsen a national award as one of the top shops within Waste Management.
Being the sole mechanic at the repair shop off Airport Road, Frandsen easily maintains Waste Management’s as well as his personal standards for excellence that he developed over more than 30 years experience as a mechanic. Even as a child tooling around, Frandsen said his work area was always neat.
Frandsen said he simply works under the philosophy that a clean shop is a safe and happy shop.
“If you feel good about your work area, then you always want to come to work,” he said. “I could come in here blindfolded and get what I needed.”
Frandsen has only worked at the Payson facility for five years, before that he worked for the county. He made the switch to Waste Management because he said he saw more opportunities, a family-oriented company and better safety.
This is backed up by the fact that the Payson facility has gone more than 4,000 days without a lost time injury.
Frandsen is one of seven staff members who work at the Payson facility. He maintains six trash trucks and seven other support vehicles. He fixes almost everything in-house from the simple oil change to an engine overhaul.
Frandsen earned the top shop award in the small shop collection category for the south.
“Top shop selections are made by evaluating and ranking all business units within the company,” said Eric Woods with Waste Management. “Achieving this prestigious award identifies your shop as a group of employees successfully working as a team with high employee morale. Stringent guidelines in appearance of the shop, fleet and the equipment are a requirement.”
This is the first time an Arizona shop has received the award. Frandsen was honored with a similar, albeit smaller quarterly award three years ago for his work in the Winslow Waste Management shop. OSHA also recognized the Payson shop in the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program for their exemplary safety and health management system.
“When the OSHA inspector was here, he made the comment that (he’d) want to work in this shop if (he) ever went back to work in a shop,” said District Manager Melodi Deaton. “Everyone makes comments about how clean this shop is, so no one was surprised when they found out he won.”
Frandsen was honored with the Top Shop Award at a Feb. 21 celebration at a Phoenix Hilton.
“I don’t know how many shops Waste Management has altogether, maybe several thousand, but there are a lot of real organized shops out there,” Frandsen said.
Frandsen’s shop separates itself from the rest because it is well-organized and he maintains a good relationship with the drivers, Deaton said.
“With his attitude and morale boost (the drivers) take care of the trucks,” Deaton said.
If the trucks are not running due to poor service, everyone is affected, including residents and businesses, Deaton said.
“(Residents) know when their trash is not picked up and they are calling us, but he makes sure the trucks are running,” she said.
Frandsen’s customer service interruption numbers are so low because the trucks never break down.
On the day we visited Waste Management, Frandsen was replacing the lining in a trash truck. Frandsen said he replaces the floors on trucks, on average, every five years, because the constant compacting of the packer running back and forth over the metal wears it thin. He uses 3/16-inch-thick steel to replace the floors, creating a watertight seal so no liquids make it out of the trucks and onto the streets.
“We don’t want any leaks on the highway,” he said. “The trucks are like a big soup can, you can fill the body up with liquid and it won’t leak.”
Creating anti-leak trucks is crucial to Waste Management, because most of the businesses they pick up from dump various liquids into the trash that if spilled on the ground, could create a hazard.
“It gets quite soupy inside those trucks,” Frandsen said of the vehicles, which can each hold a ton of waste.