Meet Beverly Fecteau, who, as a longtime recycling and yard waste hauler, has some big (and little) fans. Last year, she was named Driver of the Year by her Waste Management colleagues.
What do you do? I work in Federal Way as a driver for Waste Management. I’ve been in the industry for 19 years total, and with Waste Management for three years. My job is to drive the recycling and yard waste trucks that keep our communities clean and healthy.
How did you get started in that job? I was 25 and had three babies I was raising alone. I owned a day care in Cle Elum, which was wonderful and paid the bills, but I needed a job that would provide health insurance for my family. My dad had started doing garbage a year prior. He said, “Why don’t you come work with me?” I didn’t think I could, but he kept asking why not? And as I ran out of excuses, I applied.
When I first started, new drivers without routes sat on a “bench” to be called when they needed an extra driver. Luckily, I got picked. Being a woman and new to the job, nobody believed I could do it. They sent five guys to help me with my route, and wouldn’t you know, by then I was already on my last street! Now, 19 years later, I’m still doing it!
What’s a typical day like? My typical day starts at 4 a.m. I have a little hobby farm, so I start by feeding my cows. Then, off to Federal Way I go. We have a safety meeting every single day, which is a good chance to refresh our minds and speak up if you have ideas or concerns. We spend a lot of time with our customers and it’s the highlight of our days. We have kids waving to us (they love our shiny, green Waste Management trucks!) as well as other customers we love to see every week. We love catching up with them to learn what’s happening in their lives and how they’re doing.
What surprises people about what you do? People are always surprised I’m a woman working as a Waste Management driver. They don’t know that more and more women are doing this job, and the women I meet get excited. I’ve had women ask me about employment as well as young girls telling me they want to be a garbage lady someday too!
What’s the best part of the job? The very best part of the job is the people. The people I work with at Waste Management, their friendship couldn’t be bought. Of course, I also love the interaction with the public and the pride of doing the best job I can every day knowing I left the city of Federal Way better than when I arrived. It’s a very rewarding career, and never gets boring.