Marklus Henley learned a thing or two about safety, logistics and teamwork in nearly two decades serving in the U.S. Air Force. He puts those skills to work each day in Auburn, arriving before dawn to make certain your garbage and recycling get picked up.
In the Air Force, the success of each mission he supported depended on his team. The pilots and the planes are the visible stars of the Air Force, but people like Marklus, who handled the logistics behind getting planes airborne and safely back home, are the backbone of its success. His team, whether serving in Turkey or the United States, made sure planes got the right type of fuel, the right amount, that it was tested, stored correctly and moved about the base safely.
Marklus brings the same unwavering commitment to safety and teamwork from his military service to his job as a route manager for Waste Management in Auburn.
“From the military, I know a commitment to safety can save lives,” said Marklus. “That is why I’m so glad safety is a core value at Waste Management.”
Marklus starts each day with a series of team meetings, focusing on solving challenges and reviewing plans and safety procedures. His job is to help his team of drivers perform their jobs safely and efficiently as they go out into the community.
Every day presents new challenges and problems to solve, and Marklus’ team members are always at the top of his mind.
“A large part of the job is relaying to drivers that you care about them,” Marklus said. “I really do care about each person I manage, and I know the company does as well.”
After his years of support to the pilots who flew missions overseas this level of care for the safety of his drivers and their community comes naturally.
In 2013, he had to make a difficult decision. While his younger sister was battling cancer, Marklus chose to leave the Air Force and return home. He needed to support his sister, but also knew he wanted to support his family in civilian life. The opportunity at WM seemed like a natural fit.
“The jobs seemed similar, given both involved managing drivers who were traveling from location to location,” said Marklus. “What impressed me was how much the company cares about their people and is committed to making the community safe and clean.”
“In the military, it was all about the people,” Marklus said. “Waste Management is the exact same way.”
Marc Davis directs WM’s operations serving South Puget Sound communities from our facility in Auburn. Marc says Marklus’ military background is an asset for WM and the community he serves.
“Marklus is all about getting the job done safely and making sure the customer gets great service.” Davis continues, “He knows it takes a team to get the job done. As we celebrate Veterans Day, lets also remember the value veterans add to our community and our businesses. And let’s make sure to say a grateful ‘thank you’ to all who served our country.”
Michelle Metzler is Waste Management’s recycling education and outreach manager. Learn more at sustainability.wm.com.