Waste Management driver loves her work, behind the wheel and in her community | Guest Column

Lindsey Leitch is an early riser. She has to be. Her family and her community depend on her.

Leitch begins her day at 4:30 a.m., waking in time to pack lunches for the family and kiss her 3- and 5-year-old sons goodbye before she heads out the door. Like clockwork, she is on time for her team huddle and safety inspection. Then she’s ready to step up into her office, buckle her seatbelt and get to work.

She is a Waste Management driver.

Leitch is one of five women drivers on the Waste Management team that serves the Puget Sound. Although women make up only 11.4 percent of the workforce in the trucking transportation field, they’re a growing presence in Waste Management’s operations. Women like Leitch are part of Waste Management’s ongoing commitment to increasing diversity in all its forms, across all our teams.

The community shows its support for our diversified and inclusive workforce in ways that are visible and genuine. At first, it was common for Leitch’s customers to do a double take when they realized a woman was behind the wheel of the shiny green truck. Now, she is greeted with big smiles and “thumbs up.”

And that’s just for starters. Once, she received a standing ovation from a group of construction workers as she finished collecting yard waste in the neighborhood. It’s a moment that still makes her grin from ear to ear.

Another time, a woman recently retired from the construction industry approached Leitch, so excited to see “a lady garbage truck driver” that she insisted on giving her a hug.

To the little girls who dream of being recycling truck drivers, Leitch says, “Just go for it!”

“Don’t let the fact that it used to be ‘a man’s job’ slow you down,” she said. “This is a great job for any woman who wants to work outside – right in her own community – and still be part of a professional team with training and career development. If I can do it, you can, too.”

One of the more heartwarming moments that Leitch carries with her is a quick chat she had with another mom along her route. When the woman approached, Leitch expected a question about recycling or maybe conversation about the weather, but the customer had something much more important in mind: she wanted to let Leitch know that she was her daughter’s hero!

And to Waste Management, Leitch is exactly that. She’s a hero, a role model, and one of the best drivers on the team. We are proud of our commitment to being an inclusive employer, and we celebrate the strength of the women who drive our trucks.

Thumbs up, Leitch. Thumbs way up.

Michelle Metzler is Waste Management’s team leader for public education and outreach.

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