Waste Management expanding in Atlanta

By Maria Saporta
Friday, February 25, 2011

Waste Management Inc. is increasing its presence in metro Atlanta.

After considering several locations in the Carolinas and Georgia, the Houston-based company (NYSE: WM) selected Cobb County’s One Parkway Center to house its South Atlantic Area’s newly consolidated area office and call center.

The 20,000-square-foot facility is being called the Grand Central Station for Waste Management’s customer service and operations business in the three-state South Atlantic area.

The facility will employ about 64 customer service employees serving both commercial and residential needs at the new location including 32 that are new to the Atlanta area. The operations side of the business employs an additional 23 people who serve the three-state area from metro Atlanta.

But Waste Management’s presence in metro Atlanta extends beyond that office. The company has carved the U.S. market into four regions. The company’s Southern group office — which oversees 12 states extending all the way to Texas — also is located nearby in Cobb County. That regional office has 42 employees at 1000 Parkwood Circle off Powers Ferry Road.

“Our business is a very local business that’s block-by-block,” said Ken Haldin, who heads communications for the Southern Group office. “This Southern Atlantic center is an opportunity to consolidate and get a very strong customer service approach. The location provides a center point, an optimal location for us to be able to focus on customer needs across our region.”

Cheryl Smith, manager of Waste Management’s call center, said the new facility will permit better coordination among the company’s different business areas.

“We were very spread out,” Smith said. “Having everybody under one roof offers us an opportunity to grow our business.”

Waste Management, with 2010 revenues of $12.5 billion, also is undergoing a metamorphosis nationally. The company’s CEO, David Steiner, is transforming the company from just hauling trash to landfills to recycling as much as it can. The company’s slogan — “Think green” — reflects the company’s commitment to shift its investments from landfills to recycling plants and recovery facilities.

One example of the company’s interest in recycling occurred Feb. 23 in Atlanta when Waste Management, Zero Waste Zone and the National Restaurant Association held a joint press conference to announce additional collaborations and partnerships to promote recycling of commercial waste into reusable products.

The Zero Waste Zone sustainability initiative, which celebrated its second year anniversary on that day, included executives from Waste Management, Ted’s Montana Grill, the World of Coca-Cola the Turner Foundation all have signed on to implement zero-waste initiatives.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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