By Heather Teter / Special to The Tally Wire | Photo courtesy of the City of Tallahassee
The City of Tallahassee is a critical partner to our local business community. Day-to-day, business owners and managers rely on the City to help them keep their doors open. Whether it’s delivering electric utility service, approving a building permit, providing road and sidewalk access, or helping dispose of solid waste, the City provides local businesses with essential services to help them deal with these unprecedented times.
Paul Hudson, a 25-year employee with the City, knows every business within our community. As a driver with the Community Beautification and Waste Management department, he is responsible for helping nearly 20,000 commercial utility customers with solid waste and recycling pickup.
Mr. Hudson began his career with the City fresh out of high school. As a new employee, he was responsible for transporting garbage and recycling containers from the sides of customers’ homes to the road where they could be easily accessed by the garbage truck. Apart from those customers who subscribe to the Helping Hands program due to physical limitations, utility customers are now required to do this on their own.
As the solid waste industry changed and thus the City’s procedures, Mr. Hudson continued adapting and learning, helping to fill whatever need existed within the department. He earned his Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and soon began driving heavy-duty collection trucks. “It’s safe to say that I can drive every type of vehicle we have within the City’s Community Beautification and Waste Management Department,” he said. “If we have it, chances are I’ve driven it.”
As a commercial collection driver, Paul’s primary mode of transportation these days is a roll-off truck. Also known as a dumpster truck, this rectangular vehicle uses hydraulics to literally roll the commercial-sized, open-top dumpster on and off. These trucks can carry up to 15 tons of debris. Most days, Paul begins his commercial collection route from behind the wheel of his roll-off truck at 4 a.m. The early morning hours allow him to move the gargantuan dumpsters more safely without the added distraction of increased traffic while also limiting any potential impacts to the businesses he is serving. After six or more hours of driving through our community performing his essential duty for our community’s businesses, he heads back to the Solid Waste Management facility on Municipal Way to call it a day.
Paul is one of the nearly 4,000 faces that make up the City’s dedicated workforce. These men and women work 24/7 to keep our community moving forward and flourishing. To learn more about commercial solid waste pickup, including how to request a commercial roll-off dumpster, please visit the City of Tallahassee’s website, here.