Tallahassee City Services Spotlight: Shawanda Crooms, Community Beautification and Waste Management Driver

By Heather Teter / Special to The Tally Wire

TALLAHASSEE, Fla — Shawanda Crooms grew up believing that she could do anything she set her mind to. As the first and only female operations driver with the City of Tallahassee’s Community Beautification and Waste Management Department, she has lived her life that way, accomplishing one goal after another. 

Ms. Crooms | Photo courtesy of the City of Tallahassee

“It’s scary to be the first…anything,” Shawanda said. “But I’m blessed to be surrounded with good people, supervisors and co-workers who believe in me.”

Operating one of the City’s biggest pieces of machinery, the rear-steer loader, Shawanda goes from neighborhood to neighborhood picking up bulky items per the red week/blue week calendar. Using the claw-grip of her loader, she picks up everything from mattresses and furniture to piles of large tree limbs and shrubbery. 

“One of the things that I love most about my job is the before and after,” Shawanda said. “I love seeing a neighborhood before and after my crew and I have gone through and picked up everything left curbside. There’s often a pretty drastic difference.”

Prior to becoming the first and only female operations driver in her department, Shawanda went through rigorous training provided by the City. Altogether, her training entailed nearly 600 hours of in-classroom and hands-on instruction, earning her a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). 

“Throughout training, Shawanda proved that she could do the job and do the job well,” said Roderic Hightower, Operations Manager for the City’s Community Beautification and Waste Management Department. “We’re always looking for quality employees, and we’ll invest the time and energy in training them so they can find success with the City of Tallahassee.” 

As one of the largest employers in our community, the City of Tallahassee is always looking to fill its vacant positions. Candidates applying for specialized positions will receive training, arming them with the skills needed to perform their essential function. A career with the City is rewarding and offers competitive onboarding packages. If you or someone you know is looking for a career that makes a positive impact on the community, visit Talgov.com and view current job openings. 

“I love working for the City,” Shawanda said. “If I can hope to have a long and successful career here, then so can you.”

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