In 2009, Debbie Brazo left her job in the fast food industry and took a chance on a new opportunity at Casella, hauling trash in Ithaca, NY.
Now, 12 years later, she serves as a driver on those same routes, picking up recycling for local customers after acquiring her Commercial Driver's License (CDL).
“I had to show the guys up," joked Brazo, referring to her three brothers and father, who have also worked at Casella.
A typical day for Brazo begins between 3 am and 5 am, and, depending on her scheduled route, she collects up to 8.5 tons of recycling a day.
“It gets heavy some days, but it's good," she said. “As long as the weather is good, your mood is good."
As for the customers, Brazo says they are her favorite part of the job.
“I have a lot of friends out there that are customers. They leave me snacks or just come out and say hi. They look forward to seeing you, and that's the biggest part,” explained Brazo, who, along with her local team, was recently praised in a letter to Casella from a Tompkins County, NY resident for providing outstanding service to the local area. “It makes me feel good knowing that we’re doing something that means a lot to other people.”
Her advice for others, especially women, looking to begin a similar career path is to just go for it. Casella offers a variety of leadership and training programs to support employees who wish to grow and advance within their lines of business, as well as provides debt-free career path options.
“I was 42 when I got my CDL license,” shared Brazo, adding that her daughter-in-law was one of the newest Casella CDL Training Program graduates and passed her CDL-B license exam. “If it's something you want to do, make a career out of it. As long as you got the drive for it, go for it.”