For more than 20 years of service in Potsdam, N.Y., Casella employee John Michaud has worn many hats. His career as a driver has included servicing residential routes, training new hires, and hauling materials as a tractor-trailer driver, but one thing that you will not find on his record is a safety incident.
As a seasoned industry professional, his ability to put safety first has earned him the highest recognition for workplace safety after being accident-free since his initial hire in 2001.
“Everyone at Casella works together as a team to get the job done, serve our customers, and make sure that everyone gets home safe,” explained Michaud. “You really have to pay attention when you’re on the road. Things can go wrong fast, and as drivers, it is our duty to stay alert and be able to think ahead.”
Michaud attributes his spotless record to years of proper training and his ability to continuously gain industry knowledge through on-the-job experiences.
In addition to his driving responsibilities, he also serves as his division’s lead tractor-trailer trainer, working with new hires and drivers of all skill levels to emphasize the importance of safe driving practices. Before taking on their own driving routes, division employees must complete a mandatory three-week ride-along training with Michaud where they are taught best practices and safety tips from one of their own.
“John has worked in our residential and rear-load line of business for twenty years,” said Division General Manager Skip Bisnett. “He has been an important part of our success. His attention to detail and extensive training assists many in being alert and safe employees.”
Michaud was recently commended for his dedication with a custom Casella leather jacket, hat, and check to celebrate his accomplishments. When asked what advice he would give to colleagues or new drivers to inspire them to follow a similar path, his words were modest.
“Safety first,” he said. “If you never have that first accident, you never have to worry about the next one.”