Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

February 13, 2013

Joe McKinnon serves the city and citizens

VALDOSTA — From the route to the yard, Joe McKinnon says he wants to excel at each of the tasks assigned to him at the recycling division of the city's public works department so that he can get more done.

McKinnon is part of an operation that processes approximately 40,000 tons of recyclable material each year, according to deputy city manager John L. Whitehead III. His main job is recycling and he, along with Tony Adams, lead a crew that is supported by three trucks and a yard full of equipment.

“We make sure everything out on the road is taken care of and that there is no litter blowing around or recycling bins out of place,” says McKinnon. “We work special pickups into our routes. And we'll also help out other crews if they need help tackling things like highway cleanup.”

The routes vary from day to day, but they all start at 7 a.m. says McKinnon. His team usually doesn’t finish routes until 3 p.m. on Mondays until, 2 p.m. on Tuesday, and 10 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursdays.

“Mondays and Tuesday, those are our heavy days right there,” says McKinnon. “We have from 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. to get it all done on Mondays and Tuesday. On Mondays, we have the eastern and central areas of the town — those are big routes. Often times it comes down to the nitty gritty and we wrap it up the routes around 3 p.m. – that's how hard we run. We're out there huffing and puffing, but we still get it done.”

Commingled recycling bins and un-compacted boxes can slow the route down, but his team soldiers on, he says. He’s seen everything from lumber and pallets to bed frames and furnishings mixed with recyclable materials, he says.

“If boxes aren't broken down and there is trash in the recycle bin, we have to take care of that and it takes us longer to finish the routes. Sometimes we have to take out plastic and styrofoam, and then break down the boxes before collecting them.”

The brevity of routes in the second half of the work week affords time for McKinnon’s team to tackle requests for special pickups, says the crew leader.

“After we finish our routes in the latter half of the week, we do special pickups,” says McKinnon. “Those routes usually consist of picking up glass and boxes from businesses, but Fridays are usually a bit slack. We do what we have to do and then we go home.”

McKinnon says he looks for every opportunity to expand his part in the facility's production, whether he’s working to complete his team's routes more efficiently or expanding his capabilities back at the yard. For example, he’d never used the facility’s leaf machine until the he needed the skill.

“When there's only leaves, no straw or pine cones, we can use the leaf machine to suck up leaves really quickly,” says McKinnon. “The leaves are taken back to the yard on a tow truck and they’re picked up after they turn to mulch. But I had no previous experience with a machine like. I had to learn how to use it on the job.”

McKinnon says his education doesn’t stop when his crews has cleaned the yard of debris and Whitehead has discharged them from duties. He says he’s earning his CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) at Wiregrass Technical College.

“After I get my CDL, I can drive anything on the yard,” says McKinnon. “So whenever John needs something, there'll be nothing holding me back from doing it and I can do a better job overall.”

His aspirations to drive commercial vehicles may have been influenced in part by his uncle, who has been tackling long-hauls for about seven years. McKinnon, however, has little interest in extended time on the road and he has good reason.

“My uncle will call me every now in then to let me know where he's at,” says McKinnon. “He's called me from Mexico and Las Vegas for example, but that life is not for me. I have to be near my kids.”

McKinnon loves to travel and would like to spend more weekends vacationing in Florida with his family, but he says he’s content as long as he stays on his life’s route.

“As long as I'm doing what I'm supposed to do, I want to improve on whatever that may be,” says McKinnon. “I like to master one thing, so that I can devout my time to something else. I just want to be good at what I do and take care of my kids as best as I can.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • DSC_2381.jpeg Award-winning young professionals share success secrets

    The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber’s MetroOne Young Professionals hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday at the Hilton Garden Inn to highlight successful business practices.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140726_summerlibrary002.jpg Library celebrates end of summer reading program

    With the first day of school just around the corner, students are soaking in the last few weeks of summer vacation. The end of summer also means the end of the South Georgia Regional Library’s 2014 summer reading program.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • artseason1 copy.jpg A sneak peek at some area arts organizations’ 2014-15 seasons

    Beethoven. Tennessee Williams. Non-stop art. Two versions of “The Wizard of Oz.” The 2014-15 arts season is coming.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • sabalmap.jpg Sabal Trail explains its position

    Representatives from Sabal Trail Transmission recently sat down with The Times to provide an update on the ongoing pipeline and potential economic development opportunities associated with the project.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514-MoodyComp007.jpg Moody AFB crews race in load competition

    Moody Air Force Base hosted a weapons load competition Friday morning, a maintenance group tradition in which two 23d Maintenance Group A-10 munition load crews raced against the clock to load munitions onto an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • moonshine bust.jpg Police close illegal drinking house

    After receiving numerous complaints, the Valdosta Police Department shut down an illegal alcohol sales operation Friday.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • election.jpg Black earns most votes in runoff

    State Rep. Ellis Black led the votes for state Senate District 8 Friday with seven of seven counties reporting certified results, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140724-LAT1.jpg Little Actors Theatre ready for summer show

    Since 2004, the Little Actors Theatre has provided a place for children ages 6 to 19 to express themselves through acting.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072414-MichelleNunn003.jpeg Michelle Nunn visits Valdosta

    The day after learning that her Republican challenger would be David Perdue, Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn kicked off her Common Sense and Collaboration Tour Wednesday by meeting with business owners in Atlanta, Athens and Macon and continued her tour Thursday morning by visiting the David S. Waller Unit facility of the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • lunch.jpg Valdosta One Lunch feeds summer-hungry kids

    Hunger is a concept that many people associate with third-world countries, not their hometown. However, in Valdosta, hunger is real. To combat this hunger, a group of Valdostans have created Valdosta One Lunch, a program that distributes bagged meals to children in need.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results