A Winning Industry Leader: Russell Reid Responsible Waste Management

“When my father, Morton, purchased the Russell Reid Company in 1981, they were operating 3 septic tank trucks”, says Gary Weiner, Morton’s son and current President of Russell Reid / Mr. John. “My father actually started out in 1964 with a single portable toilet” explains Gary. “The previous owners maintained such a good reputation that the management team at Mr. John, with Morton at the helm, decided to keep the same brand name. Morton’s goal was to continue to provide the professional services that Russell Reid was already known for,” says Gary who, along with his older brother Mitchell, worked summers and holidays at Russell Reid while in college.

Establishing the Russell Reid Brand
In 1986, after graduating from Syracuse University with a degree in finance and marketing, Gary started working at the company full-time. Gary went right to work, literally and figuratively, applying his marketing skills. He began working on the company’s brand, incorporating a logo, promoting the organization’s image, establishing a unique identity, and positioning the company to become one of the leaders in the industry. With the new marketing plan in place, Gary helped institute sound advertising campaigns which helped Russell Reid grow. The company has since expanded their services to include New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and large areas of New York, including the five boroughs of New York City. Gary went on to say that “the licensed transfer station that was originally developed at its Glen Gardner, NJ location was later expanded to its headquarters at the location in Keasbey, New Jersey and all other transfer locations were licensed to provide additional disposal capacity for our customers. They learned well the ins and outs of licensed dumpsites and Gary Weiner and his management staff grew their business with this in mind. “We currently operate out of 5 different locations and our client base is very diverse” says Weiner.

Building on Previous Success
“We built on the Russell Reid practices already in place,” says Gary. “We began a business strategy of grouping the clients into certain categories, in order to streamline the service process and promote efficiency. Our goal was to “continue offering the individualized services that our core base was used to receiving,” explained Gary. Russell Reid continues to provide state-of-the-art services whether for our Commercial, Industrial, Municipal or Residential clients. “We continue to invest in our staff, operations, equipment and locations to ensure the highest level of performance in order to better serve our customers,” continues Weiner, “and that they continue to do so with the help of the latest technologies and a group of committed and well-trained employees.” “Our services have expanded considerably to include wastewater pumping, transportation, and disposal; a first-class septic tank service; our well-known grease trap services; combination jet/vac services; as well as roll-off containers and compactors for the recycling of wastes,” Weiner lets us know, continuing, “over the years, significant financial and technological investments were made in order to become proficient in understanding the waste management business, as well as to create more efficient ways of serving our base as well as cultivating new customers. ”

First-Class Fleet
The fleet of trucks owned and operated by Russell Reid and its sister company Mr. John, which is the portable toilet side of the business, is reminiscent of a true naval fleet; just as a navy owns and operates a variety of different boats: aircraft carriers, battleships, destroyers, cruisers, gun-boats, etc. Russell Reid owns and operates an array of different trucks, tanks, and associated equipment. Mr. Weiner states that: “We have over 125 vehicles on the road daily – ½ the company is Russell Reid –non-hazardous wastewater transportation and disposal, solid waste transportation and disposal, and storm sewer and catch basin cleaning. We deploy vacuum straight trucks, vacuum trailers, combination sewer jet-vac trucks, roll off trucks and high pressure jetting equipment.” “The other ½ of the company – Mr. John, is comprised of an equipment rental fleet including individual portable toilets, water tanks, holding tanks and other related equipment,” maintains Weiner. “The Mr. John rolling stock is comprised of full size delivery trucks, route trucks, water/waste trucks, and WorkMate trucks. The fleet also includes approximately 50 or so restroom trailers” Gary affirms.
“The majority of the 60 or so Russell Reid tank trucks in our liquid waste division are Peterbilt,” Gary Weiner says. “The trucks and trailers have waste capacities of between 3,500 gallons and 7,000 gallons. In addition, the company runs a variety of Peterbilt straight trucks and tractors including the 365, 378, 388 and 386 models. The 7,000 gallon trailers are all aluminum custom-built PolarVac trailers while the 5,000 gallon vacuum straight trucks are equipped with carbon-steel PresVac, Progress, or Amthor Matador vacuum tanks,” Weiner asserts.
Russell Reid’s grease-trap servicing division uses five 367 Peterbilt chassis trucks equipped with PresVac vacuum tanks that range between 3,500 gallons to 5,000 gallons. The company also uses a variety of other smaller configuration machinery for servicing interior grease traps. Many of the units are equipped with vacuum tanks in box trucks and extra-long hose reels. Additionally, the company runs a number of US Jet brand high-pressure sewer jets on an F-550 Ford Chassis. According to Gary Weiner, “the light to medium duty high-pressure jetting specification is: 16 gallons per minute at 1,500 pounds per square inch (psi)—which is ideal for restaurants and food service establishments, which supply the bulk of work in our grease trap division.”
For heavy duty cleaning, debris removal and industrial services the company runs 5 Vac-Con – Sewer/Jet Vac’s. Mounted on Peterbilt model 348 chassis these units are “equipped with a 3,600 CFM PD blower, and 60-80 GPM high pressure water jets. The 11 yard debris body, and front-mounted hose–reel is the company’s standard specification” Gary wants us to know, maintaining “the jet-vacs are definitely capable of handling all kinds of liquid wastes, especially vacuum cleaning of lift stations, ejector pits, storm sewers, catch basins, and others areas where heavy grit, sediment, sludge and additional semi-solid and wet solid material removal is needed.” Finally, “for our portable toilet end of the business we have approximately 60 trucks in operation and they are either Peterbilt 330s or 335s cabs and chassis with either a Progress, LMT, or VSI tank. The tank capacities are 1000 gallon water, 400 gallons of it fresh water, with 300 gallons of it deodorant liquid,” Weiner tells us.
The Mr. John brand also operates a few Hino WorkMate trucks that they use for portable toilet service operations. “These Hino Workmate trucks are just the right size for the job,” says Gary. According to a website selling Hino Workmates, the trucks are equipped with “food grade poly tanks and are individually plumbed to the tank to provide versatility and longevity. Brine, fresh, premix or any combination of fluids can be carried with no corrosion or rusty water.” “They are sturdy enough to handle carrying the portable toilet equipment, delivering equipment and/or portable toilet units, as well as evacuating wastewater and delivering it to the appropriate treatment plant,” Gary adds.

Responsible Liquid Waste Transportation
and Treatment
“Being a larger company, with five different service centers, we are fortunate to have relatively close publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) at any one of our five locations, that help make our operations run smooth,” Gary maintains. “All Russell Reid trucks,” he continues “are licensed and permitted to discharge wastewater at the local POTWs.” Russell Reid’s goal is to safely dispose of both liquid and solid waste in the most responsible manner possible. POTWs “were established and expanded with grants or low-interest loans from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA Zone 2 includes New Jersey and New York, two very densely populated states. In the State of New York there are 58 approved local POTWs which serve over 1,000 licensed contractors in the liquid and solid waste industries, whereas the state of New Jersey monitors 48 legally-designated POTWs across the state. Once dumped at the POTW, a complex filtering system removes “removes harmful organisms and other contaminants from the sewage so it can be discharged safely into the designated receiving stream.”

Mr. John
“As far as our portable toilet division is concerned, my father’s original goal was to own and operate a viable business that created value and good will,” Gary says. “Our portable toilet side of the business is a big chunk of what we do,” he proudly continues saying, “We strive to be an industry leader.” “One of the ways we stay on top as an industry leader,” Weiner proclaims, “is to keep our operations continuously offering the best service, coupled with top-of-the-line rental equipment.” “Most of our hundreds of portable toilet units are primarily PolyJohn or Satellite products” he concludes. “A typical customer could be a huge construction site with dozens of portable toilets, or an outdoor concert that requires hundreds of individual portable toilets, or a lavish wedding where Mr. John can supply luxury portable toilet options,” affirms Gary. One of the most sophisticated of Mr. John’s offerings is their Platinum Restroom Trailer. The majority of the Platinum restroom trailers have separate entrances for both Men and Women. In addition to the porcelain toilets and urinals, the Platinum provides dual vanities, with oak cabinets, mirror and running hot water. All of this pampering is topped off with polished brass handles and paper holders, and marbled countertops. Mr. John’s line of rentals also includes fully functioning showers, either one stall for, say, poolside, up to a “lavish VIP shower trailer.”

Organizational Culture and Core Values
“Our wish is to be the best in the business,” says Gary. This “carries over to the kind and courteous way our staff treats our customers” he says, continuing “we want to be the total solution for any needs that our customers may have, and we want to assure them that investing in our company results in the use of top-of-the-line equipment and a highly trained and knowledgeable staff that is there to cater to their every need.” A statement from their website captures the core essence of Russell Reid’s philosophy: “We will conduct business with the highest moral standards and integrity.” “Our goal,” Gary avows, “is to be the best in the business, which requires the most trained and knowledgeable staff.” “The way I see it,” Gary continues, “is that the length and time we spend training our employees should exceed the potential greater risks involved if they do not do their job right.” “As the technology becomes more complex, the more the employees have to be trained to operate it safely and efficiently. We continue to embark on more and more innovative and state-of-the art technological advancements,” proclaims Weiner. Gary goes on to say that “we try to offer our employees the most rewarding work environment that is more than a simple ‘job,’ but, rather, one that cultivates personal and professional growth, including providing opportunities for professional learning and development.”

The name of the company says it all: Russell Reid Responsible Waste Management. This is truly a company that has all its “ducks lined up” and have in actuality thought of everything that makes a company a veritable leader in their industry—from their high moral and professional standards and work ethic, to using “state-of-the-art” technologies, to brass handles in Mr. John products, to providing a sound mission and vision statement that employees can look to for inspiration, just as new and familiar clients can look to them and know they are being served by one of the best in the liquid waste industry. The key word that runs through all of Russell Reid/Mr. John products, technologies, and services is the word—responsibility! That is a very tall standard to achieve no doubt, but Russell Reid/Mr. John does not shy away from it. Rather, they embrace it! Gary Weiner is proud to say that this year the company is celebrating its 50th anniversary. For more information on Russell Reid Responsible Waste Management, please visit their website at: www.russellreid.com.

Story by Mark Joseph Manion


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