Undercover Boss

Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at 12:00PM

Undercover Boss

It’s that time of year again, with the holidays behind us and the new year starting, many of us can get caught up in the moment. Safety is a topic that should be preached every month, more so around the end and beginning of the year with more distracted drivers all over our roads. At Florida Express Environmental, we also use this time of year to evaluate many areas of our business with a fine toothcomb and make adjustments to improve the company in general. From the efficiency of the office staff to the residential routes, every part of our business is evaluated.

Getting Down and Dirty

I had the opportunity to do such while auditing one of my residential routes with my operations manager in early December. During a residential audit we look for (but not limited to): making sure everyone is wearing all safety gear (PPE), making sure they are following the route sheet as it is designed, ensuring they are driving safely, making sure the truck VCR is properly filled out, and that there are no personal electronic devices found in the cab. I found a few things that needed correcting on the employee end, but overall I gave a grade of a 95 percent to the crew that day. Their effort was so genuine and pro-company it was heartwarming to see. It was so motivating, I derailed from my original plans and could not help myself but jump back into the position I myself started in this company, a residential thrower on the back of a truck. We promote a family like atmosphere at Florida Express and I will admit, this is the first time I have ever physically got down and dirty with this crew of Pablo and Ausey. The respect I have for them, and the respect they have to see their boss in dress clothes sling 500+ homes alongside them with boots and PPE was contagious. 

Take a Different Vantage Point

As we all get caught up as managers behind a computer screen, or planning for the big picture, we sometimes forget the basics. I must admit for me, it was quite enjoyable for a change of scenery to get out and join in on the pick up of the residential trash instead of the barrage of e-mails. (Even though they were still waiting for me once I was done). It is very important not to forget to take a different vantage point of your company from time-to-time. It would be my recommendation to be in your employees’ faces at the start and close of every day. Review any errors or new challenges for the next day at the end of every shift. A supervisor performing “silent observations” multiple times a week always encourages accountability. A “silent observation” is simply a surprise audit where a supervisor shows up unannounced and in an unmarked vehicle. If you catch employees doing everything correct in a silent observation, you can rest assured thatthey are doing everything in their power to work and be safe. If you arrive silently and find many faults that you wouldn’t when doing a normal audit, you know you have a problem employee that needs correcting or replacing immediately.

My employees learn from me and I learn from them on a daily basis. This foundation and belief creates an environment I am proud of and excited to work with and lead on a daily basis. I have great respect for everyone in our industry. From the helpers to the CEOs, we all have an important part in making the world a cleaner place one stop at a time. And remember: safety first! | WA

John Paglia, III is a 4th generation garbage man. Before he climbed the ranks to become Florida Express Environmental’s General Manager, he had a successful career in college and professional athletics. John has been around the garbage industry since his car seat days. Currently, John is focused on growing his company and offering the highest level of customer service and prolonging the world we live in today. John wakes up every day knowing the impact professional haulers have on their community is far greater than most realize. He can be reached at (352) 629-4349, e-mail or visit


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