Interview with Storage Account Manager, Andrea Dalessio

The storage industry is somewhat unique and certainly has its own challenges and nuances. National Waste Associates (NWA) is intimately experienced with this. At NWA, we have long recognized the value of a personal touch and the accountability of a single point of contact, which is why we provide all of our storage industry customers with a dedicated and specialized Account Manager. As you will find below, waste management is a service, and the best service is delivered by seasoned professionals.

That Account Manager is Andrea Dalessio, who we recently caught up with for an interview.

Hey Andrea! How long have you been working at NWA?

I’ve been working here for 8 years now. Wow, that’s flown by…

What does your role entail?

I’m basically the “face” of NWA that my storage customers interact with on a daily basis. I provide them with day-to-day support to ensure they never experience any issues with their service. My goal is to make sure that waste management is one aspect of their business that they never have to worry about.

For example, storage companies often have several layers of security at their sites, from locked gates at the entry to the site, to dumpsters being secured with multiple padlocks. I make sure that these additional security features don’t cause any issues with waste collection. I liaise with the site managers and the haulers to make sure they know exactly when they can service the waste containers, and that they have all the necessary codes and keys they need. This is an ongoing process, as sites are often updating their security procedures.

Every customer is unique and so we set up management parameters based on their specific needs and requirements. I “tailor make” each waste and recycling service that we provide for every one of their locations, to ensure that they will work optimally for them.

Reducing our customers’ costs is one of our primary concerns. One of the key methodologies that we use to do this is called “rightsizing”. I consider how much waste each of my customers’ locations should produce, based on factors like their square footage and activity, and then compare this against their current collection frequency. For each location, I make an assessment as to whether we can reduce the service frequency, or the size of their containers to reduce their monthly collection costs. This analysis can save our customers thousands of dollars per year.

Apart from reducing my customers’ costs, I also work to reduce their administrative burden. To do so, some companies prefer that we work through their corporate office, while others prefer that we work through the individual locations.

Regardless of who they would like me to communicate with, I make sure to create a strong partnership with all of my customers, so that they know that I’m always available to take care of whatever it is they need.

How do your cost saving recommendations differ for storage customers compared to other industries?

There are some challenges that storage customers face that others don’t. For example, many sites find that their dumpsters are being used by their customers without their permission. This can result in higher waste bills, overflowing dumpsters, contamination of waste streams, and an inability to recycle effectively. I’ll work with the individual sites to find the best solutions to prevent customer misuse of the dumpsters, whether that’s fitting them with better locks, creating a secure corral for the waste containers, or even moving them into an unused storage facility, hidden away under lock and key.

Another thing that is quite unique to storage businesses is that they often bring on new locations and close off others, especially through acquisitions and divestitures. This requires really attentive account management to swiftly identify the best cost saving opportunities. We have a special process where, in general terms, we review pre-existing vendor contracts at all newly acquired sites to see if they’re delivering value-for-money. When they’re not (which is most the time), I’ll use our vast vendor network to find a long-term, cost effective solution to reduce their waste spend. Then I’ll manage the transition to the new vendor to ensure this happens quickly and smoothly.

We’re just getting to the end of a brutal year dealing with the business fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Can you tell us how you were able to reduce the impact that it had on your customers?

2020 was a trying time for everyone – for both our customers and our service providers.

During the first few weeks when everyone was reeling from lockdowns and closures, we worked tirelessly to assist our customers. Principally this involved reducing and/or cancelling services temporarily for hundreds of the locations we serviced, until they were able to resume either completely or partially depending on their location and what their local government would allow due to COVID-19 guidelines. This saved our customers a lot of money at a really crucial moment, when many companies’ source of income was severely restricted.

It was a huge group effort between all of our departments and we got it done even though we were all working remotely. I think this is a real testament to how at NWA, we make sure that the needs of our customers are always the #1 priority.

What do you particularly like about working for NWA?

I love that our company does so much for so many, and that we have that “personal touch” with our customers, which is something that many of the very large brokers don’t offer.

For everyone that works at NWA, creating a partnership with our customers is so important. We consider ourselves to be a part of their business and we’re always striving to achieve their goals.

I keep using the word “partnership”, but at NWA that is how to best describe the relationships we have with our customers. This is based on our daily practice of treating the customers’ spend like it was our own.

What do you think makes NWA different to other waste management companies?

I think this really comes down to the personal touch that we offer.

Our customers know that they can pick up the phone or send an email and their dedicated Account Manager will respond straight away. They don’t have to work with irritating online portals or faceless call centers. Instead, they can speak directly with their Account Manager to help them with whatever it is that they need.

Making our customers’ waste operations less environmentally impactful is really important to us at NWA.

Firstly, we have to make sure that all of our customers’ sites across the country are working in compliance with any relevant waste and recycling or environmental legislation. This is a complex issue that can vary significantly from state to state, county to county, and even town to town. And that’s why we have a dedicated Compliance Manager who is responsible with staying abreast of all of these legislative ordinances and requirements, and who works directly with our Account Managers so that we can ensure our customers’ complete compliance. Our Compliance Manager also files compliance reports to the municipalities and requests for exemptions, if appropriate, for specific locations on behalf of our customers.

Then we’ll work directly with each location to take their operations beyond mere compliance, customizing solutions to their unique requirements, material streams, and local recycling markets. This means that our customers can be confident that their carbon footprint is being minimized to the best of their ability.

We also create an annual environmental report for all of our customers that breaks down their waste stream and translates the benefits of what they’ve accomplished into environmental impact – how many houses their recycling powered, how many gallons of gas they saved and sometimes, how many jobs they helped create. That’s pretty neat!

NWA Builds Strong, Successful Partnerships With our Storage Clients

The attention we give to the partnerships we create with our customers is the reason why we are able to provide such a highly tailored service, handling the burdens of storage locations, optimizing their waste operations and saving them the most money.

With NWA, you’ll find no irritating online portals and no faceless call centers; just one Account Manager whose sole function is to build successful relationships with your locations.

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