May 10, 2002

City of San Diego Refuse Collector Names Best Driver on American Continent

Enrique Rojas is a City sanitation collector with an accident-free driving record. He was named “2002 Driver of the Year” in March by Environmental Industry Association (EIA) following an international competition of solid waste haulers. The yearly award presented by EIA recognizes the best waste and recycling drivers in United States, Canada, and Mexico. EIA is located in Washington, D.C. and represents the waste hauling industry.

Rojas is the third City of San Diego Environmental Services Department driver to win the prestigious honor in the past four years. Johnny Rushing in 1999 won the first award, followed by Michael Maloney in 2001.

Rojas will be honored May 21, 2002, at the annual EIA WasteExpo convention held in Las Vegas, Nevada. He will receive a commemorative plaque, $500, and a special article in WasteAge magazine, an international weekly published by EIA.

“We are very proud of all our collectors, but especially of Enrique Rojas,” said Charles Woolever, deputy director of Collection Services for the City’s Environmental Services Department. “Enrique has driven his entire 16-year career for Environmental Services without an accident. He epitomizes the most desirable qualities of a professional heavy vehicle driver such as excellent work habits and safety. Enrique maintains his truck with care and pride, and he interacts positively with our customers, the citizens of San Diego. And on a personal note, Enrique has a warm personality, a positive attitude, a sense of humor, and is well liked by his co-workers,” said Woolever.

Rojas is a San Diego native who lives in Nestor with his wife and four teenage children. His many City awards and commendations include being honored in 2002 and 2001 for helping ESD achieve the number one rating for the City’s annual resident satisfaction survey for all city services. Environmental Services has been top rated since 1995 for its trash and recycling collection. The driver’s other commendations include outstanding work performance dating back to 1988, and achieving a five percent productivity increase of tons per load.

“Enrique possesses a strong and positive customer service attitude,” said Woolever. “For his disabled customers, he exits his truck, collects their refuse containers, then returns them to the back yard,” said Woolever. “Another example of Enrique’s attentiveness and helpfulness to citizens is when he and his partner doused a carburetor fire in a car at the landfill by using their collection truck’s fire extinguisher.”

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