by Tammy Sakry
Drivers from all over the country competed but only one could win, and this year it was Tony Louzon.
The ACE Solid Waste driver was one of more than 500 drivers competing for the Environmental Industry Associations (EIA) Driver of the Year award.
Seven first-place awards were given in industrial, residential, commercial and private sector categories.
Louzon collected his trophy in the small residential category, $1,000 cash and EIA monogrammed leather jacket at the the EIA’s Waste Expo in Dallas, Texas.
“This is huge. It’s as big as it gets for a garbage man,” said the 37-year-old Ramsey resident.
Before nominating Louzon for the award, “we picked three eligible candidates (in the company) based on their safety and service records,” said ACE owner Andy Schweizer.
After reviewing the accident histories, injuries, professionalism and productivity, they chose Louzon to nominate to EIA.
They all had clean records, but Louzon was the best, said Denny Fredrickson, ACE operations manager.
Louzon puts in the extra effort when it comes to working with customers, he said.
Although ACE has had two other drivers receive second or honorable mention in the EIA competition, Louzon is the first to bring home the first-place award, Fredrickson said.
“It was a privilege to be nominated,” said Louzon, who took his father, Al, to the convention and the awards ceremony.
“The whole experience was good. I want to thank the managers of ACE for putting me in for it.”
When Louzon, a 1992 Anoka High School graduate, started working for ACE Solid Waste 14 years ago, his attitude caught the attention of his superiors.
He is easy going and calm and his temperament made him a candidate to be a trainer, Schweizer said.
For the last 13 years, Louzon has been training his fellow drivers as well as seeing to his Sherburne County route.
“I have always lived by the company guidelines of safety, service, professionalism and productivity,” Louzon said.
According to Orrock Township Maintenance Supervisor Jerry Peterson, Louzon is a valuable asset to him.
“As I plow snow and maintain the roadways for the township, (Louzon) has been a valuable asset in working with me concerning road conditions and roadway clearances unique to getting ACE’s trucks through most efficiently,” he said in a February 2011 letter to the company.
Louzon said he is also popular among the day cares along his route.
The kids line up to watch the truck and sometimes he stops so the kids can get a closer look, Louzon said.
For him, customer service is more than just service, he said.
“It is about building relationships with customers,” said Louzon, who spends time talking with the people on his route.