Thursday was a rainy day for a picnic, but The Crossroads Eco Center (formerly CGS Services) held its renaming ribbon cutting ceremony anyway.
Hot dogs and hamburgers were served and a table of salespeople discussed their lives playing euchre, corn hole, and watching their kids graduate from basic training. Bill Pike’s Shelbyville Transportation Ministries gave tours of the facility.
Among the many employees were several Waste Management higher-ups and county officials who would cut the green ribbon, making the renaming official.
Waste Management purchased CGS Services’ parent company at the end of 2020. The idea of rebranding and renaming the facility was tossed around at the time, and the company decided to get employee input through a naming contest.
“We ran with the ball. We had a contest – we had all the drivers and all the people on both sides of the facility, the landfill and the hauling company, and we gave them the opportunity to come up with names for the facility,” said Brian Hopkins, Morristown Hauling District Manager.
The names were sent up to the senior leadership team and they selected The Crossroads Eco Center. Hopkins had nothing but praise for the site.
“It’s a good site,” Hopkins said. “The site is run well. It has good employees. We’ve been welcomed by the employees. Change is never easy, but the employees have been welcoming and kept an open mind. It’s a good community and a good place to do business.”
Waste Management Great Lakes Area President Aaron Johnson explained more about why they chose this name.
“The transition happened a long time ago, but today we’re making it official and bringing the former CGS and former ADS family into our Waste Management family,” he said.
“I’d like to thank James Benefield and driver Joe Eckles, they’re the ones who came up with the ‘crossroads’ name.
“We’re going to call this site The Crossroads Eco Center,” he said. “Crossroads because it’s been the state motto for, I don’t know, 25 years, 30 years, at least since I was a kid. I know it’s been on a license plate for a long time. And then Eco Center. Why? Because it’s more than a dump.”
“I think dumps, landfills, sometimes have a negative connotation to them when you talk about them in the public,” he continued. “This is an Eco Center, and we have a lot of plans to expand what we do here.”
The Crossroads Eco Center is more than just a landfill – its services includes hauling, composting, and recycling.
Waste Management already produces electricity and natural gas at some of its locations across the U.S. The company plans to produce energy at the Morristown location.
“We have plans to start producing electricity here in Morristown,” he said. “We’re in the process of installing a gas collection system. It’s already been procured, I think we’re in the middle of installing it right now. That will allow us to measure the gas production, and then probably by (fiscal) Quarter 4, we’ll be able to determine if we’re going to start producing electricity or natural gas, which would feed into the pipeline or the electrical grid for the community. We’ll have green power, or green gas.”
Johnson said there are some advantages to being tied to a national brand.
“The types of investments we make in technology, into our people, into our infrastructure, into our communities through partnerships and sponsorships – you can’t get that better than you can with Waste Management,” he said.
As an example, Johnson said they’ve increased the wages of the 125 Morristown employees by 11.8 percent.
“We gave a considerable amount of pay wages, not because we had to, not because the employees asked for it, because it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “We want our people to be paid in the top percentile for the industry and for the positions they work. We want this to be a career that you can be proud of and one that you can stay with until it’s time for you to retire.”
Waste Management also plans to invest back into its operations, of which The Crossroads Eco Center will reap the benefits.
“This year Waste Management will invest $1.8 billion back into our operations to expand landfills and improve our CNG network of trucks – we operate the largest network of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles in the world,” he said.
Johnson said Waste Management is proud to welcome The Crossroads Eco Center to the family.
“Together, we look forward to making Shelby County cleaner and greener.”
The Crossroads Eco Center History
The Morristown company began as family farm in 1946 by Elmer Caldwell as he moved his family to Morristown, according to its website. After returning from the Army, Paul Caldwell joined his dad in the small farming operation steadily hauling out areas of gravel, rock and clay that made it very difficult to farm. Slowly they began screening and digging out more and more of the various dirt and gravel products from this clay ridden farm and eventually committed to the gravel operation.
In 1968 the business incorporated as Caldwell Gravel Sales, Inc., and then in 1971 the company received its first Sanitary Landfill Permit.
Then it grew into the hauling business. Paul felt it necessary to make the name change, and in August of 1993 the business name was changed to CGS Services, Inc. to add versatility, according to the website.
In 2017, CGS Services, Inc. was acquired by Advanced Disposal Services, Inc. On October 14, 2020, Waste Management (NYSE: WM) acquired Advanced Disposal and all its subsidiaries, including CGS Services.
About Waste Management
“Really, what Waste Management is, is the collection of small local businesses,” Johnson said. “We have 51,000 employees: 1,200 of them live in Houston and are a part of corporate. The other 50,000 are local employees just like this that live and work and play in the communities we serve.”
Waste Management is a national brand based out of Houston, Texas. The company is committed to doing the right thing the right way, according to its website.