CASELLA WASTE MANAGEMENT, TERRITORY MANAGER Hometown: Hopkinton, New York
Education: BA Anthropology, SUNY Plattsburgh
Community Involvement: United Way of the Adirondacks Campaign Committee; North Country Chamber of Commerce Ambassador; Adirondack Young Professionals, Member
Nicole Cline is already building her legacy and she shows no sign of slowing down.
As a territory manager at Casella Waste Management, she chuckles when she refers to herself as the “trash lady”. She seems genuinely confused as to why her story is compelling because, in her humble words, “I just go to work.” Her candor, wisdom and unique energy are evidenced in a letter to her younger self that she opened with, “Dear Kid; Stay weird. Be proud to love the woods and business and a good day of hard work. It’s okay to wear dresses while fishing because when you’re older you’ll be proud to be different.”
Nicole soaks up knowledge like a sponge and while it is not a requirement for her position, she will earn her CDL and her MBA in the next five years. While that might seem lofty, her documented successes help you understand that she will make all that happen and more.
Despite all her energy going towards her career and professional development, Nicole continues to actively enjoy the beauty of the Adirondacks. An avid canoer it can definitely be said she has taken the path “least travelled by.” This summer she is hoping her father will help her build a cedar strip canoe so she can easily portage while wilderness camping with her faithful companion Dacks, her Newfie pup.
How do you contribute to the culture of your company?
I work hard to help everyone get the job done. No job is too big or too small. I believe in serving the team by helping solve their problems, being willing to learn their day to day jobs, to have respect for all sides of the business, advocating for customers, and supporting management’s initiatives. Most importantly, I believe (and show our team) we matter to our customers and our community and that we can, together, help each other help others.
What is the single most important characteristic for success?
Tenacity. Being unwavering in your commitment to goals even when your plans falls apart and your backup is no longer an option.
What is your biggest professional success?
I enjoy working with all customers but “odd” jobs and large-scale industrial jobs are some of my favorites. Currently, I’m working on a job that involves installing equipment large enough that we’re bringing in a crane to position it. Not only will the new equipment improve the processing of this customer’s recycling but it will also make their process more efficient and safer for their staff. I’m most excited about the crane though.
What important lesson have you learned in your career?
Do not give up. Show up, earn it, never be afraid of failure.
What is the most exciting trend happening in the community right now?
Currently, there is a mindset shift to valuing trade-based work. Stronger local educational opportunities have been developed with more hands-on learning styles geared toward building a workforce tailored to our community.
What can the North Country do to make this region more appealing to a younger generation?
Have a positive attitude! We have so much to offer as far as “community” is concerned — there are opportunities to build roots even if you are a transplant and there are many community members who will welcome you with open arms.
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
I once quit a job without another “9-5” job lined up. I saw an opportunity to grow personally and professionally and I knew I had to leave behind my day job to achieve it. My goals weren’t directly financial so the “how” was difficult. I stumbled along the way but ultimately, I ended up purchasing my first rental property and wound up in my dream gig at Casella. It was terrifying and I’m not sure I’d do it all the same way again but having a firm grasp of my goals and a little bit of luck ensured I would succeed.
What is something that no one would guess about you?
I grew up off the grid. As the only permanent residents on a seasonal road we made our own power, played in the woods, fished, camped, and picked lots of dandelions. I also had a propane powered hair curler.