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Waste Pro Co-Heart Program celebrates 500 CDL graduates

By Staff | May 8, 2024

Waste Pro’s Co-Heart Program is celebrating the significant milestone of surpassing 500 graduates.

Created in 2015, the Co-Heart Program allows Waste Pro helpers and other interested employees to receive training to earn their commercial driver’s license (CDL). Waste Pro’s Co-Heart Program has helped employees at all levels earn their CDL. The company is one of only two solid waste companies in Florida that are working with the Florida DOT to offer such a program. The program’s primary goal is to promote qualified helpers to drivers through proper training. Students work one-on-one with corporate operations trainers, state-approved examiners, and instructors.

The most recent graduates, Mitchell Harvey from Pembroke Pines, FL, and Trevor Brown from Pensacola passed their CDL Skills test and received their state certification, bringing the program past the 500-graduate mark.

“Our people make the difference at Waste Pro. This program allows us to place resources where they are needed most–creating our own army of drivers. We believe in investing in our people and offering a long-term career with opportunities for advancement along the way,” said Shannon Early, Vice President of Human Resources.

The program teaches advanced backing and driving skills, rollover prevention, and more. CDL certification tests are conducted at Waste Pro’s Regional Operations Center in Sanford, FL, a state-approved CDL testing site. Following successful completion of the Co-Heart Program, graduates and other new hires undergo additional training at one of Waste Pro’s two Driver Training Centers — located in Sanford, Florida, and Atlanta, Georgia, with a third location coming soon — to learn Waste Pro-specific operational, customer service, and safety procedures.

Co-Heart Program graduates have become lead drivers, supervisors, and managers and have been honored with Waste Pro’s $10,000 Safety Award. Vice President of Safety and Risk Management Romeo Vellutini said, “Students, supervisors, trainers, and division managers work closely to make this all happen in a systematic way, resulting in success for the driver, the company, and the communities we serve.”

One recent success story is Fort Myers Residential Driver Terrence Pierre, who graduated from the program in 2023. Pierre joined Waste Pro a few years ago as a helper, and the program allowed him to take the next step in his career. Since then, he has become a Driver Mentor for incoming program candidates. He has also been called upon to travel to various Waste Pro locations to provide extra driving support during times of crisis, including storms that swept through Louisiana and Tennessee in late 2023. Pierre credits Waste Pro and the Co-Heart Program with changing his life and the lives of his entire family.

“No words can explain how proud the young men and women feel the second they find out they passed,” Vellutini said. “We are building a team of successful drivers from within our organization that put safety and service first.”

About Waste Pro USA

Waste Pro USA, Inc. operates in 10 southeastern states and is one of the country’s fastest-growing privately-owned waste collection, recycling, processing, and disposal companies. With revenues projected to exceed $1.3 billion in 2024, Waste Pro serves over two million residential and 100,000 commercial customers from over 90 operating locations. Waste Pro is headquartered in Longwood, Florida, and maintains approximately 250 exclusive municipal contracts and franchises.