Fresh Perspective

Recycling industry professionals share their perspectives on the industry.

George Strom

Vice president of municipal services at LRS

When growing up, hauling often was a topic of conversation at the family dinner table for George Strom. His great-grandfather Roy Strom founded Roy Strom Co. in 1944 in Maywood, Illinois.

George says he received his first paycheck when he was in eighth grade for working on the back of a waste collection truck for Roy Strom Co.

“That was really my first introduction to the waste business,” he says.

George says he enjoyed growing up around his family’s business and always intended to return to work for the family company upon graduating from college, but his father, also named Roy, suggested he work outside the family company for a few years before joining Roy Strom Co. for a full-time career.

"It’s important to make sure that employees get that message that they’re all part of a team.”

“I got a job for C.H. Robinson, a large third-party logistics provider, and I worked in their intermodal division for a little over two years,” George says. “That was an interesting experience for me. If you think about the waste industry, it’s really like logistics—picking up something at point A to point B. That experience really was a help for me when I came back into the [waste and recycling] industry.”

George has been working in the waste and recycling industry for the past 10 years and recently became vice president of municipal services at LRS after the company acquired his family’s business in 2021. He shares more about what that acquisition was like and how LRS has managed growth in recent years.

Recycling Today (RT): Your family business, Roy Strom Co., was acquired by LRS about a year ago. What was that merger like?

George Strom (GS): The second I talked with Alan Handley, the CEO of LRS, he was the most gracious person. He was so welcoming. He was like, “Listen, you can have all the opportunity in the world at this company, and we want you and all your people here.”

To hear him say that he not only wanted to take me with him but wanted to take all of the people that I care about [at Roy Strom] meant the world to me.

RT: LRS has been involved in quite a few acquisitions in recent years. Can you speak to some of them?

GS: [I]t feels like you’re on a roller coaster sometimes with all the different things that we’re getting done.

As everybody who’s been in the M&A space understands, the integration is crucial to the success of your growth. We’ve now put together a great integration team that’s able to help blend these organizations together even faster and make sure that everybody feels part of the team.

I think sometimes when you’re growing at that fast of a pace … the concern can be, Does the employee feel as if they are connected with the organization? We have really focused in on how do we ensure that everybody is onboarded and welcomed to the family in the same way. Whether you were recruited, hired, acquired or been with the company for 25 years, we want to make sure all those people feel welcome and understand that sometimes there are going to be bumps in the road.

In business in general there are always going to be some issues. You sometimes blame the acquisition for those issues or the new company for those issues, but there were probably issues that existed prior to that.

[Employees] need to understand that they are cared about, maybe even more, [after an acquisition]. It’s important to make sure that employees get that message that they’re all part of a team.

February 2022
Explore the February 2022 Issue

Check out more from this issue and find you next story to read.

Share This Content