Fresh Perspective

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Recycling industry professionals share their perspectives on the industry.

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August 31, 2021

Caroline Allman

Compliance officer at Apto Solutions

Caroline Allman says luck led her to the electronics recycling and information technology asset disposition (ITAD) industry about 11 years ago. Previously, a career in the ITAD industry was not part of her plan.

“I had gotten my degree in horticulture and psychology,” she says. “My goal was to find a horticultural therapy job, but it was during the recession, and there was no way I would find that.”

In 2010, Allman was planning to relocate to the Atlanta area to move closer to her then fiancé, and she says someone had recommended she apply for a quality control position at Apto Solutions, which is based in Atlanta. The company hired her as a quality control analyst and deputy ISO officer.

When she started her role at Apto Solutions, Allman says she didn’t intend to stay in the electronics recycling and ITAD industry for long. She wanted to eventually find a job in horticulture and psychology. But, over time, she says she was impressed by the projects and work being done at Apto Solutions and chose to stay with the company.

"That’s one thing that [Apto Solutions has] proven in the last 20 years—they are pretty darn good at adapting to the changes in the world and in the industry.”

“I was just really taken by the industry,” she says. “And there was a lot of change happening when I got hired. [Apto Solutions] kept giving me different opportunities to learn new things. And 11 years later, I’m still learning.”

Allman is a compliance officer at Apto Solutions, where she oversees operational processes and procedures and ensures the company’s certifications are in place.

She shares what it’s like to work at Apto Solutions, how the company has addressed hiring-related challenges and the ways she’s gotten involved in the industry in the edited interview that follows.

Recycling Today (RT): What are operations like at Apto Solutions?

Caroline Allman (CA): The word “apto” in Latin means to adapt. That’s one thing that the company has proven in the last 20 years—they are pretty darn good at adapting to the changes in the world and in the industry.

Recycling has always been a necessary part of the business but was never something that we really focused on. If something couldn’t be reused, then naturally it would get recycled responsibly. Now, we’ve kind of turned the tables. We still have a focus on reuse because, of course, that’s the most beneficial for the environment and everybody involved financially, but we’re trying to look at the recycling side differently.

That’s been translated into our program that we’re calling Circular Transformation. So, we’re doing a lot more tracking of downstreams and really focusing on what things are being turned into.

RT: Hiring is a big issue right now. Could you speak to how Apto Solutions has addressed hiring lately?

CA: One thing we’ve actually had a lot of luck with is the e-Stewards Advance Plus Program, which we asked to be part of it. It helps us partner with groups or staffing agencies that focus on placing individuals who are on the autism spectrum. So, we’re able to get people from those agencies.

RT: Since working at Apto Solutions, have you gotten involved in any industry associations?

CA: When e-Stewards started working on transitioning from their version 3.1 to version 4 certification standard, I volunteered to assist with that process by just reviewing the changes. We went through and just made sure that the changes that were being made were beneficial to the e-Stewards-certified companies and would hopefully bring in new companies.