Tee Off! : Waste Management Phoenix Open
Q&A with Brad Pollock, director of collection operations, AZ-NM
What is your role in organizing the WMPO?
I’m director of collection operations overseeing Arizona and New Mexico. For the Waste Management Phoenix
Open, I’ll be relying on Operations Improvement Manager Sherri Knape to organize our resources on the ground.
Between us, and our team, we’re making arrangements for this year, which involves breaking the golf course into
zones and then making sure we have the right people in place to service the event 24 hours a day throughout the
What is the most challenging thing in supporting the WMPO?
It’s such a high-profile event that there’s really no room for error. If something goes wrong we don’t have a week to
fix it. Instead, we need to plan for every possible contingency, which is really the definition of being proactive. That’s
why we’re constantly asking “what if” to each other. Like, what if the handle breaks on one of the Port-o-Lets stationed
at the 16th hole, which is also used by the players? We have to plan for everything, because if something goes wrong
it could end up on national television.
What does it take to execute the event?
It’s hard to quantify when you think of all the employees who work on the event at some level, whether it’s drivers collecting
materials or recycling employees separating the different waste streams. For the event itself, we’ll have about 400
temporary employees on-hand, around 60 managers from both within and outside the local market area, 1,300 Port-o-Lets
and about 18 trucks providing collection support.
The Open is really going on right now. We’ve been out there supporting the event’s construction since October and will
continue to provide service until about two months after it ends.
What’s happens to trash collected during the tournament?
We really don’t use the word “trash” at the WMPO, because we have only recycling and compost bins on the course and
our goal is 100 percent diversion. Recyclables go to the Surprise MRF, where they’re organized and processed.
Compostable items go to a Garick facility that’s just south of Phoenix, where they’re converted into products for gardeners
and farmers. Other contaminated recyclables are sent to the company’s SpecFuel plant in San Antonio. Last year, we diverted
about 400 tons of materials.
What do you think all employees should know about this event?
Like so many day-to-day operations at Waste Management, nothing happens with the flip of a switch – a lot of work from a lot
of people is involved in servicing the WMPO. Just like how our drivers don’t just show up to work, start their trucks and head
off down the road, there’s planning involved and a lot of coordination. You may not see it when you’re watching the tournament
on TV, but our operations team is there 24 hours a day.