A carting company employee who received a second chance just was selected to take home a prestigious award.
Luis Lopez, who was recently promoted to route supervisor at Action Carting’s Hunts Point hub, will be awarded an outstanding achievement award at a Center for Employment Opportunities gala in Manhattan’s financial district on Tuesday, May 3.
Lopez, who served time in prison, got his break through a CEO program that matches prospective employees who were recently incarcerated with employers like Action Carting who are willing to provide ‘second chance’ opportunities.
Lopez, who lives in Parkchester, and is popular with his employer because he is willing to fill in shifts when others are unavailable, distinguished himself by exceeding Action Carting’s expectations.
“We are so pleased he was recognized by CEO with the CEO Outstanding Achievement Award,” said Ronald Bergamini, Action CEO. “His outstanding performance, superior dedication and positive attitude on the job throughout the past year are a true testament to his character.”
“I came into the CEO program just like everyone else goes in – looking to better my life and get a good job,” said Lopez.
Lopez says he enjoys working with customers along his route, which encompasses pick-up locations in Manhattan.
Lopez, who was imprisoned upstate for eight years on drug-related charges, said he was very concerned on his bus ride back to the city after his release because he had little money and his family was living elsewhere.
One of the things that drew Lopez to Action, after a temporary job cleaning a courthouse and another job with a delivery company, was that working on the truck gave him the ability to be outdoors and stay physically fit.
He explained that working out and lifting weights is one pastime that jails offer.
“I enjoy the physical aspect of the work,” said the award-winning worker. “I enjoy being out and on truck; it was something that I always liked.”
One of the things he stresses to his work crew is the importance of safety on the job – especially in light of the fact that garbage collectors are considered, by one study, to have the fifth most dangerous job.
“I had to be careful that I did not get hurt,” said Lopez. “It is really dangerous (and the waste) could have anything in it from hypodermic needles to broken glass, which I have seen cut a lot of guys.”
He said that Action provides thorough safety training and protective gear making for a safe operation, including cameras that allow drivers to see 360 degrees around the truck from the cab, as well as on-board computer equipment.
Action collects commercial waste from businesses, hospitals and other venues, including Yankee Stadium, and is the largest commercial waste hauler in the metro area with 11 percent of the market.
Over the years, CEO programs have helped connect over 100 employees with Action Carting, said Bergamini, who will be presenting the award to Lopez and another employee from New Jersey at the gala at United Federation of Teachers headquarters.