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Women Leaders in Waste: Diana Grootonk of Labrie Enviroquip

Apr 26th - Waste 360 

Hiring and retaining quality employees and identifying the right market opportunities for the business are always top of mind for Grootonk.

When Myers Power Products Inc. acquired Labrie Enviroquip Group in January 2012, Diana Grootonk had not planned on taking on the role of chief executive officer (CEO) for Labrie, which manufactures waste collection vehicles for the North American market. But through a series of unplanned events, she ended up embracing that role.

“Ultimately, I stepped into the role on an interim basis but fell in love in the process,” explains Grootonk. “So, here I am, still very much enjoying the challenge of growing the business. I am fortunate to be surrounded by a team of exemplary managers, directors, employees and customers who make running this business as much fun as it is challenging.”

Grootonk began working for Myers Power Products in 1994 and previously served as the company’s chief operating officer before taking on the role of president and CEO. Labrie was originally purchased by one of Myers’ holding groups, for which Grootonk also serves as CEO and president.

Myers acquired Labrie in 2012 when Grootonk and her partners, who specialize in turnaround and bankruptcy deals, were indirectly led to the manufacturing of rolling stock, starting with intermodal chassis. They then went on to contract the manufacturing of refuse collection vehicles for a small U.S. producer, which ultimately led to the Labrie deal.

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Grootonk has been in manufacturing for most of her career, and she says the biggest challenges she has faced throughout her career remain the same regardless of the industry. Workforce availability, hiring and retaining quality employees and identifying the right market opportunities for the business are always at the forefront of her mind.

“I have previously worked in the manufacturing of children’s toys, traffic signals and low-voltage distribution equipment and currently in medium-voltage switchgear and garbage trucks,” she points out. “Regardless of the country or the product, these challenges (while morphing from year to year) always remain at the top of the ‘challenges list.’”

“On a more personal note, I think every CEO is challenged with finding the right balance for him or herself in the industry in which they participate—what works in one industry or geography may not work in another—and finding that balance may not always be easy or obvious,” adds Grootonk.

Labrie Enviroquip has had a presence in the refuse market for more than 100 years now and offers three platforms: the Labrie platform, which is the traditional mixed city known for recycling and automated equipment. The front loader, which was originally a Western Canadian and West Coast front loader that has now evolved into a national product. And the Leach Rear Loader, which has been around for more than a century.

Labrie SaintNicolas Quebec CanadaLabrie Enviroquip is excited about the new opportunities in the market especially in the organics collection and lightweight front loader markets Commercial and curbside organics collection is a growing trend for all sizes of cities and municipalities Through our network of more than 40 dealers we continue to address the changing patterns of waste and recycling collection Our innovative CNG fuel packages provide as much as 100 diesel gallon equivalents DGE int

As one of the largest and most recognizable manufacturers of refuse and recycling collection vehicles in North America, the company employs 850-plus employees and maintains manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico with parts and service locations in Osh Kosh, Wis.; Lafayette, Ga.; and Quebec, Canada.

In the seven years that Grootonk has been in waste and recycling, she has seen the industry evolve in every way imaginable—from the expansion of automated collection, to the movement to renewable natural gas, electric vehicles and weighing systems, to the data collection that helps haulers and municipalities maximize their fleet operations.

Labrie's Automizer Helping Hand with automated armLabrieAutomizerHelpingHand-automated-arm.jpg
In recent years, refuse fleets have been looking to advancements in technology and telematics solutions to optimize routing and improve safety. Data from telematics coming off the trucks can help fleet managers identify risky driving behaviors within their commercial drivers. At Labrie, automation has been driven in large part by the economic sense that it makes, plus the undeniable safety factor.

“It’s a very exciting time for the industry,” says Grootonk. “Everyone is looking for greater safety, longer vehicle life, maximized TCO [total cost of ownership] and more automation. From driver/collector safety to granular data collection, we will continue to see more and more technology infused into every aspect of collection, including vehicles. Electric chassis is around the corner, and this will move the refuse collection vehicle industry in a different direction. As we continue to see improvements in battery technology, this will become more of a reality than ever in the near future.”

When it comes down to it, the ever-evolving industry keeps Grootonk on her toes and motivated every day. “I have the unique opportunity to learn something new every single day in a most amazing industry,” she says.

As we continue this series, we invite our readers to email Waste360 Editorial Director Mallory Szczepanski at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with suggestions of women to feature in the coming months.

 

Labrie News

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Labrie EnviroQuip Group Names Kilburg Equipment LLC.  Iowa Distributor

Lévis, Quebec, CA
March 15th 2018

Labrie EnviroQuip Group strengthens its distribution network by naming Kilburg Equipment LLC as the Iowa and Northern Illinois Distributor. Kilburg Equipment LLC will provide sales, service and parts supply for the Labrie, Leach, and Wittke customers in the region. Jesse Kilburg, Owner of Kilburg Equipment will assume the role of Distributor/Sales Rep in the designated territory.

Kilburg brings over 10 years of refuse market experience and his hands on and "customer first" approach makes him a strong asset for the Iowa and Northern Illinois markets. “Jesse is a great addition to our strong distributor network. He provides a great deal of industry sales knowledge and expertise in his specific territory.” said Andy LeVasseur, Labrie Regional Sales Manager.

About Kilburg Equipment
Kilburg Equipment LLC is a first-generation family owned business with more than 10 years of serving private and municipal waste haulers. Killburg Equipment offers truck and body sales, parts, service and more. Jesse and his wife Jenna are committed to first class service and prompt attention to their customers’ needs. For more information visit www.kilburgequip.com

Company contact:
Diana Grootonk
President & CEO 
(909) 923-1800 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 



Labrie News     

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Labrie EnviroQuip Group Names Andrew LeVasseur Regional Sales Manager

ST NICOLAS, QUEBEC, CA– Labrie EnviroQuip Group ("Labrie") announced that Andrew LeVasseur has joined the Company as Regional Sales Manager. Mr. LeVasseur will be responsible for sales and market share growth for North & South Dakota, Nebraska and Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin for private haulers accounts. Mr. Lavasseur comes to Labrie with more than a decade of waste collection vehicle sales experience in several capacities for the McNeilus Companies. Mr. LeVasseur holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Winona State University.
“Andy is a great addition to our team. He brings a great deal of industry sales knowledge and expertise in increasing market share in a specific region as well as boosting sales of specific product lines,” said Skip Berg, Labrie National Sales Manager.

About Labrie EnviroQuip Group
Labrie EnviroQuip Group is the leading manufacturer of premier waste collection bodies and solutions in North America. With a Corporate Headquarters in Quebec, Canada and manufacturing facilities in Canada, the US, and Mexico Labrie maintains 775,000 square feet of manufacturing facilities on more than 200 acres. Corporate information and detailed product information are available online at www.labrieenviroquipgroup.com and toll free at 1-800-463-6638.

Diana Grootonk
President & CEO
(909) 923-1800
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Labrie News     

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Labrie Enviroquip Group Names Roy Shigefuji Global Director of Procurement & Supply Chain

ONTARIO, California, USA – Labrie Enviroquip Group (”Labrie”) announced that Roy Shigefuji has joined the Company as Global Director of Procurement & Supply Chain. Mr. Shigefuji will be responsible for the various aspects of supply chain management across the Labrie manufacturing facilities, which support the Company’s global sales.

Mr. Shigefuji comes to Labrie Enviroquip Group with more than 20 years of manufacturer supply chain management experience, most recently for Progressive Waste Solutions. As Director, Procurement and Supply Chain he was responsible for a supply chain that encompassed nearly a half a billion dollars in annual goods and services purchases for heavy manufacturing.

Labrie Enviroquip Group President and CEO Diana Grootonk stated, “We welcome Roy to this position and the Labrie team. His skill set and experience will enable Labrie to capitalize on our continued growth to maximize our competitiveness in the marketplace and the value we deliver to our customers.”

Prior to his most recent position, Mr. Shigefuji was employed in a similar capacity at Republic Services, Intel Corporations, and other major manufacturers. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, with Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and History.

About Labrie Enviroquip Group

Labrie Enviroquip Group is the leading manufacturer of premier waste collection bodies and solutions in North America with its Corporate Headquarters in Quebec, Canada. You can visit Labrie at www.LabrieGroup.com.

Contact us for more information

Diana Grootonk
President & CEO
(909) 923-1800
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Driving the new Mack LR refuse truck - Mack LR brings greater comfort, ergonomics and safety to the refuse truck segment

December 6, 2016. ALLENTOWN, Pa. – by James Menzies

Refuse trucks are built to operate in all conditions, so who can complain when a little rain dampens a test drive? Or when sheets of unrelenting, driving, torrential, cold, November rain, for that matter, soak through everyone who dared step outside?

The trash still has to be collected, so there were no complaints from me when I visited Mack Trucks’ Customer Center to drive the company’s newest refuse truck, the LR model. In fact, the pouring rain helped me gain an appreciation for some of the subtler design enhancements built into the LR model that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. For example, a new drip rail above the door that keeps the rain from cascading into the cockpit every time the door is opened, which could be more than 1,000 times a day.

Labrie News
Labrie Expert Helping-Hand on Mack LR