Spring cleaning

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Residents turn out for annual beautification event

The numbers are in. It was yet another successful City-Wide Spring Clean-Up. Hundreds of residents took advantage of the opportunity on April 18 at Hawaiian Falls to unload 102 tons of trash and debris, 160 cubic yards of green waste, 9,107 pounds of documents for shredding, and 14,474 pounds of electronics for recycling.

102 tons of trash and debris, 160 cubic yards of green waste, 9,107 pounds of documents for shredding, and 14,474 pounds of electronics for recycling were collected during the Spring Clean-Up on April 18.

102 tons of trash and debris, 160 cubic yards of green waste, 9,107 pounds of documents for shredding, and 14,474 pounds of electronics for recycling were collected during the Spring Clean-Up on April 18.

Environmental Services Manager Terry Gilman said it takes about a month for the city to prepare for the four-hour whirlwind that is the annual Spring Clean-Up. The event has evolved over the years, moving locations and adding more services, like document shredding.

Primarily, the Clean-Up is about offering residents of The Colony a convenient means of disposing trash and refuse, such as large tree limbs, furniture, appliances, lumber, remodeling debris, fencing materials and scrap metal.

Freon is safely removed from refrigerators, stored, and shipped to the EPA for recycling. On April 18, 15 appliances were drained. Ninety small truck, car and SUV tires are also collected.

While there are costs associated with the event, “you can’t put a value on the service,” Gilman said. Including the annual Fall Clean-Up events, this was Gilman’s 25th clean-up.

Employees of Republic Waste Services help unload trash and green waste during the Spring Clean-Up.

Employees of Republic Waste Services help unload trash and green waste during the Spring Clean-Up.

The city partners with its solid waste and recycling vendor, Republic Waste Services, for the Spring Clean-Up. Roger Bianci was one of dozens of Republic employees roaming the Hawaiian Falls parking lot to help residents unload their truckloads of materials for drop-off. He said he was more than happy to be working on a Saturday and valued the opportunity to get face-time with his customers.

“We’re out here trying to show The Colony what it’s all about,” Bianci said. “We’re going above and beyond, just trying to help out the community.”

Resident Bobby Ellis brought four truckloads of brush and yard clippings. Like many other participants, he said he puts the event on his calendar every year and starts planning for it about a month ahead of time.

“We appreciate it. We enjoy the service,” he said.

Finishing up her second trip, resident Lauri Terrell said she also appreciated the service.

“We cleaned up the church with the Boy Scouts last weekend and had it loaded up already,” she said. “Then I went back and got my personal stuff. I really appreciate it. It made it very easy. We know it’s coming up and plan for it.”

Enough electronics were collected for recycling to fill the trailer of an 18-wheeler. A second truck was needed to collect the rest.

Enough electronics were collected for recycling to fill the trailer of an 18-wheeler. A second truck was needed to collect the rest.

Other residents didn’t necessarily plan for it but found a way to take advantage nonetheless. Aaron Elgersma dropped off debris from a tree he cut down in the winter that had been sitting in the back of his house for months.

“I was driving by (and saw the traffic), and remembered I got the email and then I brought it out,” he said. “For sure I’ll plan for the fall now that I know what I can dump. It really helps. Otherwise it just accumulates.”

Perry and Brandy Fisher were also last-minute participants, having remembered about the Clean-Up the night before. They got to work cleaning out their garage in the morning for the first carload then planned to return with debris from the backyard on the second trip.

“We even told our neighbors, who moved here from down south, to make sure they knew about it, too,” Brandy said.

Resident Rosanna Morgan said the shredding service saves her money. What would normally cost about $25 per box is shredded for free at the Spring Clean-Up. “I do it every time there’s a clean-up,” she said. “I definitely plan for it. As we see little things to throw away, we organize them in our garage, ‘OK, this is going the next time.’ We definitely appreciate it.”

Document shredding was one of the many services available during the city's annual Spring Clean-Up on April 18.

Document shredding was one of the many services available during the city’s annual Spring Clean-Up on April 18.

Ken Rector and Mike Rowan brought a trailer-load of lumber that was once a backyard shed. Rowan said they started planning about a week ahead but weren’t sure if they’d get the shed knocked down in time.

“We even had a landfill pass for it but now we can use that for something else,” he said. “It’s very convenient. Look at the time it saved us.”

As residents enter the Clean-Up, they also have the opportunity to donate to the Metro Relief food pantry. This was a feature introduced during the Fall Clean-Up in 2014. Director of Pantry Services Gina Benson-Harrison said the agency is serving between 130 and 150 families a week. Donations collected during the clean-ups are particularly helpful in advance of the holidays in the fall and after the holidays in the spring.

“This is fabulous. This particular time of year, April to October after the holidays, we have to go out and buy food so this food drive is huge for us right now,” she said. “Even if it’s only a couple days’ worth of food, it’ll help us not have to go out and buy retail. That’s where we use funds that have been donated to help stock the pantry.”

About 1,700 pounds of canned goods and non-perishable foods were collected during the food drive at the Spring Clean-Up.

About 1,700 pounds of canned goods and non-perishable foods were collected during the food drive at the Spring Clean-Up.

In addition to boxes and boxes of canned goods and other non-perishable foods totaling 1,700 pounds, Benson-Harrison said they collected $235 at the clean-up. “It was a huge success,” she said. “I estimate that we doubled the amount of food from last fall, and the cash is a true blessing.”

To keep apprised of future clean-up events, follow the city on Twitter and Facebook, and sign-up for email blasts through the city’s website.

Story by Blaine Crimmins, communications specialist with the City of The Colony.

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Promoting the ‘people’ factor

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New HR director aims to help develop world class organization

The City of The Colony welcomed its new Human Resources Director, Rodney Wallican, in January. Wallican said he was excited to join an organization that is growing and undergoing major change.

“This role will allow me to put my stamp on this city in a variety of ways and bring a host of new strategies and processes to the city’s ‘people’ factor,” he said.

Wallican believes great leaders make for a great organization. After interviewing with City Manager Troy Powell and several directors, he knew The Colony was the place for him. “As we conversed, they consistently spoke of their passion for employee development, innovation, and excellence. From that group, I knew that I was walking into a great situation,” he said.

The Colony Human Resources Director Rodney Wallican took over the department in January this year.

The Colony Human Resources Director Rodney Wallican took over the department in January this year.

In any organization, the HR department is an integral part of an employee’s life both at work and away from the office. For example, employees count on HR staff to help them navigate the complexities of their benefits both during employment and into retirement. A longtime employee who retires at a company has been cared for by their HR professionals for much of their working life.

Wallican said employees are an organization’s most crucial asset and he relishes the responsibility of contributing to their well-being.

“Ensuring that their day-to-day needs are satisfied is a must. Human resource departments should focus on developing strategies in support of their employees that positively affect the bottom line of the organization,” he said.  “HR practitioners want to be seen as organizational leaders; an integral factor in creating and leading the vision of the organization and in its overall success.”

In the case of a municipal organization, fostering a positive, enthused work environment for city employees can in turn facilitate a productive workforce beneficial to the community/residents they serve.

“Happy, engaged employees are typically the backbone of a productive, financially stable organization,” Wallican said. “The goal of the human resources department is to foster this environment through planned and directed efforts.”

A few examples of these efforts could include a rewards-and-recognition program, innovative benefits programs, health and wellness initiatives, and a comprehensive leadership development program.

HR Director Rodney Wallican addresses employees who participated in Wear Red for Women Day promoting awareness of women's heart health.

HR Director Rodney Wallican addresses employees who participated in Wear Red for Women Day promoting awareness of women’s heart health.

“These types of environments don’t just happen. They are forged through the efforts of city leaders,” Wallican said, echoing a theme. “Leaders have to understand and promote the organizational mission and consciously live those daily values that result in a positive work environment.”

During his time in The Colony thus far, Wallican has yet to be disappointed.

“I’ve asked several employees what makes them continue working for The Colony. I hear the same things over and over: great benefits, family environment, excellent leadership, and stability,” he said. “My goal is to continue to do my part in nurturing such a culture and pushing the envelope to enhance it even more.”

The goal moving forward also will be to continue asking the same question over the next couple of years, with the hope answers fall in the realm of: because of the opportunities for growth, or because we offer a world class training program, or because of the city’s focus on creating a diverse, engaging environment, added Wallican.

“I believe that the human resource department is integral in creating the strategy that brings those statements into existence,” he said. “By providing great service to employees and being an integral business partner with other departments, there is no reason we can’t make The Colony one of the best places to work in North Texas. World class – that’s the goal.”

Prior to joining The Colony, Wallican worked four years as a Service Excellence Consultant for Texas Health Resources, North Texas’s largest health care system. During that time, he was introduced to training programs focused on improving the patient experience. In addition, he helped develop and execute a service excellence strategy, teaming with hospital executives to create a culture focused on developing leaders and engaging employees.

From there, he moved to Exel Logistics, the world’s largest third-party logistics company as an HR Manager for several distribution centers. His role involved training and developing leaders, investigating and resolving personnel matters, and managing organizational talent.

The Colony's HR Department was instrumental in scheduling and hosting the city's participation in the American Heart Association's National Walking Day on April 1, 2015.

The Colony’s HR Department was instrumental in scheduling and hosting the city’s participation in the American Heart Association’s National Walking Day on April 1, 2015, on the Shoreline Trail.

Wallican obtained his bachelor of science degree in HR Management from Winona State University and completed a master of science degree in the same field from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2012. He is a current member of the Society for Human Resource Management and holds his Professional in Human Resources certification.

“Through these educational endeavors, I’ve learned the basics of the HR profession. I stay abreast of new innovations and techniques in the field by attending seminars and conferences consistently,” he said.

Wallican said the conferences have helped him to network with other city HR directors and discuss innovative strategies that they are utilizing to drive the workforce and influence culture. Some day he might make the time to represent the city on a regional or state level by serving on boards like the Texas Municipal League. But for now he’s spending time working to develop a human resource strategy that will benefit city employees and the community.

“I am excited about all of the possibilities of this position and will definitely consider expanding my role as we move forward,” he said.