Celebrating 15 Years and Counting

Sprint Waste has marked a major milestone, celebrating 15 years of business! The company first opened its doors as Sprint Waste Services on April 1, 2006.

“As we mark this special occasion, we have much to celebrate and be proud of at our company,” said co-owner and partner Will Swinbank. “We’re incredibly grateful for every employee and their family, as well as our many long-term customers and partners, for their continued trust in us over the years and valuable role in our success.”

The company has come a long way since opening its doors with a handful of old trucks and eight employees, Swinbank said in an annual letter to employees marking the company’s anniversary. “It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears from so many of us to build this company into what it is today,” he said. “We didn’t have any special invention or mouse trap that separated us from our competition (wouldn’t that have been nice?). What set us apart was our willingness and commitment to go above and beyond our peers to provide great service to our customers.”

Will, his brother Reagan and father Joe, along with Joe’s long-time business partner Don Poarch, bought a small waste hauler called Sentinel to open Sprint Waste Services. With Will overseeing operations, Reagan taking on sales, and Joe and Don providing strategy, oversight and, Will said, plenty of wisdom and encouragement, the early years were filled with sacrifice and struggle to figure out the business and overcome every hurdle that came their way. Through it all, Swinbank said, everyone pulled together to do what it took to get through each day, even if that meant staying up all night to change tires or repair equipment.

“Plenty of times we actually didn’t know how to do what we promised our customers, but we just kept our heads down and worked until we figured it out,” he recalled. “The phrase we use from time to time is we were ‘too dumb to say no,’ and that was a frighteningly true statement. We wouldn’t have been able to do the things we have done without knowing we have a group of people that are willing to do whatever is needed to make the customer happy, and that is still what separates us from our competition today.”

A Foundation of Innovation and Service

That strong foundation of innovation and customer service was instilled early on in companies Joe and Don started and built previously. Though Will and Reagan bought out Poarch’s stake in Sprint Waste years ago, father and sons are all active in strategic development, direction and daily operations. 

 

Today, the company services customers from St. Gabriel, Louisiana to Corpus Christi, Texas, from small corner construction projects to some of the world’s largest refining and petrochemical plants. With 14 branch locations and two public C&D landfills, a hard-working team and creative problem-solving are still getting the job done.

Swinbank said he’s always been mindful of that legacy of service and what the Sprint name meant to customers, thanks to his dad’s and Poarch’s early example and leadership. “During that time and through their hard work and reputation, [the Sprint name] has meaning in the marketplace and I felt a burden when we started to make sure we carry that legacy on,” he said. “Now what exactly does Sprint mean? I think the primary characteristics are service, safety and integrity. I feel like we have not only carried the legacy on, but we have even strengthened the ‘brand.’”

Managing Growth

Once Sprint Waste got rolling after those early years, the middle years saw explosive growth. The company expanded service locations south to Corpus Christi and east to Beaumont and into Louisiana—and landed on the Houston Business Journal’s Fast 100 and the Aggie 100 three years in a row, as well as other notable lists. “Our reputation was starting to pick up steam, and our focus on out-hustling the competition was really resonating with customers,” Swinbank said.

The leadership team knew that kind of growth brought additional challenges, so the last five years saw the company lean into efforts to wisely manage growth and expansion without losing focus on customer service, safety and value. In early 2016, Dave Nelson was named president and CEO and began a strategic effort to expand and improve the company’s internal infrastructures to support the growth in new markets and overall service capabilities.

From HR and hiring to operations and shop maintenance to IT and communications, Nelson has presided over organizational and system updates and improvements that today allow Sprint teams to provide safe, innovative and best-in-class service and equipment options, without losing the small-company values many customers seek. “We know to provide real value to our customers, we have to have a laser focus on safe and efficient operations under our own roof. That means investing in tools, processes and people with the expertise to execute and lead us forward.”

We’re Looking for New Ways to Deliver

Of course, important milestones mean looking forward and setting new goals. True to the company’s DNA, the team doesn’t pause long to celebrate. Nelson said the company enjoys each milestone but moves on quickly to achieve new goals and accomplish new work at hand. 

Whether it’s expanded capabilities in vertical markets such as helping refining and petrochemical producers unlock new value across the waste stream, or working with more customers in construction and municipal markets to support the incredible population growth across the region, Nelson said Sprint teams are up to the challenge.

“As we move forward from the health and economic challenges of the pandemic, we’re grateful to continue to serve our customers and work together to emerge stronger than ever,” Nelson said. “We’re hopeful as businesses across Texas and Louisiana cautiously reopen and move forward, and we’re particularly excited about new growth areas and opportunities to help customers find higher levels of safety, sustainability and operational excellence.”

Swinbank agreed. “Houston is home to some of the biggest and most well-known waste services companies around, but our focus on industrial and commercial enterprises—on the companies and enterprises that drive our strong economy here along the Gulf Coast—has always set us apart,” he said. “This region is known for its thriving business landscape that sustains growth across markets and economies, and we’re confident we can continue to grow with our industrial, construction and municipal customers, no matter the size.”

“We value our long-term relationships with our customers, our business partners and every employee on our team. As we mark this anniversary and look forward to the next, we’re grateful to every person and customer that trusts us to grow together. We can’t wait to see what the next 15 years have in store!”