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Featured in Suburban Life magazine December 2011

trash_talk

TEXT VERSION:

Getting their Hands Dirty
Kelley Noftsger and Jennifer Partelow, owners of AB-8 Waste Solutions, demonstrate the “softer side of trash”

Many women will admit to talking trash during a sporting event. A few even will even do it when angry. But for Kelley Noftsger and Jennifer Partelow, talking trash is a profession.

Noftsger and Partelow own AB-8 Waste Solutions, a solid-waste hauling brokerage firm operating in six states. AB-8 does not own trucks or Dumpsters; instead the women rely on their connections and volume discounts to help match each customer to the hauler that is best suited to the job. According to Partelow, most people don’t know there are options for disposal besides their regular trash service. “The big companies don’t care about one Dumpster,” she says, “but one is just as important to us.” They also provide site amenities and recycling services for contractors and small businesses. “It’s a lot like being an insurance broker,” Noftsger says—except that it’s not.

She and Partelow know that they have to have a sense of humor in their line of work. At one business function the emcee introduced them as the “trash girls,” and the moniker has stuck. Currently on their website, WeGotCans.com, the pair carries T-shirts featuring their logo along with phrases such as “Trash Mouth.” They realize they are an anomaly in the male-dominated industry. “It was a challenge in the beginning,” Partelow says. “We had to prove ourselves ten-fold.” But once they demonstrated they knew the business, they found most customers would rather deal with a woman. The duo is pleasant, competent and service driven, accepting calls 24/7. “Even if it is 10 p.m. and nothing can be done, it makes the customer feel good to know [the concern] is no longer on them,” Noftsger says. She believes that as women, they are more attentive to follow-up. They also believe they are more sympathetic to customers who are in need because of a natural disaster.

AB-8 Waste gives back to the community in many ways. Partelow and Noftsger are members of the local chamber of commerce and Rotary, and they frequently donate the use of amenities to local events and coordinate collection drives. “The community gives to us,” Noftsger says, and so they give back. After six years in business, Partelow and Noftsger remain friends and still feel they make perfect business partners. “We are both here every day,” Partelow says. “You have to have respect for one another. We are both really driven; we both carry the weight.” Though you can bet they still talk trash. —SAS

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