Few American success stories are as impactful as the story of Henry Ford. Ford was a man who had failed twice before hitting it big with Ford Motor Company in his 40s. He believed consumerism was the key to peace, and in making products affordable and paying workers a fair wage. Ford was a man who innovated on an industrial scale, brought mass production to the automobile industry, and the power of mobility to the ordinary American.
For me, on a deeply personal level, the most important part of the story of the Ford Motor Company is the fact that the second Ford Motor factory outside of Michigan was in my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Growing up, I knew many people who worked at that factory. So many of my family had jobs there, and my grandfather was president of the United Auto Workers Local 862.
Back then, if you got a job at Ford, you were safe. Because of the Ford Motor Company’s belief in fair wages and job security, you would have a good job for the rest of your life. The company represented safety and security for so many working people of Kentucky, and the Ford factory was the backbone of our community.
I learned from my family who worked in the factory the importance of the American worker, and the value of job security and working hard to earn a better future.
These lessons stuck with me when I started Rubicon. I knew I wanted to build an American company that, like Ford, represented innovation, safety and security. I wanted Rubicon to be a place where people loved to work and that made a difference. That is why we pay 100 percent of employee health care costs. And that is why we worked to establish Rubicon as a Certified B Corporation, a testament to how we lead with our mission to end waste, in all of its forms. I want Rubicon employees to feel like they are a part of something larger than just a job or a company. I want them to feel like they’re part of a movement.
Henry Ford knew that the key to creating a successful company was tapping into a movement geared for the future. Mobility was the watchword for his time. Making cars affordable to the middle class changed the future of the automobile in America. Then the construction of America’s interstate system under President Eisenhower changed everything about America, from the way we live to the way we work. Combined with the mass production of automobiles pioneered by Henry Ford, suddenly almost anyone could afford an automobile, and no corner of this country was out of reach. You could live in one place and work in another. You could take vacations you had only dreamed about. Entire industries sprang up overnight, from motels to fast food.
Today, Environmental Social Governance (ESG) is changing the future of America, and companies like Rubicon are bringing ESG to everyone. Although this movement is traditionally centered on the coasts, through Rubicon, team members, customers, and haulers can all take part in it, no matter where they are. They can take part in helping make the world a little less wasteful, and a little cleaner.
Waste is a multi-billion-dollar industry, but it has not evolved much since the time of the Romans. Rubicon is taking on the big names in the waste industry and putting power into the hands of local businesses and local haulers to divert more of their waste streams to recycling, and waste less time and money doing it.
And RUBICONSmartCity™ products are revolutionizing the role of the garbage truck and helping to create an entirely new social contract between government and its citizens, where proactive public services are the new normal. In most places, the humble garbage truck is the only vehicle to drive down every road and past every house and business, and it does so at least once a week. By equipping these vehicles to collect information about neighborhood conditions as they go about their daily routes, we are empowering municipal leaders to see not only when and where garbage is picked up, but to spot graffiti, potholes, abandoned homes and other quality of life issues that, once remediated, can make their cities more sustainable.
You can draw a direct line from Henry Ford’s assembly lines making cars and trucks to today’s waste industry with fleets of trucks hauling waste. Yesterday’s innovative movement was mobility. Today’s is sustainability.
ESG is the future of America, and just like mass transit in Ford’s day, ESG is going to revolutionize the way we live and work, spawning entire industries.
Rubicon is at the forefront of the ESG movement. Henry Ford epitomized American Innovation in the industrial space. We aspire to do the same in the waste and recycling space.