Meet the Team “’ Karen Dewaelle

Job title: Account Co-ordinatorDaily number of hot beverages consumed: I’m a fan of fruit and herbal teas, so I’ll have about four of these a day. I’ll start with a peppermint tea, then move on to berries or lemon and ginger. Getting through the day without caffeine is like a badge of honour!Accompanying biscuit of choice: I don’t really do biscuits. We went through a phase where someone would bring a big box of samosas into the office on Fridays ““ now that was something I could never refuse!How long have you worked at Reconomy?My first experience of the waste industry was working at Countrywide Waste Management, which was based in Shrewsbury. I joined Countrywide in 2011, and then in 2015 the company was acquired by Reconomy, so I moved to Reconomy’s offices in Telford.This worked out very well for me because I live near to Telford, so it cut my commute to under 10 minutes! It didn’t feel like a new job because I was surrounded by people I’d known for years. Everything was on a far bigger scale though, which took some getting used to.What are your core responsibilities?I’m part of Reconomy’s National Service Team, which has separate dedicated teams to service customers in the north and south of the UK. In addition to fielding calls for the North and South teams, I am also first point of contact for an additional group of customers that are based all over the UK.It’s my job to ensure these customers receive the best possible service from Reconomy. Typically, our smaller SME customers are focused on turnaround and price, whereas our larger corporate clients are looking for more of a consultancy-led service. They value our expertise and are open to taking our advice onboard, which is great because this is where we can really add value.How do you make a difference everyday?It goes without saying that customers are always our number one priority at Reconomy, but I think it’s just as important to maintain positive relationships with our numerous supply chain partners. They are an integral part of our business model and so need to be nurtured and cared for in the same way we would treat a customer. I think I make a difference by always going out of my way to be courteous and polite to our supply partners. By building good relationships, they are far more likely to go the extra mile for us.How is the changing face of the waste industry directly impacting upon Reconomy and your job role?Back in 2011, landfill diversion was a term rarely used by our customers. However, we’re now seeing more and more businesses taking an active interest in where their waste is ending up. Environmental awareness is now part of everyday life, so it doesn’t surprise me that commercial companies are coming round to this way of thinking.Sending waste to landfill has so many negative connotations that our customers are desperate to avoid it, particularly our larger clients. They are willing to explore all available alternatives, including converting waste to energy.What did you do before you joined Reconomy?Prior to 2011, I spent 18 months working as a receptionist for Telford and Wrekin Council in their Environmental Services Department. This helped develop my knowledge around waste management and recycling, which ultimately led me to Countrywide Waste Management.Before joining the Council, I spent time working as a receptionist for various public-sector organisations, including NHS hospitals, schools, and private hospitals. Probably my favourite job was working at a private hospital in Coventry because the facilities were fantastic. I also got to meet lots of football and rugby players from Coventry and Leicester who would visit the hospital when recovering from injury.How do you wind-down at the weekend?My weekends are usually spent surrounded by family and friends, accompanied by the odd glass of red wine! My family all live in Coventry, but they will regularly make the trip over to Shropshire to see me. It’s wonderful having them relatively close by because it means I get to spend lots of time with my grandson, who is the light of my life.What is the best thing about your job?I’d say the best thing about my job is going home knowing that I’ve made a real difference. I love speaking to my customers, and being able to help them is extremely satisfying. What’s also satisfying is knowing that by doing my job to the best of my ability I can say I’ve done my little bit to help the environment.