BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – Local garbage truck operator receives national award.

“It means I’m one of the best,” said Dedra McKinley of Baton Rouge. “You know hard work paid off.”

Her years of hard work is why COO Carlos Guerrero appointed McKinley, claiming she sets the gold standard.

“The industry is a very thankless industry, but once you’re in the industry, it’s a very rewarding industry because you take care of your community,” Guerrero said.

Nine years after joining Republic Services in the capital, McKinley has just been recognized as the NWRA’s 2021 National Commercial Pilot of the Year; the highest honor in the industry.

“She goes above and beyond for her clients,” Guerrero said. “She goes above and beyond for her colleagues. She is a real mentor to her interns and ready to do anything, ”he said.

“This is important because if you don’t take care of the garbage collection the city will be unpleasant, stinky, uncomfortable to live in,” McKinley said. “It’s just something you have to do.”

For most of the past decade, McKinley has spent thousands of hours hitting the sidewalks around Baton Rouge to keep the streets clean, but she says it’s not the hardest part of her job. .

“Not being able to support my clients,” McKinley explained. “If I have a problem with a truck or something and I can’t complete my route, that’s the hardest thing for me because I love serving my customers and doing my job,” said she declared.

But she says the best part of her job is connecting with the community.

“The children,” she explained. “They love us and we love them. We give them colored notebooks. All kinds of things… sometimes during the holidays we can drop a little gift or something, but they like us, you know ”.

Now nationally recognized, McKinley hopes her success can be a role model for other women in the traditionally male-dominated industry.