Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Aug. 20, 2001

Kubasch Sanitation sold to Waste Management

By Patrice Waldron

It was an 18-month process, but the deal between Kevin Kubasch, president of Kubasch Sanitation, and Steve Metz, district manager for Waste Management, Inc. was finalized July 13, 2001.

"Kevin is a tough negotiator," Metz said of the details involved in the change of ownership.

While negotiations were underway, Kubasch insisted on a few conditions, such as honoring the Kubasch employees' loyalty, supporting the festivals and events of cities with current Kubasch contracts, and maintaining the current fee schedules for one year.

Kubasch Sanitation has been a prominent fixture in the community since 1944, and in its present location, at the corner of Sixth Street North and Main Avenue West in Winsted, since 1987.

The business was started by Kevin's father, Milo, at the request of Gordon Moore, manager of the former Green Giant plant. Moore was too busy to haul his rubbish, so he suggested that Milo use his father's dump truck to haul garbage from around town.

Milo eventually gave in to Moore's prodding and Kubasch Sanitation was born. One thing lead to another, and the business grew, explained Kevin.

Around 1967, the first enclosed packer truck was purchased. In 1975, Kevin bought the business, and it became Kubasch and Sons, Inc.

During the time that Kevin owned the business, he acquired several other sanitation businesses, thus expanding his client base. Four companies were acquired in 1981.

As Kevin continued his story of how the business began, he explained about how, like many other businesses, the sanitation business moves through 10-year cycles.

A plateau is reached about every 10 years, where there are enough changes occurring that it is a time for businesses to either upgrade equipment to the next level, or sell the business.

"I wore a lot of hats in this business. Now is the time of another plateau, an automation cycle. There are costs and risks involved, and it was my personal decision to get out," Kubasch said.

The sanitation business is very capital intensive. Waste Management is financially secure, and will be able to make the changes in equipment which are necessary to keep going in a changing industry, Kubasch explained.

There have been government mandates that have forced changes in the sanitation business. Businesses are continually having to follow waste reduction guidelines. Recycling helps reduce waste, but there are costs involved.

Items for recycling must be collected, processed, and then prepared for going to market where they will be sold to be made into something new.

"Waste Management shines in marketing expertise," said Kubasch.

Recycling is definitely here to stay. Children all over the country are taught in school about the environment and the importance of not creating excess waste to clog up the landfills.

Children may sometimes be the leaders in the household recycling efforts. School groups, such as, recycling clubs, are a fun way to learn more about the environment and what individuals can do to help keep it clean.

Some people may not think that recycling their daily newspapers or soda bottles makes any difference. In reality, what people recycle at home makes a lot of difference.

Recycling keeps approximately 20,000 tons of waste per month from going to the landfill, said Metz.

Field trips and tours are sometimes planned at the Waste Management facilities, with information being provided about recycling and how waste is handled in today's society.

With the increase in the demand for recycling, Waste Management has been looking for ways to make recycling more efficient.

One future change area residents will see includes going from three-sort to two-sort recycling.

Two-sort means less work for the residents and the allowance for more items to be placed together, Metz said.

Waste Management has kept up with the recycling demand with its facilities, and is building a $20 million processing plant.

The recyclables will be sorted in this facility and prepared for the end market. The new plant is set to open in October.

Waste Management also has a recycling center located in Norwood, and has a resource management facility in Glencoe. A cell, which is where the garbage is stored, is currently being built in the Glencoe location.

The merger is not viewed as a sell-out, but as two companies combining to make one better company. The needs of the customer will remain at the forefront of the business.

These are a couple of the sentiments Kubasch and Metz expressed while attending various city council meetings to notify customers of the acquisition of Kubasch Sanitation by Waste Management, Inc.

A few changes to expect, now that the merger is complete are: the addition of more items available for recycling, updating trucks and equipment, at least double the number of jobs in Winsted, increasing the benefits to employees, and expanding parking and storage to accommodate the increased number of trucks.

"This is a very positive thing. The addition of double or triple the jobs will increase the need for more space," Kubasch said.

Kubasch and Sons, Inc. currently employs just under 25 people, while Waste Management employs 120 in this operating area, known as Twin Cities West, and 1,500 statewide.

Twin Cities West services about 35,000 homes in McLeod, Carver, and Wright counties, along with part of Hennepin, Sibley, Scott, and Sherburne counties.

Some of those homes are among the 5,000 serviced by Kubasch.

With the combining of the two companies, the duplication of routes will now be eliminated, thus making for more efficient service. Another feature about the merger is the fact that the larger the customer base, the more spread out any cost increases become.

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