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Where Pride Comes From

Where Pride Comes From

One thing that not everyone knows about MMD is that for ten years now, we’ve quietly been collecting and recycling the aerosol marking paint cans used by our customers. We’ve been doing this for free for all this time, and it even costs us money to do it, but we’ve stayed totally committed to recycling, because we know it’s the right thing to do.

(When we started recycling in 2010, it was because I just couldn’t just turn a blind eye to the fact that the cans of aerosol paint that we sell to our customers were mostly being thrown into the garbage, ending up in landfills and leaching chemicals into the soil. If that bothers you, too, keep reading until the end of this post to find out how we can help your company start leaving a lighter environmental footprint.)

The main person at MMD who makes our recycling efforts possible is Amy Dabe. Amy is a 18-year-old automotive student at Elgin Community College, with zero experience in the construction industry. As our Recycling Manager, she works 15 hours a week doing the most mundane job you can imagine: puncturing and taking apart the empty aerosol paint cans that we collect from our customers, and sorting the various elements (can, tip, residual paint, and cap) so that they can be taken away for responsible recycling.

Amy totally geeks out on what she does, bringing amazing attention to detail and drive to the table. She’s technically a millennial, but she’s so motivated that she actually independently researches ways she can do her job better. How many bosses can say they’ve received texts from their teenage employees on the weekend, excited that they’ve found a way to recycle batteries for free?! (Yep – that’s Amy for ya!)

Amy is an incredible human. Given that we don’t make any money off of picking up and recycling our customers’ used paint cans, it would have been easy for me to look for someone I could hire for minimum wage, but then we wouldn’t have Amy!! I love her child-like nature, zany ideas, and uncanny business sense, and I love the pride she takes in what she does. She’s so proud of being responsible for our recycling program, that she created a LinkedIn page just so that she can tell the world that she works for us.

Amy did this because she feels like she’s part of something important at MMD, which would be my biggest tip for the other business owners out there – whether you’re in the construction industry, or any other industry. Make sure you’re doing something that positively impacts others/the planet, and your employees will take great pride in working for you. That’s just human nature, and it’s so easy to forget that we’re wired to enjoy doing good.

Another reason Amy brings so much life to our company is that we’ve given her ownership of tasks that are well-suited to her unique quirks. That’s another great way to create an awesome company culture, cutting down on turnover and helping you to build a real legacy with your business by making your staff feel valued. For example, Amy says she finds it rewarding and instantly gratifying to puncture and take apart the cans that we eventually recycle. It may be a totally weird and boring task, but for her, it’s strangely enjoyable, and ultimately, that makes her the perfect person for the job.

I recently told Amy that I’m genuinely looking forward to the day when she gives us her two weeks’ notice to pursue her real passion: automotive. That will be the happiest moment for me, even though it will mean that we’ll be losing her, because I’ll say goodbye to her confident that MMD has been part of her journey of knowing her worth as a human being. To me, helping someone to know their worth, through doing work that positively benefits our fellow humans and the earth, is the ultimate reward.

Kat Kresic
Head Honcho and MMD

P.S. Starting later this year, our aerosol marking can recycling program will become an official business called Flat Can Recycling, separate from MMD. If you’re one of our customers who isn’t recycling yet, or you’re considering becoming one of our customers, please shoot us an email:

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