“It is an honor that I never could have imagined. I’m so grateful to my family, friends and co-workers for their support. This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all garbage truck drivers, who play such an important role in our communities. I’m proud to represent this essential profession.” - Felix Martinez
A driver must meet several qualifications to be named the National Waste & Recycling Association’s (NWRA) Driver of the Year. They need to go above and beyond to serve customers and most importantly, they must operate safely. Safety is a value that Felix Martinez, a Republic Services residential driver from Mount Prospect, Ill., and NWRA’s 2023 National Residential Driver of the Year, lives every day.
The Driver of the Year award recognizes drivers who safely operate their trucks, maintain an exceptional performance record and enhance the overall safety and image of the environmental services industry. NWRA judges score Driver of the Year nominees based on the difficulty of their routes, considering factors such as the number of pickups and weekly miles they travel, as well as feedback from their customers. Out of nearly 800 applications, only one honoree is named National Residential Driver of the Year.
Martinez has worked for Republic Services for 26 years and is recognized by his team as dependable, consistent and always serving his customers with a smile. His customers recognize him for always going above and beyond to deliver a great customer experience.
One customer explained how Martinez routinely went out of his way to help her and her husband remove debris from their recently flooded home. The husband, having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, was unable to help with the cleanup, and Martinez made it his mission to see the project through.
When asked what it meant to him to be named Residential Driver of the Year, Martinez said, “It is an honor that I never could have imagined. I’m so grateful to my family, friends and co-workers for their support. This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all garbage truck drivers, who play such an important role in our communities. I’m proud to represent this essential profession.”
Robert Greco, Martinez’s general manager, considers him to be the ideal Republic Services team member. “Felix is an excellent driver and employee. He always has a smile and positive attitude, and is willing to help where needed. Felix is recognized by his customers weekly, and our team looks to him for leadership and guidance.”
Martinez also serves as a behind-the-wheel instructor, helping to train new Republic Services’ drivers to work safely. He also sets a daily example of what it means to live the company’s values by being Safe, Committed to Serve, Environmentally Responsible, Driven and Human-Centered.
Every year since 2006, Republic Services team members have won various NWRA Driver and Operator of the Year award categories, highlighting the company’s commitment to safety and serving its customers.