When Customer Service Specialist Kendell Kendrick says he has been with FV Recycling since day one, he means it.
In 2000, Kendrick heard from a mutual friend that Brett Jones, who owned Dixie Mat and Hardwood and who had already established a trucking business, was interested in doing something with recycling. Kendrick recalls going out to an old meat packing plant in Columbia, MS that would soon become the recycling plant and offices of what was first known as Jones Brothers Corrugated.
“It was a tin-roofed building with a gravel parking lot,” Kendrick said. “We knocked the cobwebs down and got to work.”
There was a lot to learn about the recycling business and Kendrick, who fulfilled a number of roles at the company, got up to speed early. He also saw the value of the enterprise.
“Every store I went to had cardboard bales behind it,” he said.
After Kendrick got access to a flatbed truck, he went out on the hunt for new business.
“Brett and I decided that the best thing to do was to look for loose cardboard to start off with,” he said. “It was an effort at first to convince people to recycle. But we did and then we put out baskets for them.”
After the baskets came recycling bins and soon the company started baling and running a number of regular routes.They also developed partnerships with mills who could use their product.
In addition to customer acquisition, route management and baling work, Kendrick also did accounting for the company.
“There were no computers at the beginning,” he said. “I did it all in composition books. I detailed every time we brought in a loose load and how much it weighed and any time we bought bales. Everything was on paper. What it cost us and what profit we made.”
Today, Kendrick specializes in customer relations, which makes sense as he personally knows about 80 percent of FV Recycling’s customers.
“A lot of customers have my personal cell phone number,” he says. “We’ve been fortunate to build some strong relationships over the years. We started the company based on honesty, integrity and loyalty.”
Even now, Kendrick says there is still plenty to learn.
“When you learn it, you never stop learning it,” he said. “Recycling has redefined itself probably 15 times since I’ve been in the business. Just about the time you think you have all the answers, the questions change on you. It keeps you on your toes and keeps challenging you.”
Kendrick gives high praise to President Gene Smith for his current stewardship of the company. What began as Jones Brothers Corrugated, became Fiber Vision Paperstock, and is now FV Recycling. From four employees and one hook truck, FV Recycling now has 45 trucks in 9 states, and 5 plants/cross dock locations. FV Currently handles over 300,000 tons annually, and is still growing.
However, the thing Kendrick values most about the company has always been a constant.
“Everybody is family here,” he said. “And everybody feels the same way about FV Recycling. There’s a lot of support from a lot of great people. We are only as good as the people we have on our team and we are blessed to have a great team. I’m so thankful to be a part of it.”