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01-Mar-2024

Kristine Szpulak: a leader for women in waste 

Over an admirable career of 41 years, GFL Logistics Manager Kristine Szpulak has been a role model for women in waste. She has a wealth of knowledge to share and continues mentoring the next generation in the field.  

“GFL has become a leader in promoting women in the waste industry and allowing us to spread our wings,” Szpulak said.  

Szpulak is the logistics manager for the Oakville, Ontario, liquid waste facility where she manages a crew of 25 employees, consisting of supervisors, technicians and drivers.  

Her responsibilities include booking jobs, providing services for petrochemical clients, assigning crews, coordinating necessary equipment, ensuring employees are up to date on their training, and organizing essential documents. Still, this list only scratches the surface of what Szpulak does. 

She aims to go above and beyond for all her customers and prides herself on maintaining long-term relationships with her clients, many of whom have evolved into friends.  

“I never want the answer to be no; I do what I can to figure out all possible solutions,” Szpulak said. “There are always puzzles to solve, and I love that about my position!”  

Before joining the waste industry, Szpulak originally wanted to pursue nursing. However, she was advised to switch direction after her first year of nursing school due to Canada not needing as many nurses at that time. 

Worried she may not have a job after nursing school, Szpulak changed paths when she came across an assistant position in the petrochemical industry.    

“When I initially applied to the assistant position, I viewed it as a job of the future, and I still believe what I’m doing is a job of the future!” Szpulak said. “There will always be waste, so we need evolving solutions to manage it.”  

After several years in customer service roles, Szpulak joined a tank maintenance company later acquired by GFL. For the last 25 years, she has mainly worked in dispatch and logistics. 

Over her career, Szpulak has demonstrated strong initiative and an eagerness to learn. From her experience in inside sales to customer service and dispatching, and earning her promotion to logistics manager, she has seen many progressive changes within the waste industry, including the increasing number of female employees. 

She highly values mentorships and, with her experience, wants to share what she knows with others and continue to promote opportunities for women in male-dominated work environments. 

Szpulak and her team’s work ethic speaks for itself, resulting in recognition by other branches. She mentions they have been helping a neighboring branch streamline its systems and operations.  

“I love sharing my knowledge; my motto is to teach is to learn twice, so by teaching I’m also relearning myself,” Szpulak said.  

Outside work, Szpulak loves to travel, walk her cockapoo Coco, spend time with her children, and immerse herself in the garden.  

In a fast-paced world, Szpulak offers these words of wisdom:  

“Remember to walk not run, you will get there!” she said. 

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