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From high school helper to director of operations

GFL’s Director of Operations for Saskatchewan and Manitoba Ray Poppl started his journey in the waste industry 20 years ago as a helper through his high school education program.

After a few years working as a general laborer and transitioning into being a driver, Poppl broke his ankle playing hockey, which unintentionally played a pivotal part in his professional journey from working in the field to the office.

“I was so nervous to go from the field into the office as a dispatcher because I had no prior office experience and still didn’t know all the ins and outs of daily operations,” Poppl said. “Little did I know the broken ankle would take me on a new venture in the waste industry.”

Like many young adults, Poppl was unsure of the direction he wanted to pursue after high school graduation. Since he had a positive experience working as a helper, he reached out to the owner of EnviroTech – a Saskatchewan-based liquid waste management company that was acquired by GFL in 2016 – who hired him back as a general laborer. 

Poppl quickly progressed in his first few months at EnviroTech from general laborer to working in the wash bay, which involved washing the trucks and detailing the trucks' interiors, sparking his interest in driving.

He started to train and practice driving the trucks when time allowed. Once he obtained his Class 3A license he was employed to drive various trucks and travel around the province.

After the incident with his ankle, Poppl was offered the dispatcher position as it was less physically demanding, and he could continue to work.

The dispatcher position was his introduction to the office environment at the Saskatoon, SK, branch. Through his strong work ethic and leadership skills, Poppl worked his way up the operational ladder into his first management position, which involved managing the vacuum truck team.

Poppl progressed into a regional operations role through management, becoming highly familiar with and developing strong working relationships with several regions. After a few years, he became his current position as director of operations for Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Poppl has showcased hard-work and determination through the years and has learned from various role models over his professional career.

“Never let pride get in the way of asking questions, I learn something new every day from our amazing teammates and grow because of them.” Poppl said. “I’m excited to continue my progression with GFL.”

From the beginning, Poppl has loved the work culture and highlights the importance of a supportive team.

“Working with the company and the people has brought me a lot of joy. I’ve had a lot of opportunities through the years and being part of a hardworking and fantastic team is one of the main reasons I’m still working here today,” Poppl said.

Outside of work Poppl loves to enjoy life by spending time golfing, being at the lakes, fishing and most importantly spending time with his family in Saskatoon.

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