A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Randy Reeder

A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Randy Reeder

Randy Reeder starts his day by answering phone calls and solving problems. As the superintendent of the City of Portage Street and Sanitation Department, Reeder finds unique ways to serve the community every day.

“We start each day at 7 a.m. sharp and we usually get our first phone call at 7:01 a.m. We service roughly 11,000 residential stops every week, Monday through Thursday,” said Reeder.

Reeder has been in this position for 10 years. Though it was stressful in the beginning, he now finds himself enjoying the work.

“It's stressful, but when you see that public service is all about just serving the public it becomes an exciting job,” Reeder said. “When someone calls up with an issue or situation you answer that phone call and you do everything to service those needs. We've always heard of customer service, but I've changed that over the past couple of years to ‘customer success.'"

The ‘customer success’ mindset is a large motivator for Reeder. Making people happy is part of what keeps him going even through a tough day or week.

“What motivates me are challenges in life, getting up and looking for solutions, and serving the public,” Reeder said. “I enjoy this job. It's a new challenge every day as we come to work and face the obstacles and just try to move through those hurdles in life. That’s what motivates me every morning: getting up and knowing that it's a fresh day and even though we may face situations in life, there's always a solution to those situations.”

Randy Reeder

A specifically difficult challenge the department has recently faced is the contamination of recycling bins. About 25% of households in the district recycle incorrectly, and the department has been working to correct or eliminate the issue. While it has been a struggle at times, Reeder finds excitement in finding a solution to the problem.

“Recycling is very important to the City of Portage. Knowing those policies, recycling correctly, and doing it the right way really helps out,” said Reeder.

There are about 50 employees under Reeder’s leadership. He’s grateful to lead such an inspiring team with many years of experience.

“It's been exciting. You're not dealing with an employee but you're dealing with an actual person. I believe our employees are some of the biggest assets to the city. I've added up the times of service between every employee and it's amazing. We nearly have 700 years of experience,” said Reeder.

When he’s not coming up with innovative solutions or building up team members, Reeder spends his time learning new skills and spending time with loved ones. Recently, he decided to dive into the world of ham radio.

“One of the new hobbies I've just gotten into is ham radio. Right now I’m studying to take my technician's license,” Reeder said.

Ham radio, also referred to as amateur radio, provides a way for amateur radio operators to communicate with each other from anywhere in the world, and can be helpful in times of distress. Prospective operators must take a test in order to receive an operating license. Licenses are required to communicate on the air.

Aside from learning the requirements of operating a ham radio, Reeder enjoys camping and spending time with his family.

Working in sanitation is often a thankless job, but for Reeder, the lack of recognition is almost an added bonus.

“I just do my job. I don't want any recognition or a pat on the back. When someone tells me to do a job, I just try and do it to the best of my ability,” said Reeder.

If you are in need of information or services from the Streets and Sanitation Department, visit www.portagein.gov/180/Streets-Sanitation or email psd@portage-in.com.