First Class

Winter 2015

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20 l FIRST CLASSCLASS california waste solutions of CWS is rooted in very humble begin- nings. David Duong is a member of a promi- nent and successful family that owned and operated paper mills in South Vietnam into the 1970s. But war forced the Duong family out of Saigon with little but the clothing they wore. Those who found their way onto boats of varying seaworthiness sailed overseas to whatever port would take them, and the Duongs were among them. They eventually landed in the California bay area and found shelter in San Francisco's Tenderloin, a neigh- borhood that housed many Vietnamese refugees. Survival in a new culture and country offered numerous challenges, but Duong took particular interest in the trash he found – or what American society often considered trash. "He couldn't believe people actu- ally threw cardboard and fiber away, that it wasn't a valued commodity," says Corona. "So he started a new fam- ily enterprise, going out and collecting it from local businesses." Soon his modest business grew enough to support the development of a small fleet of pickup trucks. Then he invested in a buy-back center, where he could process the materials and sell them to the mills that recycled such material and used it to manufacture new materials. Some of those recyclables he collected would, in fact, be soon remarketed to the very mills his family once owned in Vietnam. Impressed by Duong's industrious- ness, the City of Oakland invited him to bid on its recycling operations. And once awarded the City's work in the 1990s, Duong knew the next step would be to upgrade his fleet. And by 2000, the first Peterbilts had begun making their way into CWS oper- ations. Meanwhile, Duong continued to innovate new features in the manner in which he served customers. For example, CWS was one of the first nationwide to provide single-stream collection and pro- cessing services to its customers. "It's really just a great American story," says Corona. "The Duongs were proud to become Americans, contribute, succeed and help lift other people. CWS has grown to greater than 250 dedicated employees. "And with a great American brand like Peterbilt representing CWS, we're very proud of that alliance. It's a brand of great quality, craftsmanship, work- manship, innovation, safety, design, fit, finish — we take a lot of pride in our equipment, and so do the cities of San Jose and Oakland." Corona has seen and employed other equipment but reports that the Model 320's performance has resulted directly in it leading the CWS fleet platform. "We need to ensure that the equip- ment we operate provides the best image A Peterbilt Model 320 collects recyclables for CWS on a street near downtown Oakland, Calif. The company performs the same services in San Jose. "We test Peterbilt. We want to make sure we're getting the best products, service and value. And I'm convinced we are."

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