“Two Calvin grads putting their education to waste.”
That’s the slogan Jason ’93 and Chad Stoub ’96 use for their company, Everkept Disposal, a residential trash, yard waste and recycling service.
“I feel lucky to be doing this,” Jason said.
Picking up garbage?
Maybe the brothers’ enthusiasm for the garbage business is easier to understand if you know that they grew up in it. Their father, Bill Stoub, owned Reliable Disposal, a garbage company in the Benton Harbor, Mich., area. Jason remembers driving garbage trucks on neighborhood streets at the age of 13. Later, it wasn’t so much that both wanted to be trash collectors; rather, they aspired to be business owners.
After graduation both went to work in the family business. Soon after, their father retired and sold his company to a large garbage corporation. Both brothers were unhappy working for the corporation, so Chad took a risk that would eventually put them in business together.
Chad quit his corporate job and purchased a small garbage company in Jenison, Mich. Once it was his, he dubbed the company Everkept Disposal, by which he meant that customers would always be kept in good, reliable service. He also tried to convince his older brother to quit the corporation, too, and join him as a partner in Everkept. But it would take two years before Jason was ready.
“I was afraid,” Jason admitted. “Fear has a lot to do with business.”
The brothers say they alternate fearful days. One day, Jason will be afraid of buying a $250,000 truck. The next day, Chad won’t want the risk.
There are other ways they complement each other, too. What drives one to frustration invigorates the other. “His hook is dealing with employees,” Chad said of Jason. “My hook is truck breakdowns.” So Jason works the office end of the business, and Chad takes care of the mechanical side.
But when help is short, both still drive a garbage truck. “Garbage has got to get picked up,” Chad said, “and if you don’t do it, customers will switch services. Trucks break constantly — sometimes the same truck twice in the same day — but you still have to pick up the trash.”
“That’s a high,” Jason added. “It’s a chance to step up and prove you can get the job done.”
With that mindset, Jason and Chad have grown Everkept from a one-truck operation to a fleet of seven trucks with robotic arms dumping trash carts at thousands of homes.
“It works because, for all our differences, we have the same vision,” Jason said. Chad explained: “That means sharing the same values when it comes to what kind of wealth we want to create, how much time we want with our families and what influence we want to have in our communities.”
It’s having a shared enterprise that makes them feel so lucky, Jason said. “It just happens that the enterprise is picking up trash.”
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