Tom Van Weelden
Tom Van Weelden started working for his father’s garbage company in 1968 at the age of 14, washing trucks and collecting trash. He was a college student when the company was sold to Waste Management, Inc., which then hired him to help during summers and breaks. As a junior in college, in 1975, he founded Vermillion Waste Systems in Southern, Illinois, and over the course of several years expanded the two-truck collection company to include four landfills. In 1989, after forming the Environmental Development Corp., he merged the company with several other companies to form Allied Waste Industries. In 1995, under his leadership, Allied acquired the waste portion of Laidlaw Transportation and in 1999, acquired BFI, taking the company’s worth from 3 to about 9 billion dollars and significantly increasing the number of employees. He recently stepped down as Allied’s President and CEO after making the company the second largest, publicly-traded, waste operation in the U.S. He is currently on the Board of Visitors at Pepperdine University.