LILLY SORENSEN owns the local franchise of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?  You may have seen their trucks driving around, but don’t know the great company which they represent.

I sure didn’t.

Lilly started her journey back in Ann Arbor, when she was looking for a job and joined up as a driver for the company.  Despite their pleas to keep her on, she ended up moving out here to Colorado to start a new life.

But the universe can be a surprising place.

She was offered a leadership position in the local franchise for Boulder, Larimer and Weld counties.  Shortly after, she ended up buying in as its owner.  Her base started in Boulder and she’s opened up an additional office in the Fort Collins area, which is how I got connected.

It’s not a complicated business:  They haul away your trash.

But that’s where it gets mighty interesting.  You see, it broke Lilly’s heart to see how much stuff ended up in the landfill.  Looking through all the refuse, she started seeing opportunities for reuse and recycling.

So she decided to address that.  She expanded her warehousing, trained people to sort through the used goods, and redirected to other purposes such as thrift shops and recycling centers.

It turns out that she led the company in this direction.  Which is admirable, actually, that the 1-800-GOT-JUNK? parent company is willing and supportive of this bottom-up innovation.

o2eYou can get a little sense for the culture of the parent, O2E Brands.

That stands for “Ordinary to Exceptional.”

But it’s not really about an unusual service.  Hauling junk is not particularly high tech, but it does take skill to do it as a successful business.

Far more important are the people.  Lilly has high standards for employee training and behavior, and is in the process of pulling together two separate teams into a common combined office with an expanded warehouse.

That’s the next challenge she’s focused on, helping her employees to come together as a combined, powerful, motivated team.  These folks need to deeply care about their jobs and the customers.

All to fulfill the vision: “We’re a junk hauling company that provides great customer service.”