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Landfill employee wins state award

@Photo CUTLINE:Billy Queen holds the plaque he received at the Solid Waste Association of North America's 2012 Road-E-O. Behind him is the roll-off truck he drives for Newton County Landfill. He was required to drive a similar truck through an obstacle course and judged on speed and performance during the competition. - Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

@Photo CUTLINE:Billy Queen holds the plaque he received at the Solid Waste Association of North America's 2012 Road-E-O. Behind him is the roll-off truck he drives for Newton County Landfill. He was required to drive a similar truck through an obstacle course and judged on speed and performance during the competition. - Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

COVINGTON -- When you're at your local neighborhood recycling center and you encounter landfill employee Billy Queen making his daily rounds, be sure to shake his hand and give him a warm "Congratulations." Turns out, Queen is one of the top roll-off truck drivers in the state, as evidenced by his win in a recent competition hosted by the Solid Waste Association of North America.

Queen placed third in SWANA's 2012 Road-E-O held June 6 in Dublin. Competitors drive various pieces of equipment around an obstacle course and perform skills like parallel parking, and are judged on speed as well as performance. Queen is a CDL truck driver for the landfill and drives a 27,000-pound roll-off truck, hauling open-topped Dumpsters from the recycling centers to the landfill and back.

This was Queen's first time participating in the Road-E-O and the second consecutive year Newton County Landfill has been represented. Landfill Executive Director James Peters said, "It's great to get the guys down there to show their stuff."

Queen has worked at the landfill for nearly a year and a half and previously worked for Jimmy Harris Trucking for 16 years, where he drove a dump truck and then a roll-off truck. At that time, he worked in Atlanta, where the job was much more dangerous. One of his co-workers once found a dead body in the Dumpster he was hauling and Queen said he was shot at several times by residents who weren't happy about the noise his truck was making. Things are tamer in Newton, he said.

"I like the people I work with; I like not having to go out of the county or if I do, just barely out of the county," he said, adding that he especially enjoys meeting citizens at the recycling centers.

Queen offered his plaque from the Road-E-O to be displayed at the landfill office, rather than take it home.

"I figured if employees go to the Road-E-O and win and leave it here it would be a lasting memory of them when they retire," he said.

Peters said he intends to have a landfill employee to represent Newton at next year's event.

"It makes me proud we've got somebody who participated in the state event and came out with a plaque," he said. "It was a well-represented deal."