Strong Women Get Dirty
By Rachel Shuster
Who said girls can’t get a little dirty? Certainly not Katherine Fairbanks, owner of DirtyGirl Disposal, a female-owned and operated waste disposal company.
DirtyGirl Disposal focuses on helping women break out of traditional jobs by providing mentoring and guidance that enables them to obtain their Commerical Driver’s License (CDL) (Class B). DirtyGirl Disposal strives to empower women and provide employment opportunities to work within the company as truck drivers.
DirtyGirl Disposal currently serves MetroWest and Central MA and specializes in the retrieval and delivery of roll-off containers from homes, small businesses and apartments. They also collect from areas like industrial, commercial and construction zones. The company also offers services inlcuding junk removal, waste disposal and recycling.
Fairbanks, who is a registered nurse, holds a degree in education, and is a mother of three, has been actively involved in the waste industry since 1990. “I was doing traditional female, behind- the- scene work ~ office type, secretarial work. At times I would go out on a truck and do things that wouldn’t get done,” she said.
In 2005, Fairbanks bought out the waste management company named Millbury Rubbish Removal which she owned with her now ex-husband. Though times were tough, Fairbanks had a new-found strength and power to move on and up.
During a routine route one summer day in 2006 with her daughter Rachel, Fairbanks notice that the two of them were covered in muck from collecting garbage and transferring it into their truck. It was that moment that they declared themselves “dirty girls,” and the idea for DirtyGirl Disposal was born.
After obtaining her CDL and seeking business advice, Fairbanks opened DirtyGirl Disposal in 2009 with the support of Rachel and older daughter Megan. “It was a learning curve at first. There weren’t any women truck drivers. In my research I found that women wanted to drive but weren’t given the same opportunities to do so as men,” she said.
DirtyGirl Disposal aims to stand out from other waste removal companies despite stiff competition. “We want to represent empowerment for women to do anything. You don’t need to be a tough girl to be a truck driver…embrace your femininity,” Fairbanks said.
DirtyGirl Disposal also puts out a DirtyGirl calendar. “The calendar is produced and sold at mall kiosks during the holiday season, sold on Amazon and our website, and given away to customers. Part of the proceeds from calendar sales go into a fund to help defer the cost of teaching women for their CDL class B with air brakes,” Fairbanks adds.
In the future Fairbanks, plans to open DirtyGirl Driving School. “I am in the process of becoming a professional driving instructor. Through this we also plan to offer financial assistance to women (and men!) who can’t afford to go through normal driving school,” Fairbank adds.
For more information, visit www.dirtygirldisposal.com and check them out on Facebook for updates and events.