Innovation Gets Honored: Rehrig Pacific’s Derick Foster Is Chosen for Waste360’s 40 Under 40
Rehrig Pacific has long been a leader in industries including packaging, pallets, waste carts and shipping logistics, and innovation is always a top priority. A pallet is never just a pallet; beverage shells are designed for strength, recyclability and to look good in the store. RFID chips make waste carts trackable to reduce inventory loss and gauge consumer participation in municipal programs. At Rehrig Pacific, there’s no such thing as “good enough.” As Environmental Project Leader and Sr. Industrial Designer, Derick Foster brings the Rehrig Pacific ethos to life everyday. But going from being an excellent employee to being an award-winning one takes more than talent and brains. It also takes passion and a relentless curiosity. Crowned a member of , Derick numbers among the top professionals in the waste and recycling industries in the United States. “I was overwhelmed with joy, and blown away from the response I got from my peers and coworkers within the company,” Derick said. Derick believes his work for a Toronto organic waste program four years ago laid the groundwork for his big win at Waste360. “The City of Toronto had an organics program for food waste, but it wasn’t working. They put out a request for a new raccoon-resistant container. We did a lot of studying and research and prototyping and watching raccoons at 1 in the morning,” Derick says. Derick and his team pursued solutions in the spirit of innovation at the heart of all Rehrig Pacific projects, developing a container with a latch that’s easy for people to open but beyond the abilities of even the cleverest raccoon. But Derick also brought an artist’s eye to the task. “We came up with a really unique solution. We made it look sexy- it had a very modern and sleek look to it. When you looked at it, it caught your eye and made you want to examine it further,” Derick said. “If people want to put their hands on it, that’s a good thing.” Derick indicates that a truly good design is a combination of artistry and engineering. On the strength of the design, Rehrig Pacific won the award for the contract, producing half a million carts for the program. “The City of Toronto wrote a really nice letter and were one of the groups that lobbied for me in 40 under 40,” said Derick. Rehrig Pacific has established itself as a leader in multiple industries, earning a well-deserved reputation for innovation. Hundreds of companies and municipalities count on the excellence, reliability and cleverness of Rehrig Pacific products. But the huge scope of the company’s products and services never overshadows the personal element. As many artists and designers can attest, making something look right and feel right and work right can create a deep sense of fulfillment. “It’s rewarding to see something you designed improve people’s lives, even in a small way. Did I make someone happy today?” Derick said. “I love designing products. People say they can see the passion in my work, the focus and dedication.” And of course, at the end it is personal passions that make for a great company and a great place to work. “I’m truly blessed to love what I do every day and work for such a unique and amazing company like Rehrig. I look forward to what the future brings for us,” said Derick. Being honored by Waste360’s 40 Under 40 is a major accomplishment, and not likely to be the only one in Derick’s career. And as always, the future beckons.