Jo Daviess County refuse, recycling disposal company changing hands after more than 70 years

GALENA, Ill. — A Jo Daviess County refuse and recycling disposal company is changing hands after more than 70 years.

Montgomery Trucking plans to sell to Waste Connections, a national integrated waste management company. The deal is on track to be finalized by July 1.

Current co-owner Gordy Montgomery said customers should notice little to no change in services. Waste Connections plans to operate the business under the same name, and “all the employees that want to stay will stay.”

“When people look out their door, it’s still going to be Montgomery Trucking, still the same guys doing the same jobs they’ve been doing for years,” he said. “Going forward, the customers will be just fine.”

Gordy’s parents, Gordon and Ethel Montgomery, founded Montgomery Trucking in 1948. Gordy and his younger brother, Brian, began working at the company in the early 1980s and assumed ownership after their father’s death in 1992. They also have three older sisters, one of whom was involved in the business — her husband was a partner until he retired in 2015.

Gordy, now 57, said the decision to sell the business was motivated by declining health on the part of Brian, 55.

“He’s got a bad back, (and) he’s really just gotten to the point that he can’t do the physical labor that comes with the job,” Gordy said. “Last year, we started talking about it, and now things have gone forward and we’ve just ended up in the spot where we are selling.”

Waste Connections is one of the largest waste management companies in the country. Its holdings include several Illinois waste disposal companies, such as Gills Freeport Disposal in Freeport and Rock River Disposal in Rockford.

Gordy has had a positive experience working with Gills Freeport Disposal and believes Waste Connections “tries to keep the local feel” when they acquire local companies. He will remain on staff with Montgomery Trucking for three months after the sale to facilitate the transition.

Montgomery Trucking currently provides garbage and recycling services for 12 municipalities and associations in Jo Daviess County and northern Carroll County.

Galena City Administrator Mark Moran said the city has contracted with Montgomery Trucking for curbside garbage service since 1973 and for curbside recycling since the 1980s.

“I’ve worked with them for many years now, and they’ve been very dependable,” he said. “They’re accommodating (and) very community minded. Galena has a lot of unique needs, especially in the downtown where we have such an influx of visitors and big events, and Montgomery Trucking was always willing to go above and beyond to accommodate our needs.”

Galena’s current contracts with Montgomery Trucking do not expire until 2023, so the City Council needed to give consent to reassign the contracts to Waste Connections, which happened at the council’s May 24 meeting.

Gordy and Brian plan to retire following the sale. Gordy will miss the interaction with customers, employees and businesses, but he is proud of the high caliber of service his family has provided.

“I do believe we’ve been very fair and very good to our customers,” he said. “We tried really hard to give quality service, take care of problems or mistakes quickly when they happen. That’s been our calling card.”