MEMBER CORNER – An Interview with Maria Rios, Founder and CEO of Nation Waste

Sep 16, 2021 | News

Today, Nation Waste is one of the fastest growing waste collection and recycling service companies in Texas, with headquarters and primary operations in Houston, and newly expanded operations in Austin.

Q: Why did you decide to become a business owner? And, why did you choose this industry?
A: Growing up I watched both of my parents own and operate their own businesses.  I believe the spirit of entrepreneurism is learned and contagious in my case. I saw what my parents had achieved through hard work and dedication. I wanted success and the satisfaction of knowing I had accomplished business success through my own hard work. I chose the waste removal and recycling industry because I saw that large companies were not able to respond quickly to specific, individual needs that small business had.
I recognized that small business owners did not have time to wait on scheduling and for their needs to be met on a large company’s time table. I knew I could fill this need with a personal touch. I understood small business owners relied on quick, customized service solutions in the waste industry.

I have recently partnered with IBM/Watson IoT to provide sensor based safety solutions. This addition seems odd to people that do not know the waste industry well. Some people have said it is like getting your haircut at a mechanic shop but those that intimately understand waste removal and recycling the marriage of safety of technology is genius! Safety is an important part of the waste removal industry and I am proud to have incorporated technology into my company.

Q: What was your mission when you started your c​ompany?
A: My mission when I began the company was to provide extreme customer service in servicing construction, demolition, and mom & pop companies.  I knew by focusing on customer service I could provide a brighter future for my family.

Q: What services or products do you offer?  What sets your business apart from others?
A: Nation Waste, Inc. provides roll off waste containers, recycling, and portable toilet services. Nation Safety Net provides sensory based safety solutions. NWI and NSN are hands down better at customer than the competition. As small a business owner I understand the need to be flexible and accommodating. I think of my employees like members of my own family.  We work together like a family to make our business successful. The family atmosphere carries over into how we treat our clients. We want to support our clients and celebrate success with them. We are able to respond to their needs quickly and efficiently.

Q: What are some of your company’s long term and short term goals?
A: Nation Waste, Inc. is the middle of an incredible time of growth and expansion.  I am so excited to be able to go expand to El Salvador and support my birth country through waste removal initiatives partnerships. I see the continued construction and growth in Houston being an incredible time for us to refocus on our roll off and portable toilet business succeed in bigger, better ways. Short term we will continue to be innovative in the ways we provide customer service.  Listening and responding quickly to our clients will always be our goal!

What would you do differently, if anything?
A: If I had it all to do over again I am not sure I would change much. I have celebrated many successes in my nearly 25 years in the waste industry. I have made some mistakes along the way as well.  Mistakes have been made as well. Mistakes however, are how you learn. Every business leader makes mistakes, debriefs from those mistakes and learns how to become more successful. If I had to change one thing, perhaps I would have trusted my business abilities and started Nation Waste sooner! It would be interesting to be able to have a conversation with myself 25 years ago.