Talent comes to Waste Management from all areas and walks of life. It isn’t too often, however, that one of our great employees gets traded to us from the world of Major League Baseball. Route Manager Bret Prinz has been with WM since 2010. Before that, he played 13 professional baseball seasons, five at the major league level, for different organizations. With the 2018 MLB All-Star Game drawing lots of eyes on July 17, we look back at Bret’s baseball career, as well as his current time with us.
Bret was drafted out of junior college in ‘98 by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 18th round. He made his major league debut in 2001, the year the team won the World Series against the New York Yankees.
Though he’s traded in his baseball uniform for the familiar yellow & green of WM, Bret isn’t entirely done playing ball. A resident of Arizona, he considers himself officially and primarily a Diamondback alum, and goes back to alumni games and “Throwback Thursdays” every year. He even tosses out the first pitch sometimes, having done so most recently last month.
As for how he made the jump between such differing careers, it goes back to when Bret was playing in a Fountain Hills, Ariz., softball league which also happened to include WM Sales Rep Nick Fenimore. Bret laughs recalling that his wife “couldn’t take him being at home anymore.” When Nick mentioned an opening with WM, it seemed like a good idea.
In the years since with the company, Bret has done “a little bit of everything,” including being a customer service rep, dispatching, sales, and now back into operations as a route manager. He’s stuck around, he says, because he’s found several relatable aspects to his former career.
“Being a route manager with all the drivers in the mornings and afternoons is kind of like when I played. You get to go into the locker room to hang out, share stories, and laugh. As a route manager, you can have great conversations with the drivers – and we know when it’s time to go out there and get the job done.”
The idea of a team working together for a common goal is something Bret’s always believed in, and he sees that teamwork in action to this day. “In baseball, (the goal) was to win a game. At Waste Management, it’s to return back home safely to your loved ones and make sure all the customers are serviced.”
“The most important thing to me is the family atmosphere. I enjoyed it as an athlete, and that’s another appealing part of being with this company.”