Jessica Atcheson plans to grow family waste management firm
When Gwendolyn Atcheson came up with the idea for a waste management business in Bermuda, women were virtually taboo in the industry.
So she and her husband, David Atcheson, named the business after him, David Atcheson Ltd, because that was more socially acceptable.
Sixty years later, the couple’s granddaughter, Jessica Atcheson took over the business, now called Atcheson Ltd.
“Not a whole lot has changed,” Ms Atcheson said. “Waste management is still a male-dominated industry.”
But Ms Atcheson has a few things going for her, namely determination and a great team.
“When people have given me the chance and looked beyond the stereotypes, I have proven myself,” she said.
“We have a really good team that supports me and believes in my vision, even though I am much younger than a lot of them. They go to bat for me every day, so I am just grateful for everyone taking the chance to get to know me.”
She bought the business at 29 Wellbottom Road, Southampton, from relatives in May 2021. She now manages 13 people and nine trash trucks.
“Atcheson Ltd is a full-service waste management company,” she said.
“We service commercial businesses, institutes, and some residential clients. We do anything from the hospital and the airport to local grocery stores to small offices to smaller clients who might be doing a yard clearing.”
Ms Atcheson and her parents, Gregory and Janice Atcheson, moved to Canada when she was little, shortly after her grandmother, Gwendolyn, died. Her grandfather, David, died in 2009.
She moved back to Bermuda with her 10-year-old daughter, Cali, a few years ago. Her sister and parents also returned and now work with her.
Previously, she was an executive assistant in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry in Toronto.
“I have worked in the trades industry with unionised environments and I have also worked in the financial services industry in Bermuda, and several other industries along the way,” she said.
She decided to go for it when Atcheson Ltd became available for purchase.
After taking it over, she worked on earning the respect of her team and forging relationships within the industry.
“There are now people that I can call and ask a question,” she said.
“And sometimes I pass business on to them, and they pass it on to me. I feel like that has been great. It is a bit of a boys’ club, but I am persistent.”
Now, her focus is on updating the company’s ageing fleet of trucks.
“We are looking to replace all of them with new ones and continue to expand,” Ms Atcheson said.
“We have two new trucks on the way, and we are expecting two more early next year.”
She wants to continue investing in the business and growing its capacity.
Atcheson Ltd recently expanded into the collection of waste cooking oil. She has been looking at global trends to see where waste management is headed.
“There have been so many advances made in the last few years,” she said. “We want to bring some more environmentally conscious programmes to Bermuda and offer that to the client base. The impact that we are leaving on the world is important.”
The pandemic taught her that waste management is an essential service.
Ms Atcheson said: “There will always be waste, but there will also always be better, cleaner and more efficient ways to do things.
“I would love for us, as a small island, to be seen on a global stage as doing the right thing, and being progressive in our environmental efforts.”
Settling back in Bermuda has been wonderful for her.
“Bermuda has the community feel that I wanted my daughter to grow up in,” Ms Atcheson said.
“I don’t think I would have been able to do this and have this type of impact, anywhere else in the world. It is a small community. People support each other.”
So far, it has not been challenging balancing her work at Atcheson Ltd with motherhood.
“We have amazing clients who have been with us for so long,” she said. “And I have some amazing mentors.
“Between my entire support system I am able to balance being a mom and a business woman. It has been great.”
For more information see www.atcheson.bm, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 238-8972.