Rod Proto serves as the Senior Advisor and Director of Waste Strategy at GPB Capital based in New York, NY.
Rod is a seasoned executive in the waste industry with over 30 years of experience in running and expanding companies throughout the world – from the U.S. to Europe to the Middle East.
Rod has led businesses from start-up to global success and everything in-between and believes in learning from mistakes.
He enjoys working with people of all experience and capability levels and believes that great people can accomplish great things when working as part of a team.
About Rod Proto
Rod Proto is a seasoned executive in the waste industry. Beginning in the 1980’s, he ran the domestic operation for a large, publicly-traded corporation. He was placed in charge of mobilizing and operating the company’s new presence in the middle east. Beginning without employees, he expanded operations to 6 middle eastern cities and grew the staff to over 35,000 in just 4 years. The business became completely self-sufficient through a combination of internal growth and municipal contracting. Rod was named President of European Business and he began building leading the company’s expansion into Europe applying the same successful strategy he employed in the Middle East. In just 5 short years, Rod had developed a viable business in Europe generating over 1.2 BB annually in business and headquartered in Netherlands.
In 1992, Rod retired to the United States. He took the position of President for a publicly-traded, start-up company whose primary focus was in the waste disposal business. Despite generating over 60MM in annual revenue, the company was struggling. Almost immediately, Rod developed a plan to turn the company around. He saw the need to shift the focus back to disposal and providing great service to individual, commercial, and residential customers thus bringing the company back into the mainstream of the solid waste business. The plan payed off as Rod’s vision and strategy proved to work again, as the company grew from 60MM to over 375MM in annual revenue in 3 years. The growth margins and growth rates were among the highest in the business at the time. Soon after, the company completed a merger with another, similar-sized company, with Rod serving as the President of the newly founded business. Rod headed even more growth, realizing over 3BB in annual revenue in under 3 years. The company then purchased one of the largest U.S.-based solid waste organizations. Combined, the new corporation was then generating over 13BB worldwide.
Rod has since become an entrepreneur but has always maintained his connections to the solid waste business. He has consulted with some of the largest private equity firms in the world on environmental and solid waste matters. Prior to this position with GPB Capital Rod held similar positions with two private equity firms leading them through organization, start up and ultimately liquidity. He has also served on the board of two non-solid waste publicly traded companies.
Rod has been very active both publicly and privately with a large variety of social activities from foster parenting to serving on the board of a local, private school. He has volunteered his time to mentor underprivileged children in high school, college, and has served as an officer for his local community association.
Should you ask about his interest in GPB, be prepared to hear about the incredible and dedicated staff and how much he appreciates them.
Advising and Leadership
With over 30 years of experience in advising or running companies of all sizes I have developed an outlook on business and the solid waste business in particular that I believe can really assist in moving GPB waste forward. Having made most of the mistakes known to man is a real advantage if you remember them, which I do.
As the person driving the strategy it is rewarding to work with staff of all experience and capability levels to bring out the best that they can be. Together we can build a world class company.
I have had the pleasure of beginning and running organizations in the solid waste business on a local and global basis. My international experience has helped me to understand that there are different approaches available to any problem and that management and leadership that gives people what “they” need rather than what you would need brings out the best.
It pays to understand what happens where service is actually rendered. In my case people understand that I have done their job and know what it takes.
This experience also facilitates communication at all levels of the company.
People ask me all the time what the biggest pitfalls are in the solid waste business. I tell them there are two things: first, not understanding your market; second, talking about EBITDA and not EBIT. For most the first point is simple and obvious. The second a bit more subtle. To me the important distinction between EBIT and EBITDA is that EBIT recognizes the capital employed. This is a capital intense business and to treat it otherwise could lead to problems.