GOODWorks RECYCLE was conceived in February, 2007 by Simon Parker, while a fifth grader at Fairyland School, as a means to earn money for bike racing. His older brother, Wells (also a cyclist and eighth grader at McCallie School), joined Simon later that month. Four customers
agreed to the terms and were serviced the first week of March 2007. After lining up six more households from Rainbow Drive and around the neighborhood, the brothers enlisted the help of their father to drive the family Safari Van to provide the curbside pick-ups. The boys informally
named the enterprise, Rambo Recycling and the venture started to grow.
At the end of March 250 lbs of material was collected and turned over to The Orange Grove Center.
By July, the enterprise had grown to 51 customers (1200%). Wells and his father, Jenks, made an appointment with the Small Business Development Center to get ideas on how to handle accounting and growth issues that became apparent quickly. The Safari Van was exchanged for a truck, the Gothard family bartered for the use of their trailer, software was bought and the family computer was never the same again. Jenks took a leave of absence from his job at HCA and helped the brothers organize the project in order to handle the increase in business. The work quickly became a microcosm for real life – humbling and often thankless but it was providing income while enabling a greater good.
By the start of school in August, the boys collected and contributed an estimated 4.5 tons of material to the Orange Grove Center. Responding to the community’s suggestion for a full time program, it was decided to continue the service year round. By the end of 2007, and with more than
60 customers participating, just under 12 tons or 690 cubic yards of reusable material from the Municipal Solid Waste stream was removed.
On January 1, 2008, the business was renamed GOODWorks RECYCLE and its first employee, Jodi Gregory, was hired to mange the company’s Account Receivables and Payables. Later that month, Jenks resigned from HCA and began managing full time. In June 2008,
GOODWorks RECYCLE registered as a Georgia Limited Liability Company with the family dividing ownership and responsibilities according to its operating agreement. Again, the boys worked through the summer taking an active part in the company’s direction and expansion – the first being curbside pick-up in Tennessee. Second, as of August 1st, 2008, GOODWorks RECYCLE and the Chattanooga Community Kitchen entered into a partnership created to serve both communities. Lookout Mountain’s recyclables contributed to the funding of the Kitchen’s Homeless Employment and Life Skills Program (HELP 2) which developed to provide basic work skills, assistance with both job placement and housing to homeless individuals and families.
GOODWorks RECYCLE, in return, agrees serve as a “transitional” part-time employer providing stable employment until the client is able to move up and beyond. GOODWorks RECYCLE hired its second employee, through HELP 2 on September 15th, 2009. As a result from the first eighteen months, 69, 500 pounds of reusable material was diverted from the landfill.