The Employee Every Employer Wants

Innovative, dedicated worker earns recognition from industry association
The Employee Every Employer Wants
James Coon, winner of the PSAI Service Tech of the Year honor earlier this year.

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“I have been with the company since 1989; I have seen several employees come and go, but none the caliber of James.”

That’s what Karen Lewis, manager of Bill’s Plumbing and Sanikan in Sequim, Washington, says about James Coon, the winner of the PSAI Service Tech of the Year honor earlier this year.

Lewis and company owner Judy Kimler nominated Coon for the honor.

“I was pretty ecstatic about it,” says Coon, 43. “It’s an honor for me to get an honor like this. I feel there are probably so many people out there that deserve it.”

Coon, who has worked for the company since 2008, is supervisor of the portable restroom division of the business. Bill’s Plumbing and Sanikan, which has about 750 units, is located on the Strait of Juan Defuca in Washington state, about 17 miles from Canada.

While Coon has only worked in the industry for eight years, his previous job prepared him well for the meticulous nature of his work. Coon previously worked as detail supervisor for an RV company, where he got the vehicles ready for customers to take home. “We’d spruce them up,” says Coon. “I like to make sure everything is covered.”

He brings that same level of commitment to his work at Bill’s. “I’m a pretty detail-oriented person,” he admits.

“I like being in this industry because of the ‘need,’” he says, acknowledging, “It’s not for everyone. When you get in and do this job, there are so many intricacies. I would like the opportunity to show new guys. It’s really hard work, but it’s a really important job to do.”

Lewis agrees that Coon’s passion for his career shows in his work and his attitude. “We are extremely grateful for James’ work ethic and dedication,” she says. “He is the employee that every employer wants. The portable restroom business is not one that a lot of people get excited about; but when you talk to James, you will hear it in his voice just how excited he is to be offering a service to our customers, how he always puts quality before anything else.”

Coon oversees the portable restroom operations, which service Clallam and Jefferson counties, mostly with special events and construction. “Between May and about September, there’s usually something going on,” Coon says. They also service the busy Port Angeles, where cruise ships dock.

Coon has also created a special innovation to help save the company’s vacuum hoses from clogging. He created a “doggie trash can” with a pipe top (that prevents other waste from entering). Prior to making these available, Coon says, people would throw the bags filled with dog waste in the portable restrooms, leading to clogged vacuum hoses. “My guys that service the units said that people use them all the time,” says Coon, adding, “We haven’t patented it yet … but you never know!”

Coon, who says he plans to retire in the waste management business, was so thrilled to win his award that he went one step further — he contacted the runner-up in his service tech category.

While he didn’t get a chance to meet runner-up Thomas Horne (of Mr. John/Russell Reid of Keasbey, New Jersey), Coon says he felt compelled to write him a short note.

“This job that we do is not for everyone and takes much patience and attention to detail. … It’s hard to find a worker that cares and is passionate about what they do these days. … Congrats to you. … Keep up the great work you do.”


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