Sandra Hanna SHANE BEVEL PHOTOGRAPHScotty Rogers proudly puts on a new uniform. After a career in the U.S. Air Force as a fighter pilot and a few years flying for a major commercial carrier, he understands the importance of professionalism. He respects his previous professions but today’s uniform comes with the dream of building one of the most respected businesses in Louisiana. Rogers dons the crisp blue and green colors of 1800GOTJUNK?.
After months of intense research and meticulous investigation, Rogers decided to commit his resources and redirect his career by acquiring the Northwest Louisiana Franchise of 1800GOTJUNK?. It’s a move the combat veteran describes as “one of my life’s best decisions, integral to my family and to my life goals of helping others and making a difference.” He ignited the engine to his new career in April and has hasn’t looked back.
What is 1800GOTJUNK? Simply put, it is the world’s largest junk removal service.
“The founding principles of the company are passion, integrity, professionalism and empathy,” Rogers says. “The U.S. Air Force helped me develop an incredible appreciation of the importance of professionalism. As a business owner, I now have the opportunity to emphasize and demand integrity, demonstrate genuine empathy and I have the ability to express passion in what I believe in.”
1800GOTJUNK? was far from the young fighter pilot’s mind when he was flying low and fast over the skies of a Germany still divided by the Berlin Wall. In the early 1980s, Lt. Colonel Rogers was entrusted with multi-million dollar jets and the responsibility of delivering a nuclear weapon if called upon by his country. His Air Force career took him all over the world, flying the skies of the Pacific Theater and European Theaters. He navigated the halls of the Pentagon – at one point serving as the U.S. Air Force liaison to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He was also among a handful of pilots hand-picked to fly and exploit captured enemy aircraft at a secret base in Nevada during the 1980s.
“For 20 years I lived my dream. I lived a life of adventure, excitement and it was an honor serving my country,” says Rogers.
Those days now seem part of another lifetime but the experiences have drawn many unexpected parallels to the world Rogers now navigates: the world of junk.
Rogers deeply believes in the importance of partnerships with the community. “I love northwest Louisiana and I want to be a catalyst for renewal, recycling and responsible growth,” he explains. “Public and private partnerships are pivotal to our success.”
As part of his commitment, his 1800GOTJUNK? franchise is in the process of rescuing a 100-year-old home in a historically under-utilized business district of Shreveport. He hopes his office will provide a seed of change within the community, inspiring others to the same level of shared community responsibility.
The response in northwest Louisiana to his franchise has been incredible. His business model is straightforward. Friendly, uniformed drivers call ahead and arrive on schedule; customers don’t lift a finger – except to point out where the junk is located. After the items are removed, his crew cleans up on site; the cost of the services is determined by the amount of room the junk takes up in the truck.
“I’m elated with the response to our business,” Rogers admits. “People are so happy to see us, and they all are personable – everyone has a junk story.”
He talks about the people he meets on the job with an infectious enthusiasm. Recently, he was sent to retrieve an old dishwasher from a tiny crawl space. Before his crew dropped the appliance off at the recyclers, they performed a final inspection. Hidden deep in its back corner was a sterling silver fork. The home owner was convinced the antique utensil belonged to the previous home owners. Rogers and his team are now investigating to find the rightful owners.
“Finding little treasures like that fork are a reminder that we are not just removing ‘stuff,’” says Rogers. “Everyday we deal with a little bit of history. It’s important that we remember that and treat every client and their belongings with respect.”
Rogers’ community activities and volunteerism are as diverse as the junk he picks up on the job. He and his Jack Russell Terrier, Mig (who loves to travel with him in his company trucks) are trained and registered Pet Partners with the Delta Society – providing animal assisted therapy to improve the health of others. He is an assistant Council Commissioner in the Norwela (Northwest Louisiana) Council of Boy Scouts, and a Certified Louisiana Master Gardener. Additionally, he serves as the board president of the Friends of the Barnwell Garden and Art Center in Shreveport – leading a successful private/public partnership with the City of Shreveport.
There has been one reoccurring theme throughout Rogers’ eclectic life – a theme of honor, empathy and an overwhelmingly desire to give back.
There is no question – under Rogers’ leadership 1800GOTJUNK? will be giving back much more than it hauls away.
Scotty Rogers lives in Shreveport with his wife, Donna, who’s also a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel and is currently a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. They have one son, Chris, who is a pre-med junior at Washington University in St. Louis and was recognized by Governor Blanco as one of Louisiana’s 2005 Young Heroes.