As the new director of production and recycling at Sunflower Diversified Services, Mandy Grizzell is updating recycling procedures and seeking new business contracts for the non-profit agency’s manufacturing plant.
Sunflower serves children and adults with developmental disabilities and delays in central Kansas.
Grizzell has worked in both the production and recycling operations for three years and is “off and running” in her new leadership position; she previously was interim director.
“My short-term goals are to get everything cleaned up outside where some recyclable materials have littered the area,” Grizzell said. “We have been working steadily on this since early this year and are making great progress.
“We work extra hours by coming in on Saturday mornings and staying late at least one day a week. We will keep going until the job is done.”
Grizzell expressed her appreciation to local residents who have donated equipment such as loaders and tractors to help with this clean-up effort.
“We also have added and replaced fencing,” she noted. “And we are hoping for state grant money to buy new storage containers.”
Sunflower has applied to the Kansas Department of Health & Environment for the grant. Two years ago, KDHE helped finance a baler and last year it was a forklift.
The recycling operation employs approximately 25 Sunflower clients, while about 60 work on a regular basis at the manufacturing plant.
“Since we always want to offer more job opportunities at the plant, we are seeking more contracts with local and area businesses,” Grizzell said. “Packaging and assembly tasks are especially attractive to us.”
As the new director, the categories of her responsibilities include: job scheduling; inventory; equipment; facilities; quality assurance; customer service; and safety.
Grizzell, originally from Lewis, earned a legal secretary associate’s degree from Pratt Community College and a grant-writing certificate from Fort Hays State University. She also has been employed as a certified nurse’s aide and does volunteer clerical work for the Macksville Fire Department.
“This new position at Sunflower is very special to me,” Grizzell said. “I love helping clients and the teamwork I share with staff members. They are amazing; it feels like a family here. I would encourage anyone to work for Sunflower.”
Shelby Zuniga, Sunflower executive director, said “Mandy is beyond awesome. She is multi-talented and will tackle anything, including running the forklift and baler. Mandy began to make changes months ago to help clean up recycling debris.
“It is obvious she loves working with clients and is willing to step and help her co-workers,” Zuniga added. “Mandy is a perfect fit for this job.”
Sunflower Recycling can no longer accept non-corrugated chip board, which is the thinner, one-ply cardboard such as that used in breakfast cereal boxes.
“This is 100 percent because of the current market,” Zuniga explained. “If we would accept it, we would have to pay to dispose of it. We hope the market will get better later this year.”
The good news, she added, is that Sunflower now accepts No. 2 plastics such as laundry detergent and coffee containers.
For a newly updated list of accepted and not-accepted items, visit Sunflower’s Facebook page or website, www.sunflowerdiv.com.
Zuniga also noted that Quincy Recycling of Quincy, Ill., is the new recycling broker working with Sunflower. “They work with processing mills from Colorado to the Appalachian Mountains and we are adapting to new procedures. We worked with Sonoco’s Hutchinson location for years and years but it closed.”
Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. It is in its 58th year.