Hauler Spotlight: F&L Construction, Inc.
Nate Morris, Rubicon’s Founder and CEO, interviewed Mr. Freddie Winston, the Founder of F&L Construction, Inc., a minority-owned general contracting, construction management, and solid waste and recycling services corporation.
In addition to running a great company entering its fourth decade, F&L manages the waste and recycling for the most famous house in the world: The White House. He also happens to be part of the Rubicon family of haulers. We are grateful for his time discussing his career history, servicing the White House and other government buildings, and the importance of family and faith that inspire his life every day.
Full interview on Rubicon’s LinkedIn
Nate Morris: How long have you been in business?
Freddie Winston: F&L Construction and Solid Waste, Inc. have been serving the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area since 1991.
NM: What kind of services do you provide?
FW: F&L is a full-service General Contractor performing large-scale construction projections, including site work and demolition, along with a very productive Solid Waste and Recycling Division. We just recently added Business Development to our portfolio. We acquired land and are now building a 5-story 100,000 square foot medical office building to be delivered around 2023.
NM: How large are your operations? Number of trucks, employees, etc.?
FW: F&L has around 50 trucks and 65 employees.
NM: Tell us about the story of F&L Construction. How was the company founded?
FW: I began my minority-owned firm at the age of 29. I started my career in construction working with my family, and I improved my craft over the years, working various odd jobs. I spent my summers learning the craft while I was doing school. After school I would go work at various construction companies building. At the early age of 19 I started managing cleaning companies as a part-time job. My full-time job was with Fairfax Hospital working at the engineering department from 1981-87. I left in 1987 and went to work with a few different companies that were doing government contracts in the construction field. I started my company in 1991, in Northern Virginia and focused primarily on providing carpentry services to local small businesses in my community. I spent many years growing and establishing my brand as reliable and affordable, emphasizing quality service.
Diverting waste from the landfill through recycling protects our planet and conserves our valuable resources.
After about 12 years working for the federal government, I became SBA (Small Business Administration) certified, allowing me to get sole-sourced contracts under the SBA program. After working in that program, I was awarded Business of the Year, and presented with an award by congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. I visited the White House and met with Marie Johns, the Administrator of the SBA, to talk about the program and how the program could be better for businesses in the program. It was a great experience for me, and I would like to say that any businesses that want to get certified, I would suggest before they get certified they should work with the government for 3-4 years to understand how the government works and operates before learning that hard lesson while enrolling in the program.
After about 20 years of doing business on a smaller scale, I decided to get my SBA certification, and things accelerated quickly. I went from being a one-man shop that sub-contracted work when needed to hiring and maintaining full-time staff.
After setting up a professional office with staff, an opportunity presented itself that allowed me to expand my company’s services from construction and add on a Solid Waste and Recycling division. This new division allowed me to bid and take on large-scale contracts with the Government’s General Services Administration, the White House, and the Justice Department, to name a few. The company’s accelerated growth combined with exemplary work ethic and community activism meant the company was nominated and received many awards. F&L was listed as a TOP 100 Minority Company, and I was awarded “Entrepreneur of the Year.” This afforded me the opportunity to be interviewed by Black Enterprise Business Report and more.
I’ve been blessed to be able to affect other people’s lives to afford them a job and opportunity.
NM: How long have you serviced the White House?
FW: F&L has serviced the White House for almost 25 years.
NM: What services do you provide for the White House?
FW: We provide solid waste removal and recycling. One of the most important things is the White House never in 20 something years had an administration that really cared about recycling, but they were every heavily on recycling during the Obama administration. I helped them design their recycling program.
NM: What special precautions do you have to take to ensure everyone’s security and safety at the White House?
FW: The drivers that service the White House are vetted and receive security clearance along with periodic internal safety training. These individuals are professionals, and they follow the White House protocols to ensure their safety and the safety of the White House and staff.
NM: We like to say that “No amount of money will make your waste more glamorous than anyone else’s.” Is that true? Is the garbage coming from the White House the same as waste coming from anywhere else?
FW: It’s indeed true that waste is waste regardless of where it’s coming from. The White House Waste is no different from waste from other places, but it does present a sense of pride and bragging rights for the drivers to say that they serve the White House.
NM: What other Iconic DC institutions do you service?
FW: We service the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Joint Base Andrews, Joint Base Bolling, Presidential Motorcade, the Commerce Department, The Kennedy Center, The Entertainment and Sports complex where the Washington Mystics play, and Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Haul of Fame Feature
We are proud of our hauler network. To honor them, we created the “Haul of Fame,” an interview series with our hauler partners who serve on the front lines of our industry every day.
Lakeshore Recycling Systems
“Lakeshore was founded on a mission of sustainability, much like Rubicon. We’re looking to change the way waste is handled from the moment it is put out at the curb to the moment it makes its way to one of our seven materials recovery facilities (MRFs).”
“At Veteran Compost, we have a saying: “homegrown by heroes.” We want to continue to focus on making high-quality compost, hiring veterans and their family members, and growing our collection and processing capacity.”
“Our process is entirely full circle. Operating a farm-based anaerobic digester means that when we collect organic waste from our clients, we are also supporting 2,000 dairy cows, and more than 3,000 acres of croplands. Our motto is “Food Full Circle,” and we live by it!”
Black Earth Compost
“Composting is at the intersection of several major problems. We have a waste crisis, and food waste accounts for a third of the waste. Food waste collection is getting attention now. It's obvious and low hanging fruit.”
San Antonio, TX
“Rubicon has been an incredible partner in supporting us as we've grown and scaled up, and we're looking forward to working with them as more companies recognize the importance of sending their organic waste to harness the power of compost rather than becoming a liability in the landfill!”
West Tex Disposal
“We take pride in our duties, and with Rubicon being a major industry player we look up to them as a role model, and are inspired by their mission to end waste.”
Champion Waste & Recycling Services
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
“We feel that the key is to educate our customers on the importance of reducing our waste, followed by the potential to reuse products and materials. Education and development of end markets is the single most important thing we can do as recyclers and processors.”