Street Smart: Montgomery, Alabama
Welcome to Rubicon’s interview series, where we sat down with important city officials from one of our smart cities to talk about their city, their commitment to sustainable development, and how they can work with us to accomplish our wasteful mission.
Todd Strange is the 56th mayor of Montgomery, Alabama. In this position from 2009 to 2019, in July of this year, the City of Montgomery, under the leadership of Mayor Strange, chose Rubicon to formally implement smart city solutions to help improve the residential and commercial waste and recycling services for its more than 200,000 citizens .
Mayor Strange sat down with Rubicon before leaving office to talk about the city he loves and his long-term legacy of street wisdom.
What do you think is the most unique quality of your city? In short, what makes Montgomery so great?
Mayor Strange: Our partnership. Collaboration is like the currency of Montgomery and the river region. Whether it’s working with regional utilities, businesses, and job creators, our defense community at Maxwell-Gant Air Force Base and the 187th Fighter Wing (now home of F35!) at Denneli Airport, or educators, we Both strive to establish strong partnerships. These partners each bring unique assets, all of which make us a leader in the field of smart cities. Alabama Power's investment in optical fiber, the launch of Montgomery Internet Exchange, and the use of the foresight of sustainable solution providers such as Rubicon have created a successful atmosphere for Montgomery's high-tech revolution.
Does your city set specific sustainability and circular economy goals?
Mayor Strange: We have. In addition to working with Rubicon to achieve this goal, we recently restarted Advanced Recycling in Montgomery. RePower South will now manage the operation of the Montgomery recycling and recycling facility. This state-of-the-art facility not only extends the life of our landfill by transferring waste, but also ensures 100% participation of residents in the recycling program. When I first took office, several cabinet members and I visited the landfill, but saw a sea of garbage bags. We quickly realized that the old method would not work, just as many cities have only discovered now. Because we are passionate about solving problems through innovation, we bet on a new technology that can sort, recycle, and convert waste into renewable energy. Our residents absolutely don't need anything. The city ultimately saves precious resources while protecting the environment. Rubicon and its solutions are now largely incorporated into our overall sustainability strategy by helping the health sector eliminate waste.
What do you think of the relationship between smart cities and the sustainable development movement?
Mayor Strange: Becoming a smart city means becoming a sustainable city, whether it is implementing sustainable operations to better serve taxpayers and protect resources, or finding ways to reduce emissions and waste. Smart, sustainable policies and initiatives help Montgomery use technology and efficiency to attract new development opportunities and improve our overall quality of life.
How do you develop an effective public-private partnership to drive positive change in your city?
Mayor Qiwei: Success breeds success, and the result of success comes from the foundation of success. A willingness to listen to new ideas, re-evaluate existing businesses, and redefine the future are key steps in creating the most effective public-private partnership to drive positive change. When we first contacted Rubicon, our city service team and the leadership of Rubicon were willing to pilot projects for mutual benefit for both parties, and the result was huge gains. It also opened a new era of co-innovation for our cities, and we will continue to make progress in smart city strategies with our regional and national partners. Of course, when something does not produce the expected results, you will only fail and gain more experience; but we have found that as long as you are open to improving the organization through new partnerships and ideas, your chances of success are It will be much higher than failure.
Does banning the import of recyclable materials to multiple Southeast Asian countries affect the recycling program in your city?
Mayor Strange: A few years ago, we saw the transformation of the recycling industry and worked hard to find an operator of our advanced recycling facilities, who can not only withstand the storm, but also thrive in the new environment of the industry. Our recycling program converts municipal waste into renewable energy for regional buyers. In doing so, we have seen success at all levels.
How does Rubicon's mission to end waste match your city's vision?
Mayor Strange: Rubicon’s mission to eliminate waste is meaningful, while still making money. Protecting resources and extending the life of the landfill is a simple decision. We take all necessary measures to achieve these two goals. Rubicon's innovative solutions and commitment to waste elimination, coupled with the success of our recycling and recycling facilities, have resulted in substantial savings. Not only that, but we feel that our communities have only just begun to see the increase in the quality of life and economic opportunities that come with a renewed focus on sustainability and resilience.
How can using Rubicon's technology in your fleet of abandoned vehicles help your city?
Mayor Strange: Incorporating Rubicon's technology into the sanitation process will greatly simplify our operations. This technology has fine-tuned our processes to provide a more efficient and effective fleet. We found that Rubicon's technology empowers our hard-working employees through its ease of use, enhanced sense of responsibility, and ability to reduce time-wasting details in daily work.With these new innovative systems, our team can easily optimize routes, keep up with the pace of vehicle maintenance, and better predict problems along the way. In addition, our investment in Rubicon technology will save taxpayers a lot of equipment and maintenance costs. It's like treating a cold before it turns into pneumonia: the ability to closely track the daily wear and tear of our trucks and unplanned maintenance needs can prevent the sticker shock of buying new trucks or equipment due to catastrophic and unexpected failures.
Partly because of your use of Rubicon technology, has the public's perception of waste and recycling services in your city changed?
Mayor Strange: We think so. The public values Montgomery as the leader of the smart city movement. Rubicon's partnership has played a huge role in this success. We look forward to continuing this partnership in the next few years, as we will continue to innovate together and plan a blueprint for the development of a truly sustainable and smart city.
Editor’s note: After ten years under the leadership of Mayor Todd Strange, the mayor of Montgomery, Steven Reed The 57th mayor of the city. As the probate judge in Montgomery County, Rubicon has a good track record in using technology to further innovate government. He looks forward to strengthening our partnership with the Mayor of Reed and the potential of Montgomery.
Michael Allegretti is Rubicon's Chief Strategy Officer. In order to stay ahead of the new global partnerships and cooperation announced by Rubicon, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or contact us immediately.