A return to the Wichita trash business: ‘It’s just something that gets in your blood’


It turns out the trash business, though perhaps unappealing to some, is just like any other business with lifelong workers who love what they do. Just ask Mark Raccuglia.

“It’s just something that gets in your blood,” says the longtime trash hauler.

That’s why he and his wife, April, are buying Air Capital Waste and Waste Link to create what they say will be the largest locally-owned, family-operated trash business in the Wichita area.

“My goal is to build this up long term,” Mark Raccuglia says. “We want to have a regional impact, so not just Wichita.”

He started Wichita Sanitation “forever ago” and then sold it to Waste Connections.

He got into the real estate business in Kansas City but missed trash.

“I kind of regretted getting out of it,” Raccuglia says. “Wanted to be back in it.”

Part of his thinking was his five children.

“The big thing for me is work ethic,” Raccuglia says. “It’s a whole lot easier to show that than tell a kid that.”

He bought two small west-side trash companies, which Raccuglia says he planned to keep and run, but then he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Not knowing his future, he says he decided to sell the businesses, once again to Waste Connections.

The cancer ended up being “very treatable,” he says, so that’s why he’s buying back into the business.

The purchases should close late this month, but the Raccuglias have already taken over operations of both companies.

To be more efficient, the companies’ routes will merge, so customers will be notified if their service days change. Raccuglia says he’ll have an extra truck to make rounds for people who miss their new days.

“It’s one of those things where you know people are going to forget,” he says. “We do that for quite a while.”

The Raccuglias will keep the Air Capital and Waste Link names for now and debut a new name in the new year.

“We’ve got a really good niche here,” Mark Raccuglia says. “There’s so few independents.”

He says Waste Connections should not be looking for him to sell his new companies in a few years.

“For me, it’s kind of a do-over. I wanted to be back in the business and wanted to be in it long term.”

Written By Carrie Rengers for the Wichita Eagle
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