Ashland Sanitary founder retires

Gary Rigotti has spent four decades doing the town's dirty work. Now the co-owner of Ashland Sanitary and Recycling is ready to move on.

Rigotti announced his resignation from the local waste management company last week, citing a need to take things easier after 42 years of service to the community.

"At times I've felt sad about it," Rigotti said, "but it's best for me to move on. I feel comfortable with it."

Rigotti also announced a proposal that would sell the rights of Ashland Sanitary and Recycling to a San Francisco-based company, Recology, which distributes its waste management services throughout Northern California and Nevada. He and fellow co-owner Russ Chapman worked on a sales deal, which must be authorized by the city. Chapman will stay on with the company.

Rigotti said both decisions — retiring and selling the company — were difficult ones. But in the end he said he did what he thought was best for the town.

"I have to admit, I have mixed emotions about it," he said. "I feel sad about it, but it's time for me to move on."

Pat Dockwiller has worked alongside Rigotti his entire career. As office manager, Dockwiller has shared a small office with him for years. She called Rigotti "one of the most honest, caring people" she has ever known.

"We've worked together for 42 years," Dockwiller said. "He's done so much around here. We're all going to miss him terribly."

Rigotti joined Ashland Sanitary in 1967, while the business was still in its infancy. He helped guide the company as it expanded its services into Talent and surrounding communities, and struck sponsorship deals throughout his tenure to support the SOU Foundation, Chamber of Commerce, Ashland High School arts and athletics programs, among others.

His business worked with the city to open the Ashland Recycling Center in the early 1990s. Increasing the quality of life for residents was a central part of Rigotti's commitment to Ashland Sanitary.

"In 42 years that I've served Ashland, Talent and surrounding communities in Jackson County, it has been my pleasure to serve each of them."

He says he's now looking forward to a little relaxation before taking some time to travel.

"And I'll play some golf," he said.

Rigotti entered the sanitation business as small business owner in the 1960s, and leaves it a big success in 2009. He attributes that success to the efforts of those who worked with him to achieve it.

"This whole company has been like a family to me," he said. "All the people who have worked for us have been like brothers and sisters."

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