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  • Writer's pictureJeff Smith

Shawn’s story: Life on the street to a LOCAL leader

Cape Cod is full of amazing people, with truly fascinating stories. We started this series looking for local entrepreneurs willing to share their stories. The idea is to highlight the character and ambition that makes our community so unique. The story of how Shawn Delude brought Nauset Disposal from a single Toyota pick-up to the largest disposal company on the Cape is simply inspiring.

Walking into Nauset Disposal I quickly realized it was the definition of a local small business. Instantly two very friendly “guard dogs” and a professional staff welcomed me. Shawn and I sat down in his office, only a few steps away from the front door. The door was left open, and his staff could easily hear everything we discussed. I quickly learned that Shawn was a very proud, confident, passionate and humble individual. After the first question, I knew I was going to learn quite a bit from a successful business owner.

Shawn’s story begins as a kid on Cape Cod. At a young age Shawn’s parents moved the family to a religious cult in Orleans. After only a few years Shawn decided this was not going to be the life for him. By his own description, he decided to run away at the age of 15. Shawn stayed on the Cape where he finished high school and worked to put himself through Cape Cod Community College.

Growing up on the streets and providing for himself taught Shawn some of his most valuable lessons. He recalls collecting cans to buy his next meal, and decided he was going to do whatever it took to become successful. Shawn began working for Bayside Disposal because it was the best paying job with the most flexibility. He wasn’t sure the trash industry was going to be his career, but he knew he would never go back to his past. He also knows he will never be too proud to do whatever it takes to become successful.

Moving ahead to the early 2000’s Shawn decided it was time to open his own company. He knew the industry and believes in excellent customer service. His business focuses on taking care of his employees, customers, and environment equally. Starting his business wasn’t easy and came with plenty of challenges. One of the most difficult times in Shawn’s life came when he was building his current office. The funding for his business fell through and he was left on his own, again. He was crushed, and knew that nearly 25 employees were counting on him to provide for their families. Failing and closing down were never an option. Shawn did what he always has and found a way to complete the job. He scraped together money and finished building his office.

Running a small business comes with a great deal of stress, and is not for everyone. Entrepreneurs sacrifice a ton to create a successful business, and Shawn is no exception. He understands that creating this company has greatly affected his personal life, most notably the fact that he is still single at 45 years old. His personal time is also a significant sacrifice. He recalled a time when he was away with poor cell phone signal, and purchased a sat phone to communicate with his office.

It is not uncommon to miss out on sleep, and daily events are often recreated in vivid dreams. During the first 10 years, he was extremely concerned about finances, expansion, employees and customers. One example of the financial stresses he faces is the cost of each new hauler he acquires. Each hauler costs around $300,000 with additional costs for hiring drivers, daily operations and maintenance. These haulers make around 200 stops each day 5-6 days a weak.

Nauset Disposal is now the largest independent hauling fleet on Cape Cod, claiming nearly 40% of the market. When asked what makes Nauset Disposal better than his competition Shawn proudly referenced a picture of his fleet, pointing out how uniform his trucks are. He knows that presenting a professional image is the right way to run his business. Unlike his competition he decided to run his company with customers and the environment first, which he admits has cost him profit.

The environment is certainly a top priority for Shawn and Nauset. This comes from a love of the ocean. Shawn loves to sport fish and described how he has first hand experience with the effects of pollution. He was on a fishing trip when they caught a tuna that had swallowed the back of a lawn chair. He says his environmental contributions will be one of the main things he is remembered for. Shawn's future plans for Nauset include significant environmental improvements for the Cape and beyond.

Local business success is what this series is all about. Shawn said he would teach himself the importance of understanding his finances as a young man, and the impacts of spending and credit. Several mentors have influenced him and he strives to learn from everyone.

Charitable contributions are another admirable trait. Nauset proudly gives to local causes to help the local youth as well as the Cape and Islands United Way. With all the success Shawn has achieved he was equally excited to talk about the importance of giving back to those in need, preserving the environment and buying local goods and services. I was able to learn first-hand what using a local company can do. Knowing that when I do business with Nauset in the future the money I spend will be used in a responsible way that directly impacts my neighbors.

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