When making plans in life, it’s not uncommon to hear about the importance of the “two pictures”: big and small. Tricky thing is, it’s hard to look at both at the same time. It’s hard to examine the details of the situation while simultaneously conceiving of its infinite potential magnitude. We can look at the entire world, and dedicate our lives to watching the gross changes in it, or we can look into one of the many tiny minutae comprising it. It's in the idiom, "I cannot see the forest for the trees." We are human and we are limited in our vision. Why, to see both pictures at once, you’d need a pair of special eyes, one with a jeweler’s loupe and the other with an ultra-wide fisheye lens. They’d be better than eagle eyes. They’d be better than binoculars or telescopes. The Devil is in the details after all. Of course, no one really has those eyes. Actually, someone does. His name is Bill Morris. He’s one of the co-founders of Blue Star Recyclers. He sees everything. He’s the man with the magic eyes.
Those eyes aren’t limited to business. And those eyes aren’t Bill’s only valuable organ. Bill Morris has a miraculous amount of heart. In 2008, he used his magic eyes and saw something he needed to change. In 2008 he discovered a small group of young men with autism who possessed innate aptitude for work involved in recycling electronics. Yet, like over 80% of people with disabilities - had no opportunities for meaningful employment. He also discovered less than 20% of electronics were ethically recycled, even though all the materials were fully recyclable, and could be hazardous if disposed of improperly. Here was an opportunity to solve two big problems with one solution, so in 2009 Bill co-founded Blue Star Recyclers with the Fagnant family, with a mission of recycling electronics to create jobs for people with disAbilities. Today Blue Star employs over 40 people in their Colorado Springs, Denver, and Boulder operations, and has recycled over 15 million pounds of electronics.
The heart part? Bill’s biggest motivation is helping people with developmental disabilities live, work and play the way the rest of us take for granted. The environmental impact is valuable too, but his pride and joy comes from leading what he calls “the finest team of people I have ever served with.” People come first for Bill Morris, and while he’s proud of the triple bottom line Blue Star has developed, it’s the service for his fellow man that means the most. He describes it as a “giving life.” If you meet the man, if you see his rapport with his co-workers, you’ll see the love that’s there. Bill says, in his Blue Star team profile, “I am the luckiest guy I know — to love your work and your team this much while helping our community, our local economy, and our planet."
Team, family, community, economy, and planet. That’s the small picture, the big picture and all the pictures in between. With his magic eyes, Bill Morris sees all of it in crystal clarity. And with a heart like his, we wouldn’t be surprised if he took Blue Star’s mission national. Oh, wait. In 2018, with support from Rotary International and Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, Blue Star launched their E3 Program to replicate their mission and model in other cities around the US and abroad. The biggest picture: Someday, every city will use the electronic waste it produces to create meaningful employment for anyone with a desire to work.
LINK: BLUE STAR RECYCLERS