Source: Gregory Roberts, Seattle Business, November 2011. CleanScapes CEO Chris Martin takes garbage out of the alley and into the mainstream consciousness.
SEATTLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE EDITOR’S NOTE: This story from our November issue was written and edited before CleanScapes announced it was being acquired by San Francisco-based Recology for $66 million. CEO Chris Martin says the company will continue in Washington under the CleanScapes name and the management team will remain intact.
While growing up in the leafy village of Millbrook, New York, in the Hudson River Valley 90 minutes from Manhattan, Chris Martin didn’t give a lot of thought to his future. If anything, he figured he’d end up in journalism like his father, a senior editor at Newsweek, and his mom, a former editor at The New York Times.
For sure, he didn’t imagine a role as the rising garbage magnate of Western Washington. But that’s pretty much what he is: His Seattle company, CleanScapes, recently signed with the city of Des Moines to serve as its municipal collector, adding to a portfolio that includes Shoreline and half of Seattle. And he’ll have pitched pitch CleanScapes to Issaquah, Tukwila, North Bend and Snoqualmie by the end of the year.
Martin, 44, doesn’t attribute his success to any burning entrepreneurial desire that lay hidden while he studied political science at Vassar. His venture into capitalism, he explains, was closer to a shrug than a leap. “It was more a factor of I didn’t have a whole lot of reasons not to,” he says.
At the time he started his business in 1997, he was single and childless. He has since married, produced boy and girl twins and moved to Roslyn.