Don Mapes is a man who likes to stay busy. Over his 38-year career at the Emmet County Department of Public Works, this has not been a problem—especially the 28 years he has been their Superintendent. Today is a case in point, before an 8:30 a.m. meeting to be interviewed for this article, he had already reshuffled employees to cover for a sick truck driver, travelled to Gaylord to pick up a truck from a repair garage, stopped at Burt Lake State Park on the way back to pick up a recycling drop-site bin, made a second run to Burt Lake State Park to finish picking up their bins for the season, resolved some payroll questions, and responded to the morning’s emails and phone calls.
Mapes started with the Department of Public Works (DPW) in July of 1980 as a Transfer Station Attendant and Driver. The County’s Pleasantview Road Drop-off Center, where the Solid Waste Transfer Station is located, is now a sprawling complex which receives, processes, and markets materials for recycling, as well as accepting garbage for transfer to a landfill south of Onaway. In 1980 it was a newly opened facility with just the Solid Waste Transfer Station.