Workflow Wiz: Industry Veteran Olivia Holmes Talks Shop, Software

For Oliva Holmes, helping folks in the waste industry manage their workflows is in her blood. 

The Associate Product Manager of Workflow and Billing for Routeware, Inc., got her start in the industry through her father in 2006 with RouteOptix Management Systems, Inc., now a Routeware company. The company was founded in Ontario.

“He started developing the program (RouteOptix) back in 1999 out of his basement,” she says. It was up and running around 2002.

She joined the team a few years after that.

“I’ve spent a lot of time wearing many hats within RouteOptix,” she says, including managing a support team, doing online demo presentations, helping clients through the implementation process, and attending trade shows.  From there, she began learning processes with the back office and billing team for  CORE (also a Routeware company), and being part of the product team in workflow and billing for Routeware.

“My days are generally now spent looking at ways to help RouteOptix customers look at the benefits of CORE and learn what’s new, what are they struggling with, and how we can improve their day-to-day.” She also spends time helping shape other Routeware solutions, with seamless integration among products as the goal, she says.

CORE team
Olivia Holmes, third from left,
smiles for the camera with members of the
CORE team at WasteExpo in May 2022.

Holmes says she loved her father’s passion for the industry and his determination to reach folks beyond the solid waste industry. 

“He wanted to look outside of the box” and create solutions for not only companies and organizations in solid waste, but document destruction; medical waste; liquid waste such as grease and porta potties; and beyond, she says. 

“The more I learned about it, the more I wanted to know — and the more I wanted to be able to help to make companies greener in the process.”

Her father and his work got her on the hook, but seeing the various components of the industry at play and being able to interact directly with  the clients sealed the deal for her. “The first time I was able to go to a trade show or be on-site with a client and see how things worked were significant, pivotal moments in my career,” she says.

Seeing the changes within the industry over the last nearly two decades has been exciting  and encouraging, too, Holmes says. “It’s huge being able to be part of this journey.” 

Throughout her various roles, Holmes has enjoyed providing clients with the tools and knowledge to help them succeed in the face of change.

“I love trying to look outside the box and find new solutions or streamline current processes,” she says.

Each of the Routeware products she works with help her on that quest. With RouteOptix, a user enters customer information, and the software takes care of tracking customers, handling of routing, fix and on call work, inventory tracking, reporting, and billing.

“It increased profitability and maximized efficiency,” she says.

Then, depending on a customer’s needs, Holmes says, there are other products under the Routeware umbrella that can be tapped: “Even though RouteOptix is a huge step up from what (many customers) were using, CORE gives them  more sustainability,” she says — functions that come in especially handy as businesses and organizations add services to their offerings. 

“Today it’s more the norm that companies have multiple verticals,” Holmes says, adding that roll-off companies may also service portable toilets, and medical waste companies may also destroy documents.

“They are accumulating these multiple environments under one roof, so being able to manage all of those different environments is key,” Holmes says. 

“Being able to take those environments from RouteOptix and distribute them into other business units under the Routeware umbrella, like CORE, is going to be instrumental to our clients in going forward.”

She is happy to be part of it all. While she loves RouteOptix and its history, “as a Routeware employee, I see a huge benefit in expressing the value of the CORE platform and highlighting how seamless the migration process will be.”

The convenience of switching to a platform that meets client needs is especially helpful for companies whose employees are toggling between several different tasks. For instance, one employee might switch from working in billing and running reports to hopping into trucks and helping with routes. 

“They need something that they can use that can streamline their processes (and) make their day-to-day easier.”

Plus, each of the companies’ tools allow businesses and municipalities to operate paperlessly — a huge benefit for both cost and time savings as well as reducing waste, Holmes says.  

Her deep knowledge of the industry she’s gained throughout her tenure paired with the friendships she has made along the way inspire her every day to continue helping others. 

“There are always things we can learn from to help our clients’ operations run smoothly,” she says.

Throughout her various roles, she has also reaped some personal and professional growth within Routeware. “The product team has given me the ability to be able to be open-minded and concentrate on how we can make these environments run cohesively,” she says. “There’s lots of opportunity for growth in the product team. … There is a lot to learn; however, I’m really enjoying my role with a remarkable group of people.”

When Holmes isn’t at work helping clients and colleagues, she is spending time with her husband of 18 years; her children, Lily (14) and Ethan (22); the family dog (Chewbacca) cat (Luke) and hamster (Charlie); and the menagerie of rescued animals she tends to at any given time until they’re nursed back to health or their owners can pick them up. 

 “Growing up, when I wasn’t busy with track and field, I would tend to find myself busy helping animals and feel the need to rescue them,” she says.

Her desire to help others has also extended into her activities with her children. “They are the light of my life; I love them both tremendously,” she says. Her son enjoys building hard drives and playing video games, and her daughter plays rep hockey and rep lacrosse. Holmes manages her daughter’s hockey team, and for many years, she also served as the council president at her daughter’s school. 

Currently she is looking into volunteering with her kids at the local cat rescue center. In the future, she’d like to help out at the  food bank. “Any little bit to help others,” Holmes says.  

A few years ago, she started playing hockey with other hockey moms. Not only is playing a lot of fun, it helps a good cause and it makes for excellent teaching moments, Holmes says. 

It “lets your kids know there’s no limit on age when you’re trying something new.”

Five Fast Facts about Olivia Holmes

1. If you were a hot sauce, what level would you rate yourself from one to 10 and why? I think it really depends on the day. Some days, I’ve considered myself to be a five — level-headed and open to exploration of ideas. Others would be more of an eight or nine, which would represent an increase in tasks and a drive to prioritize completed assignments.

2. What gets you through a hard day? Determination, most definitely. Each and every day, I try to strive to accomplish more and go further. Knowing I have goals that I need to reach helps me push forward even on not-so-happy days.

3. If you had super powers, what would they be? If I was stuck having to choose one, it would probably be telepathy or mind control. I’d like to know before our customers do that they’re  having an issue or problem because some of them don’t let you know. … I could be that voice of reason for them.

4. People on planet Earth should: Protect what we have in each other: Our home is what we make of it. Everyone should help contribute to the longevity of the planet in any way possible, so being part of this environment with Routeware is going down that path. We want to have a greener effect and make sure that we’re trying everything we can possible to achieve that.

5. The world could do without: Hatred, among others. There’s too much of it. … People are just too rushed, or there’s too much going on, or they’re thinking of other things. Just in general, we just need to take a step back, take a breath, think about things, and just be more relaxed — and communicate with each other.

Learn more. Need to improve your solid waste workflow? That’s our specialty! Let’s talk.

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