Junk Removal Company's Chief Operating Officer Mallard Owen

Meet Mallard “Mal” Owen, Chief Operating Officer

We’re excited to introduce you to Mal Owen, our Chief Operating Officer. When we first met and began working with Mal, we were impressed by his vision for 123JUNK that exceeds what we thought we could hope for as a junk removal company. He’s helped us to see our company in a more elevated mindset, and every day his leadership guides us towards an even stronger future. Meet Mal Owen…

What is your role at 123JUNK?
My role is to coordinate the day-to-day operations of our different departments, while also working with our CEO, Collin Wheeler, to create our strategic plan and vision for the organization. We’re both committed to improving our infrastructure and growing our team members to better live our value of “Culture of Excellence.”

When did you join 123JUNK?

I officially started on July 1, 2020, as COO.  I joke with my friends – and the 123JUNK team – that I’ve been interviewing for six years for this position! I met the company’s founder, Collin, at a Chamber of Commerce meeting. Since that first meeting, I have done several, multiple-month consulting engagements with 123JUNK working with Collin and his management team. Collin had built a great company, but he realized he could benefit from more of my time to provide the catalyst for growth. Thankfully, we worked so well together that it was a pretty easy decision for both of us.

What did you do before?

Just prior to joining 123JUNK, I was helping launch a startup in the executive search and management consulting fields. Before that, I had the opportunity to be the COO for a non-profit in the arts industry.  For someone who didn’t grow up with family members working corporate jobs, I became the consummate learner when I helped found two companies following my departure from academia. I was trained as a researcher and educator in exercise physiology, culminating with a Ph.D. degree and doing a post-doctoral fellowship in physiology research within a medical school. I left that world to start two companies in the health/wellness industry with a business partner. Since that first start, I’ve learned a lot about running companies and becoming a successful manager/leader.

What convinced you to join the team?

Collin’s interest in understanding how he can find resources to help him lead and grow his company resonated with me because that’s what I was doing as a business consultant. We have a lot of common values and beliefs, and I like his willingness to embrace outside perspectives.

One of the reasons I came on board was because I recognized the incredible potential here. I saw that there were things that we can put into place that will have an impact and open doors to growth. If I walked into an organization that was moving along on all cylinders, I’d be bored. But when you see opportunities for improvement in an organization, it’s like the challenge of running up a hill. I will always attack the hill. By reframing a team’s perspective and bringing in best practices, I can see exciting growth in 123JUNK’s future.

What do you most enjoy about your work?

Growing up, I loved sports. At age 15, I was an avid tennis player and started volunteering at a local community tennis program. By age 16, I was running the entire tennis program for the county. Early on, I developed the ability to look at “picture books” for my sports and then mirror that movement or capability. I got good at visualizing the movement, breaking it down, and replicating it to improve my skill. That’s where I got the passion to help other people succeed—it started with the fun of teaching sports to others and then translated into a passion for developing coaching others in the workplace. I love helping others accomplish more than that thought they could.

What is your favorite part about 123JUNK?

It’s the day-to-day energy and enthusiasm of the team and their interest in both their own and the company’s prospects for growth.

What is your favorite memory of the company so far?

The onboarding experience that happened when I joined full-time last July. I was so impressed by the warm welcome I received, which included a “welcome aboard” package shipped to me in Arizona. Besides some logowear and business cards, I received a wonderful welcome card signed by everyone and a gift certificate for a local sushi restaurant (my favorite food). The thoughtfulness I received was incredible and special. It was the single-best onboarding experience I’ve ever had. It reinforced for me that the decision to join 123JUNK was the right one.

What advice would you have for young folks looking for work or experience?

Have a commitment and a thirst for learning. As a learning organization I want to be able to attract and bring in employees who are interested in their own growth, and those who want to be successful. I like to see a “give me more” attitude. Go to your manager and ask “How can I be the best [your job title] you’ve ever worked with in that role?” Find out what they think a top performer will do. Then ask, “What are the most important things to work on?” Drive that conversation with your supervisor instead of just reporting to duty and waiting to be told what to do. A truly valuable employee learns how we do things, thinks critically and can make decisions. You want to enable that employee to take the reins.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I like spending time with my wife, Judy Smith. She’s an amazing woman: my best friend, companion and a very successful and smart businesswoman. It’s the best part of my personal life. I also enjoy cycling classes, which we do together, and I’m an avid squash player.

What is your favorite quote?

I have so many quotes that I use to help guide my approach to managing and leading that it’s tough to pick one. As an avid believer of the importance of emotional intelligence for leaders, I guess I’d pick this quote as one of my favorites: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

123JUNK is More than Just Junk Removal

We have a vision for our company that places 123JUNK among the thought leaders in the junk removal industry. From our hiring and training practices, to our exceptional customer service, to our three-pronged mission of donate-recycle-dispose, you’ll notice the 123JUNK difference.

To schedule a residential or commercial junk pick-up in one of our service areas in Northern Virginia or Maryland, contact 123JUNK.

Meet Dave Echeverria, Director of Talent Acquisition

“Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example.” –Donald McGannon

One of the first things you’ll be impressed by at 123JUNK is our people. All of our employees were carefully hand-picked because of certain traits, attitudes and talents that they inherently possess. Finding those right people is the job of Dave Echeverria. So let’s learn more about him.

What is your job at 123JUNK?

I am Director of Talent Acquisition. I am responsible for identifying top talent to represent 123JUNK and for building company culture and creating programs such as JUNK-U, our very first professional development program which will help us foster a workplace environment of continuous learning and self-development.

How do you find great talent?
I find them in multiple ways: by referrals through our existing team members, LinkedIn, Indeed and social media mainly.

Who makes a good candidate for 123JUNK?

Our “go to” is a search for people whose values match our own. That would be someone who desires to see old or unused items donated to a good cause, someone who wants to be part of a winning team, and an individual who is adventurous, driven and kind. A natural born leader.

How long have you been at 123JUNK?
I joined the company in July 2019.

What is your favorite part of the company so far?

There aren’t a lot of companies who value their employees or who appreciate building a strong company culture. I fell in love with the company’s mission—the company Collin Wheeler is looking to build—and being part of the leadership team that’s always evaluating the “why” behind everything we do. I think that helps make an impact on the team, the community and the environment.

What is your most memorable experience?

No matter what position you hold, one thing we do here is have everyone spend time out in the field on the truck. When I first started, I remember a job we did on the hottest day of summer in a vacant restaurant’s basement in DC. It was a humbling, exciting experience and really painted a picture of what our guys go through day in and day out. And the fact that they did it with such positivity, and were so focused and team oriented made the entire day go smoothly and helped me appreciate what I was asked to recruit for. By far it was my most memorable experience.

What did you do before joining 123JUNK?
I’ve been in recruiting for 12 years, doing talent acquisition in multiple industries, mainly Technology, Accounting & Finance and Hospitality.

How did you know you wanted to join 123JUNK?

It is an interesting and amazing story. One of Mal Owen’s firm’s recruiters reached out to me and said they were looking to fill this role. I wasn’t actively in the job market, but after a few conversations, I recognized there was a spark there and some thoughts and ideas that really interested me. I liked the opportunity for growth and knew there was certainly more out there than what I was currently doing. I wanted to find a place where I could help build the culture and help create a positive environment for our employees. It was a pretty lengthy interview process, but ultimately we landed on the same page, and here I am. Best decision ever!

Tell us about your family.

I am a husband to my wife Brittany, and father of three boys: Kellen, age 8, Dax, age 4, and Rowan, age 2. They keep us moving and we’re obviously busy with them, and they’re my personal “why” I do everything and take pride in all that I do. I’m also a football coach in the Fall. Kellen is in tackle football and I’m his coach. He also wrestles and plays lacrosse and baseball. Dax just started wrestling and also plays t-ball. Rowan is learning a lot from his big brothers and can’t wait to hit the fields and mat himself.

I also coach about 20-30 kids; these are my extended children/family. Coaching is one of my most rewarding endeavors, as I contribute to these kids’ success and teach life lessons on and off the field.

What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

We spend a lot of time with the family. We like to go on hikes and visit different historical sites like Gettysburg and Mt. Vernon. We try to take advantage of the weird landscape we’re living in to make memories and educate our kids on our history. They seem to enjoy that. I also continue to date my wife and spend as much time with her as I can. I enjoy playing golf, drawing up football plays with fellow coaches and friends, and enjoy singing karaoke.

Join the Team at 123JUNK

We’re always looking for people with great attitudes, talent, and passion for what they do. If you’d like to join the 123JUNK team, feel free to reach out to us. You can find our current job openings on our website.

And if you’d like to schedule junk removal, contact us to set your appointment.

Photo Cris Sgrott of Organizing Maniacs

Meet Our Partner – Cris Sgrott, CEO of Organizing Maniacs

Our junk hauling services don’t achieve success on their own. We are committed to helping our community grow by working with other local Washington DC Metro area businesses in the area, like Organizing Maniacs, who are passionate about making a difference in our community and environment. Let’s learn more about Cris Sgrott, CEO of Organizing Maniacs below!

  1. Tell us about what you do and what’s your role.

I am the CEO and the trainer for our team. I bring my experience to the field to make sure all of our team members can provide the same superior level of service to all of our clients! 

  1. How did you enter the field as a certified professional organizer? 

I came to professional organizing by accident. In 2007, I lost my job as a project manager with a local remodeling contractor and started freelancing my services as an administrative assistant. My clients started asking me, “Would you help me with…?” All of these projects around their home. And, it was fun, so I kept saying yes.  

After about six months of organizing people for a living, I gave up searching for a job.  And, almost 14 years later, we have invoiced over six thousand projects. Certification and education is something I am passionate about, as I have three certifications. I am a certified professional organizer, a certified senior move manager, and a certified professional organizer in chronic disorganization.

  1. Can you tell us about your experience with 123JUNK?

Early into owning our businesses, I met Collin Wheeler at a networking event. We had a lot in common; we both wanted to make sure we were taking care of the environment through the process of our work.

We also share a passion for recycling, and I started referring to a lot of our clients to work with them. We bonded on our commitment toward understanding our clients in the process of serving them. What we do is not just about the clutter, there is so much more behind it for clients.  

About four years ago, Kevin Wheeler and I also created a Continuing Education class to the Real Estate community. We continue to collaborate on how to improve our services and honor our clients with our work.

  1. What are your favorite aspects of being a professional organizer?

The people! We love our clients! It is a privilege to go into people’s homes and get to help them begin their journey of living a clutter-free life. Everyday, I learn as much as I teach my clients in our work together.  

  1. What advice would you give to others looking to gain experience in your industry? 

I recommend that they join the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and start learning and networking. They have a ton of free resources.

  1. What is one quick organization tip you can recommend?

Always start with the “I will put it here for now…” pile and deal with it later. I joke that it will be the name of my book. We all have a pile waiting to leave our homes, waiting for us to just do it. Start there!  

Reach Out to Cris Sgrott From Organizing Maniacs Today!

You can find Cris transforming the spaces and lives of many throughout the Washington DC Metro area. As a Certified Professional Organizer, Cris specializes in helping those who have brain-based conditions such as ADD, ADHD, hoarding, OCD and chronic disorganization. From organizing moves to homes and offices, Organizing Maniacs is dedicated to listening to each individuals’ needs to ensure they have the most efficient, sustainable system to help them stay organized.


Ready to get organized? Get in touch with Cris to discuss your decluttering project today!