Born into a life of composting and recycling at home, both Chris Spooner’s professional and personal trajectory led him to Rubicon. A UGA and Terry College of Business graduate, Spooner worked in investment banking for 4 years before transitioning into corporate strategy for Novelis, the world’s largest recycler for aluminum. It was at Novelis that he was exposed to recycling rights and sought opportunities to make a difference in the world around him. Since he’s been at Rubicon, Chris has taken an interest in food waste and makes a conscious effort to live sustainably.
1. What is your role at Rubicon? How long have you been with the company?
I have been with Rubicon for a little over two years and am currently Director of Strategic Finance. My team is responsible for financial analysis, including the preparation of our long-term financial plan and annual budget; internal and external financial reporting and communication; new product pricing strategy and development; and evaluation of incentive compensation.
2. What is one new thing you learned this week in your role?
The largest companies are continuing to increase their reliance on and investment in acquisitions in order to grow. This makes our role in the waste and recycling ecosystem – of partnering with and supporting independent haulers – all the more challenging and important.
3. What sparked your passion for sustainability?
My passion for sustainability was sparked by frequent childhood hiking trips to national parks and monuments. I also attribute my passion to the appreciation for this country’s natural beauty that comes along with them.
4. How do you contribute to the RuBiCulture?
“We are passionate about our people” is, I think, the most important element of RuBiCulture, and the one we need to continuously and pointedly remind ourselves. We are an investor-backed, mission-driven, platform business and, as such, have a lot of constituents to consider. But we cannot forget to promote the long-term best interests of our employees alongside those of our investors, customers, partner haulers, and society. I do and will strive to preserve that empathy within a fast-paced finance organization.
5. Did the fact that Rubicon positions itself as a “mission-driven” corporation play into your decision to come aboard?
Absolutely. I actually came to Rubicon from another mission-driven and sustainability-focused company, Novelis. Personally, I am skeptical (but hopeful) that the free market can alone drive positive environmental outcomes. But Rubicon’s model creates a clearer path to a sustainable waste and recycling system in the US, and I’m excited to be a part of its evolution.
6. What is one piece of advice you heard outside the office that you apply to your work?
My college strength coach used to say “Slow is smooth; smooth is fast” to drive home the importance of sound fundamentals and taking your time to position properly before adding stress to the system. I apply this daily and it reminds me of the advice from our Board member, Oscar Salazar, “Nail it, then scale it.”
7. If any actor (dead or alive) could play you in the movie of your life, who would you cast?
Daniel Day Lewis – Because I change my facial hair and look all the time.
8. If you could play any professional sport, what would it be?
Downhill skiing. Most fun sport, period. It requires a great balance of finesse and power, you’d get in some incredible travel, and there’s a long off-season.
9. You’re on a deserted island and a helicopter drops down one food for you daily, what is the one thing you could eat every day for the rest of your life?
While this question is worded unfortunately for it, I would still have to go with my favorite meal, Oxtail Stew.
10. What is one eco-responsible action that you try to incorporate into your everyday life?
I walk and take MARTA to the office.
11. Who is your favorite B Corporation? Why?
I’ve got to go with Patagonia, both because I like their products and appreciate their founders’ story/ethos; but also because I know only a couple others. I’m excited that B Corp is playing a growing role in our culture and look forward to hearing about more of our partners in this movement.
Looking to join the Rubicon team? Take a look through the open opportunities on our Careers page.