As the industry consolidates and becomes more competitive, it's important to pay attention to details - including truck and container designs. A clever logo, eye-catching painting or a sharp photo can be just as important as customer service when building your company's reputation.

The 1998 Design Contest winners were chosen because they had clean, positive images that did not interfere with the overall business message being conveyed. Of the dozens of entries World Wastes received this year, including a photo of "Keiko the Whale," the judges chose the following designs, as they are sure to earn high marks with customers.

Best Overall Design City of Logan, Utah Good ideas can be inexpensive. Working as a city of Logan, Utah, Environmental Health Department volunteer, Nate Smith took an interest in increasing community recycling. So, with fellow Utah State University student, Ryan Olsen, he pitched the idea of painting recycling bins.

The city, which serves approximately 24,000 residential customers and 1,500 commercial accounts, was game. Consequently, Olsen, an art student, sketched proposals with a rainbow trout theme, a predominant sport fish in Logan Canyon streams and northern Utah. Smith went to businesses in the area where the Galbreath recycling bin would be placed, soliciting donations to fund supplies; Mayor Darla Clark provided the paint.

By 1995, the city's first decorated bin, which was located at Mount Logan Middle School, was completed. "The Fish Bin" was so well-received that in spring 1996, department officials and Smith met with the students to brainstorm additional designs.

The Green Tree Frog motif, which Olsen painted along with other front load bins in summer '96, won a majority vote.

Each front-load bin is manufactured locally and has its own theme, such as a pheasant or leaf, according to Roger Sunada, environmental health department director. In addition, Sunada says, "the bins have helped to accentuate community interest in waste reduction, recycling and the environment by becoming landmarks in the community - and the paint is holding up very well."

Best Roll-off/Tilt Frame (Tie) Pacific Coast Recycling, San Jose, Calif. Rolloffs Hawaii Inc., Kaneohe, Hawaii

Father and son team Mike and Carl Salinas are so busy serving their 475 residential, commercial and industrial customers in California's San Francisco Bay, Central Valley, Monterey and the Peninsula areas, they've made work their hobby.

"Not having the time to own a hot rod, I wanted to incorporate a design into a work truck that I could see everyday," says son Carl Salinas, co-owner of Pacific Coast Recycling, San Jose.

Consequently, he hired Heinrichs Auto Painting & Body Repair, San Jose, to paint his 1996 Peterbilt 379 longhood and 500 Caterpillar engine, which was built by Commercial Containers, San Carlitas.

The flame design is not unique to "Pete 3," which is assigned to Christina Actkinson, transportation manager. Several trucks in the company's fleet of 15 trucks and more than 700 containers are decorated.

The company also owns two transfer yards in the Bay area.

Rolloffs Hawaii Inc.'s winning design also resulted from a personal pastime.

Rolloffs' owner Bob Henriques is a pro-street, classic car enthusiast whose personal collection includes several restored 1930s vehicles, such as an original 1939 Ford Firetruck that was restored and converted into a roll-off truck. Several employees at the Kaneohe, Hawaii-based company also are auto enthusiasts, so a few trucks have special artwork in addition to the uniform, custom-painted company lettering and logo.

The artistic design on "Mr. Rolloff," a 1998 Western Star truck and Spartan Truck Equipment body, incorporates a racing theme that was created by employee Blake Medeiros and custom painter Sam Generalao. The truck recently participated in a Waikiki parade, and "the enthusiasm it generated further makes the truck shine and makes it a part of the ohana [family]," says Linda Henriques, vice president.

Attention to detail, including design, is valued by the company. "As a family owned and operated business, we've always made the extra effort to provide prompt and dependable service, and our business has continued to grow," she adds.

What was once a two-truck, 30 roll-off bin business formed in 1978, now comprises 19 roll-off trucks and four front loaders that serve construction, commercial, industrial, residential and municipal accounts on the island of Oahu.

Best Side Loader City of Visalia, Calif. When creating its side loader truck design, the city of Visalia, Calif., just had to venture outdoors. Located at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Visalia has a history of preserving oak trees. Consequently, the "Twocan Truck" design signifies the area's foothills and trees in a color palette used by many of the city's recycling programs.

Designed in 1994 by department head Roy Springmeyer, local Heil equipment distributor Dick Townley of Ruckstell California Sales, Fresno, and Public Works Manager Fred Cisnero, the split-container truck, along with the split-container system, handles collection of recyclables and refuse in one container and one truck. Together, all the elements complement each other, says Tom Baffa, solid wastes services manager.

Both the mechanics of the 1996 model 320 Peterbilt truck and Heil 33-yard, model 7000 packer body, and the system's design have not gone unnoticed. Solid waste officials worldwide have come to observe the split-container system in use. It also has won several awards, including The California Resource Recovery Association's (CRRA) Innovation in Government Award for having an "innovative industry program" and the League of California Cities Helen Putnam Award for its "quality, environmental partnership."

With its fleet of 30 residential collection vehicles, 12 commercial collection front loaders and five roll-off units, Visalia covers approximately 30 square miles and is responsible for refuse and recyclables collection for 26,000 residential customers and 1,500 businesses.

Best Rear Loader Ace Sanitation Co. Inc., Cliffwood, N.J. "At Ace [Sanitation Co. Inc.], it's more than just a garbage, it's a way of life," says John Glauda, president.

The motto is fitting for this 35-year-old family business. Based in Cliffwood, N.J., Ace has a fleet of 30 Volvo, Peterbilt and Mack trucks that serve more than 16,000 residential customers and 2,000 commercial customers in New Jersey's Monmouth and Middlesex Counties.

The design and lettering for the award-winning rear loader Volvo truck and Leach packer body was created by John Glauda Jr., operations manager, and Ken Navetta, assistant operations manager. All Ace vehicles, including those for service and sales, have uniform designs.

In addition to garnering the attention of World Wastes design contest judges, the fleet's streamlined design and clean appearance has attracted the interest of other industry professionals. Ace has received three first place trophies and one second place trophy at the 1997 U.S. Diesel Trucking Nationals in the "Best Roll Off," "Best Packer Truck," "Best Fleet" and "Best Appearance" categories.

The pictured vehicle is operated and maintained by Danny White.

Best Front Loader Capitol Sanitation Services Hyattsville, Md. Bobby and Dottie Cohen founded Capitol Sanitation Services, Hyattsville, Md., in 1979 with a single, 20-cubic-yard rear loader collection vehicle. When their son Scott took over the business in 1993, he decided to build on the company's name and reputation for service, efficiency and professionalism with a bright, clean color scheme.

The award-winning "Truck 302," a 1998 Heil half-pack, 28-cubic-yard dump style refuse body mounted on a 1998 Mack MR688S cab, and chassis, features a tri-color design and the U.S. Capitol building to play off the company's name and service area. Capitol services the District of Columbia, northern Virginia and Maryland's Montgomery and Prince George Counties.

According to Cohen, all 12 vehicles in Capitol's fleet, including roll-off dumpsters and front loader trucks, have uniform artwork to promote employee pride and customer confidence in the company.

Best Sweeper Sweeping Plus Corp. Maspeth, N.Y. Sweeping Plus Corp., Maspeth, N.Y., knows the importance of a squeaky clean image. The company keeps areas looking beautiful by sweeping parking lots, roadways and landscapes.

In accordance with its business, Sweeping Plus wanted its trucks to depict cleanliness with bright colors and a sleek design. Thus, Michael Christina, president, commissioned the first truck artwork in 1993.

While it specializes in sweeping parking garages, the company is building its business and reputation by adding shopping centers, malls, hospitals and carnivals to its client base. All vehicles, including six sweepers with GMC or Ford trucks and Swartz or Tymco bodies, have uniform designs.

Best Vacuum Tank Truck US Liquids, Ft. Worth, Texas

When you're the new kid on the block, people take notice. US Liquids, Ft. Worth, Texas, went public in August 1997, so its image and design is very important.

Operating a fleet of approximately 175 vehicles that collects non-hazardous liquid waste from restaurants, car washes, vehicle repair facilities and wastewater from industrial manufacturing processes, the company transports waste to treatment facilities in Texas cities such as Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Dallas, and across the state line to Shreveport, La.

The contest winner, a 1998 Kenworth model T800B powered by a 500 horsepower Cummins N14 engine, has a paint scheme and design created by the company's transportation department employees.

The container and bed is a Dominator, which was built and designed at Keith Huber Inc., Gulfport, Miss.