Pretty in Pink

The folks at Maryland’s Fogle’s Septic Services send out pink service trucks and restrooms to raise money to fight cancer.
Pretty in Pink
Customers specifically request the pink truck from Fogle’s Septic Services to help support the fight against breast cancer. Fogle’s owners say supporting a charitable cause has been rewarding for employees. (Photo courtesy of Fogle’s Septic Services)

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When customers of Fogle's Septic Services, Inc., in Sykesville, Md., request pink trucks to pump their septic systems, they are amused by the novelty. When partygoers go out of their way to use a pink portable unit, they laugh. But owner Dale Fogle has a serious purpose for providing the laugh. When two people close to Fogle were diagnosed with breast cancer — a family member and an employee — Fogle figured out a concrete way he could help the cause of stopping cancer.

Since January 2012, customers calling Fogle's could request a pink truck. A second pink truck went on the road in fall 2012. In October, each time the pink trucks are used, the company donates a percentage to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a foundation that has contributed almost $2 billion since 1982 to cancer research and community programs.

Fogle's also provides pink restrooms, accompanied by an attendant who cleans it between uses — with a donation bucket nearby for Komen. The company serves Maryland, Delaware and northern Virginia to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Fogle's Septic Clean Inc., in Sykesville, Md., is owned by Dale and David Fogle, and a branch called Fogle's Environmental, LLC, is owned by Dale and his daughter, Gretchen.

Meanwhile, Dale's family member is still fighting breast cancer. His employee is currently deemed cancer-free.

Pumper: You have found a way to brighten customers' days and contribute toward a cause you believe in. Have you found your customers are requesting the pink vacuum trucks and restrooms?

Fogle: The response has been positive. We get calls asking for the pink truck to pump their septic. And you would not believe how many people wait in line to use that one restroom when there are plenty of others they could also be using. Every time a pink "Fogle's Pumps for the Cure" restroom is rented, we donate $10 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. We have donated pink restrooms to events and provided an attendant to clean the unit after each use, and the people have to put money in our breast cancer donation bucket in order to use it. People say, "It's worth the wait because we know it's going to be a super-clean toilet and it is supporting a great cause."

Pumper: You recently put a second pink truck on the road. How did you create the two pink pumpers?

Fogle: These pumpers represent contributions by several companies to the cause of breast cancer prevention, elimination and education. The one we have provided since January 2012 is a 2007 International built by our employees, Kurt and Kim Welsh and Steve Reichart. Armstrong Equipment provided the radiator. Tipco Technologies, Inc. provided all the hoses. Bare Truck supplied the graphics, bumper and the sun visor. NAPA Auto Parts provided wiring and various parts. VARCo supplied us with gauges. Donald Rice gave us two wheels for the tires. Manchester Auto Parts supplied the paint, and FleetPride of Connecticut provided the rims. Our second pink truck is a restroom truck built by Bare Truck Center of Westminster, Md. All expenses are being paid by Fogle's.

Pumper: Now that you have had some experience contributing to a charitable cause, how would you advise other companies considering doing something like this?

Fogle: My advice is to pick a cause that is close to your heart. That way you will stick with it. Be prepared to spend a lot of time online figuring out which organization matches with your interests, and even after you pick a group to support, you still spend time learning the rules.

We have also spent money on marketing "Pumping for the Cure" on postcards, newspaper ads, magnets and an ad on the local radio station. Don't do it because you expect to make money. Don't do it because you expect some recognition at the national level. These organizations don't put a list of small companies that donate to them on their website. You have to do it for your own reasons and in your community.

And most of all, simply, it makes you realize there are still good people left in this world to support a great cause. Every person you talk to knows at least one person who has been diagnosed with cancer.

Pumper: Have you been surprised at the response by customers?

Fogle: We have been happy and surprised. The fact that the trucks are pink will help our visibility as a company, as well as providing donations to a worthy cause. We have taken the first pink pumper to local events, such as the parade and a Fourth of July event (Party in the Park in Frederick, Md.). Just having it drive around provides us with goodwill, and smiles on people's faces. That is what makes us proud of our cause, "Pumping for the Cure."

Pumper: How's business going generally?

Fogle: On the Eastern Shore, we have been able to increase our total units over the last three years, and we have even started taking orders to build custom-themed  restroom trailers for other companies. Our fleet has 1,100 units, 90 percent of which are from PolyPortables, Inc., and the remaining 10 percent are Five Peaks Technology units. We have two restroom trailers. One is a 20-foot Olympia Fiberglass Industries VIP Trailer for our black tie events, and one is our custom-built "Tiki Trailer." We just built it from scratch. It has been one of the best ideas we have had, seeing as how we are in a beach town and host a lot of beach-themed weddings.


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