Huizenga was born Dec. 29, 1937, into a family of waste haulers. He started in the industry at the age of 25 with a single garbage truck, often driving from 2 a.m. to noon. Huizenga quickly grew the company through a series of acquisitions. By the time he took Waste Management public in 1972, the company had acquired 133 haulers. By 1983, the Fortune 500 company was the biggest waste hauler in the country. Waste Management currently serves more than 21 million municipal, commercial and industrial customers in the U.S. and Canada.
"We were deeply saddened to hear the news of Wayne Huizenga’s passing today. As a founder of our company, he was greatly admired for his visionary spirit, entrepreneurial leadership, and 'roll up your sleeves’ work ethic," Jim Fish, president and CEO of Waste Management, said in a statement. "While he and I never met, Wayne is a true legend at Waste Management, known for waking up at 2:30 in the morning to drive a truck and then knocking on doors in the afternoon to introduce himself to current and new customers. His legacy is a gift to us all. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Huizenga family on the passing of their patriarch and our friend and founder, Wayne Huizenga."
Huizenga was also the founder of Blockbuster Video and AutoNation, and the owner of the MLB’s Florida Marlins, the NHL’s Florida Panthers and the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. He also went on to become the chairman of Phoenix-based Republic Services.
Huizenga was a five-time recipient of Financial World magazine’s “CEO of the Year” award and was named the Ernst & Young “2005 World Entrepreneur of the Year.”