Lockheed lawyer inspires change in Fort Worth, one trash cleanup at a timedfwnewsa | February 8, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News
Rose Richerson Eichler stands in Fire Station Park on Feb. 8 in the Fairmount neighborhood of Fort Worth. Richerson Eichler and her husband, Anthony “Ace” Eichler, lead the Fairmount Trash Pirates, a group that organizes monthly trash cleanup events in the area. (Seth Bodine | Fort Worth Report)
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At least once a month, Rose Richerson Eichler can be seen along Magnolia Avenue, picking up trash. Sometimes, she wears full pirate regalia.Richerson Eichler leads the Fairmount Trash Pirates alongside her husband, Anthony “Ace” Eichler. The nonprofit’s goal is to reduce trash in the neighborhood. In January, Richerson Eichler became president of the Keep Fort Worth Beautiful board, an environmental conservation group that works with the city to educate the public about the environment.
When she isn’t volunteering, Richerson Eichler works as a lawyer at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, where she participates in the company’s quarterly trash cleanup initiatives along Lockheed Martin Boulevard.
Part of being a lawyer is creating solutions, she said. That’s one reason why she and Ace Eichler, who also works at Lockheed as a lawyer, decided to create Fairmount Trash Pirates.
“We just see a problem and we want to try and fix it,” she said.
Blazing her own trail
Richerson Eichler’s path to Fort Worth — and law — wasn’t immediate. She moved around while growing up because her father served in the Air Force. She attended high school in the small town of Seguin, Texas, southeast of New Braunfels, where she performed in choir and theater.
After graduating, Richerson Eichler got married at 19; she got divorced less than two years later. She recalls that time in her life as being one of the most informative to who she is today. She felt alone and broke. She worked at restaurants, hotel front desks and on an assembly line.
That’s when she made changes that had a huge effect on her trajectory, she said. She switched her major at Texas State University from theater to English. She and her younger brother became the first in her family to graduate from college.
Pulling herself back up with no financial help changed how she felt about herself and what she was capable of, she said.
“If you can believe that you can do something hard, you can get so far,” Richerson Eichler said. “I don’t think I’ve faced anything harder than that.”
Richerson Eichler later attended Texas A&M Law School in Fort Worth, where she met her husband, Ace Eichler, and eventually got a job at Lockheed Martin. Her first job at the company was in the regulatory compliance department.
Jenny Jackson, now an ethics senior manager at Lockheed Martin, previously worked with Richerson Eichler in the compliance department. Jackson said Richerson Eichler was eager to learn and figure things out from the day she started. She also was a big proponent of fixing or drafting processes to improve the work they did, Jackson said.
Jackson isn’t surprised that Richerson Eichler is involved with the trash pickups in Fairmount. The ability to take the initiative and listen are leadership qualities Jackson has long seen in her co-worker.“As a leader, you have to listen to all sides of a lot of issues and understand where your employees are coming from, or whatever you’re leading,” Jackson said. “And she just really does that very well. And it’s not just like, ‘Yeah, I hear you,’ but it’s like really listening.”
Making change, one cleanup at a time
Richerson Eichler takes cleanup efforts seriously — even when she’s not on trash duty. Sometimes when they’re driving along Magnolia Avenue, she said she and her husband will stop to pick up trash. She hopes Fort Worth will ultimately become a place where community members and businesses work together to make their communities better.“We adopted this road. It feels like it’s ours to take care of,” Richerson Eichler said. “It makes you feel like you’re a part of the city, when you’re responsible for helping it stay clean and be a pleasant place to live for everybody.”
David Kirby, Richerson Eichler’s neighbor and a Fairmount Trash Pirates board member, said she is good at delegating responsibilities and communicating to the group during trash pickups. She is also determined and isn’t afraid of getting her hands dirty, he said.“Sometimes we’ll come across an alley that is just filled with garbage, I mean, just some of the worst stuff you’ll ever see,” Kirby said. “Some of us kind of poke around the edges of it with our tongs and are really trying to stay as clean as possible. But she’s really not afraid to just throw the tongs down, put on some gloves and pick up giant handfuls of trash.”
Kirby believes it’s easy to overlook small issues that affect people on a day-to-day basis, such as trash. But picking up litter once a month makes him feel more proud of his neighborhood.
Richerson Eichler is always smiling and waving during pickups, he said, and that helps generate recognition of the group’s impact on the community.
“She doesn’t just go there and make an appearance and make sure we’re seen and then leave,” Kirby said. “She actually contributes and takes part and comes back to us with notes.”
Rose Richerson Eichler bio
Birthplace: San Antonio
Moved to Fort Worth: 2012
Family: Anthony “Ace” Eichler (husband), Ron Richerson (father), Debbie Cantu (mother), Elliott Richerson (brother)
Education: Texas State University, Bachelor of Arts in English, 2011; Texas A&M School of Law, a doctorate in jurisprudence, 2015
Currently: Associate general counsel at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth
Previously: Regulatory compliance analyst at Lockheed Martin; criminal defense attorney in Dallas; clerk at the Comal County district attorney’s office; intern for civil attorney Harold D. Hammett in Fort Worth; administrative and personal assistant to the president at Ranger Steel Services in Houston; front desk clerk at Comfort Inn & Suites in Seguin
Volunteer experience: Fairmount Trash Pirates; Lockheed Martin road cleanups; A&M Big Event during law school; pro bono legal assistance
First job: Little Caesars in Seguin
Advice for someone learning to be a leader: Blaze your own trail. There will always be professors, bosses, mentors, friends, family and colleagues telling you there is a “right” way to get to where you want to be, but this is often not true. You are different from all of them, so your path will be different, too.
Best advice ever received: Say yes to opportunities that are presented to you, even if at first they scare you or seem to not quite align with your goals.
Seth Bodine is a business and economic development reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @sbodine120 on X, formerly known as Twitter.
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