In 1973, Lee Brandsma entered the waste industry as a residential and commercial route driver for his father-in-law at Groot Industries and became the Chief Operating Officer in 1980 at the age of 26. Brandsma and his partner, Larry Groot, built the company from 20 trucks and 35 employees to more than 400 trucks and 650 employees, from 2 to 5 operating locations, 4 transfer stations, and a single-stream materials recovery facility (MRF). They also own a materials transport business and a mobile document destruction operation. Groot Industries started the first curbside recycling program in northern Illinois in 1986, the first single-stream MRF in the Midwest in 1997, and was the first to run its entire fleet on biodiesel in 2007. In 2009, working with Mack Trucks, the first 20 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles came off the production line and Groot Industries built and operated a CNG fueling station open to the public that same year. In the last 3 years, the company has received awards from the Illinois Recycling Association, Clean Cities Coalition, and the Energy Solutions Center. Brandsma served as the NSWMA Illinois Chapter chair from 1985 to 1987, chair of NSWMA's Waste Haulers Council from 1987 to 1989, vice-chair of NSWMA from 1992 to 1993, and chair of EIA from 1994 to 1996. He was a board member of the NSWMA Foundation now the independent Environmental Research and Education Foundation from 1994 to 2000.
In 1991, Susan Eppes joined Browning-Ferris Industries as a Manager for Safety and Loss Control Services designing and developing award-winning safety and health training videos, modifying facility design elements to reduce accidents and injuries, and managing technical loss control support at landfills, medical waste processing facilities, and recycling operations. By 1997, she had moved up to become the Director of Safety and Health for 400 solid waste locations, 100 landfills, 30 medical waste facilities, and 98 recycling plants across the U.S. She held the same position for Recycle America at Waste Management, Inc. from 2000 to 2002 establishing health and safety program goals, evaluating program implementation, serving as the principal corporate resource for federal and state legislative and regulatory safety issues, and representing the company on safety matters before official government proceedings. In 2002, Eppes founded her own health and safety consulting firm, EST Solutions, providing services in ergonomics, OSHA and DOT compliance, fleet safety, processing equipment review, and start-up safety. Eppes is currently chair of WASTEC’s full ANSI Z245 Committee and also chair of the subcommittees on MRFs and transfer stations. She helped develop NSWMA’s “Be Safe, Be Proud” safety videos and is updating NSWMA’s Safety Manual. She regularly presents at WasteExpo and other conferences and has written numerous articles on safety.
George Fennell founded Fennell Container Company in 1973 and built the business from a barn on a dirt lot with one employee to become the largest privately-owned, solid waste company in South Carolina. The company operated the first, privately-held transfer station. Over the years, Fennell created several other companies, including Fenn-Vac, Inc. in 1983 to manage industrial and hazardous waste; Fennell Waste Systems, Inc. in 1991 providing collection services in upstate South Carolina; and, with industry partners, ECO Services of Memphis in 1991 and ECO Services of South Carolina in 1993. In 1995, Fennell merged his companies with Republic Industries and then helped merge and acquire many other companies. In 2002, he re-entered ownership in the waste industry with his son, Scott, and started Carolina Waste & Recycling LLC, now the largest commercial collection firm in the Charleston market. In 2008, he opened a landfill under the company name Carolina Landfill LLC for industrial waste and, in 2009, built a new transfer and recycling station, Carolina Processing & Recycling LLC. In 2011, Fennell was named Lowcountry Philanthropist of the Year and has served on the boards of many organizations, including the Detachable Container Association, South Carolina Trucking Association, NSWMA, Charleston County Solid Waste Advisory Commission, and Executive Association of Greater Charleston.
Dwight Schaubach, Chairman and CEO of Bay Disposal & Recycling, Inc., started Feather-n-Fin, a chicken and seafood restaurant, in 1969. Having experienced difficulty in getting the restaurant trash collected, he launched Bay Disposal in 1975, which grew into one of the largest private hauling companies in Virginia before it was sold in 1989. Schaubach started the first medical waste treatment company in Virginia in 1985, helping to write the initial medical waste regulations for the state. Incendere, with one incinerator, ultimately grew to collecting medical waste from Florida to New York while tripling its incinerator capacity. Schaubach got back into the solid waste business with Area Container. He was also a partner of ECO Services of South Carolina. Early in 1996, Area Container, ECO, and Incendere were merged into Republic Industries. In 2000, Schaubach took advantage of the name Bay Disposal, which now includes two MRFs and a soon-to-be-opened recycling facility. Bay Disposal & Recycling is, once again, one of the largest, independently-owned, waste companies in Virginia. He also owns a significant portion of a 64-acre construction and demolition landfill in Virginia Beach. Schaubach has served as president of both the Detachable Container Association and NSWMA's Virginia Waste Industries Association. He was named Entrepreneur of the Year for 2011 by Old Dominion University. In addition, he has generously supported, with both his time and resources, numerous civic and charitable organizations over the years.
Bruce J. Parker
Over the years, Bruce J. Parker has held a number of positions at the Environmental Industry Associations (EIA), starting as in-house counsel in 1981 and becoming General Counsel in 1985. In 1992, Parker's position expanded to include Deputy for Policy Development and Implementation and, in 1994, Executive Vice-President for Federal Legislative and External Affairs. In 1997, EIA's Board of Trustees unanimously appointed Parker to President and Chief Executive Officer of EIA and Executive Vice-President of NSWMA. After a 30-year career, he will retire at the end of 2012. During his tenure as CEO, Parker worked with members to develop a strategic plan to create a more stable financial organization, increase the association's presence at the national and state levels, and enhance the industry's image with the media, all of which were successfully accomplished. Parker has testified on behalf of the association before Congressional committees and state legislatures. He has written many articles on key issues ranging from unfair competition to global warming, recycling, and sustainability. Parker fostered a culture of member service among staff, better integrated the relationship between NSWMA and WASTEC, and was instrumental in the success of the "Environmentalists. Every Day." education program. He also served on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Labor Committee.
In 1974, Stephen Smith became an equipment operator at his father's sludge management firm and, after graduating from college in Agricultural Engineering in 1978, became a staff engineer at Black & Veatch, where he designed beneficial reuse facilities for sewage sludge. In 1983, with a masters in Engineering, he designed and constructed his first landfill and transfer facility in Salt Lake City and, in 1984, founded ET Technologies, Inc., operating Salt Lake's industrial and special waste facility that he helped design and build. In 1986, Smith founded another solid waste company developing a municipal waste landfill later sold to Browning-Ferris Industries. He also founded an asbestos landfill, 2 hazardous waste transfer and treatment facilities, and an 80-acre composting facility in the late 1980s. In 1990, he started Franconia Technologies, operating an 845-acre rail-haul facility, which he sold to Waste Management, Inc. in 1992, staying on as a Division President until 1995 when he joined SCS Engineers quickly advancing to Vice-President. Today, he works as the Vice-President, Construction and Operations for Clean Energy Renewable Fuels. Smith is an NSWMA representative on the EIA Board of Trustees and a member of NSWMA's Executive Committee. He also served on an NSWMA special committee to develop the "Environmentalists. Every Day." education program. He received a Presidential Award for Outstanding Community Service in 2007 from President George Bush.