Victor ‘Skip’ Berg
Victor ‘Skip’ Berg, director of business development at Hanover Park, Illinois-based Sonrai Systems, began his career in the solid waste industry after college, when he joined in the family’s equipment business. In 1992, Berg served as the general manager for Refuse Equipment in New Jersey, and later, as the U.S. national sales manager for Labrie Equipment. In 2008, Berg started his own consulting company, Environmental Strategies. Berg joined Sonrai Systems in 2011. Berg is also a founding member of WASTEC, the Waste Equipment Technology Association, and has served as the WASTEC representative on the EIA Board of Trustees. He is also a former trustee and member of the Detachable Container Association.
Peggy Gaston, director for government affairs for Waste Management’s southern group, began her career as a founding employee of Browning Ferris Industries in the late 1960s and by the 1980s, she had become the first woman district manager for the company. In 1994, Gaston became the first collection district manager for a newly formed company, Sanifill, located in Houston. After Sanifill merged with USA Waste in 1996, Gaston was made responsible for auditing operations and building synergies with new acquisitions. When USA Waste merged with Waste Management, Gaston returned to the position of district manager in Oklahoma and Arkansas. Gaston has served as a representative on NSWMA’s Board of Governors since 1999.
Ben Harvey, executive vice president and an owner of E.L. Harvey & Sons, Inc., began his career in the waste industry in 1971 after graduation from Delaware Valley College. Working for his family’s company, Harvey was involved in all aspects of the business, from driving trucks and operating heavy equipment, to negotiating sales of recyclables and managing contracts for the safe transfer of waste materials. A major focus of Harvey’s career was the development the recycling infrastructure in Massachusetts and promoting recycling throughout the state. Harvey takes active leadership roles in many trade organizations and associations. He currently is president of the Paper Stock Industry, a chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling, and he is a past president of the Eastern Paper Mills Association. He currently holds leadership roles on the Board of Directors of MassRecycle and WasteCap of Massachusetts. He also serves on the Board of Governors of the National Solid Wastes Management Association, on the Board of Directors of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, and on the Board of Directors of the Detachable Container Association.
John J. Jennings
John J. Jennings, founder, CEO and Chairman of Waste Pro USA of Longwood, Fla., began his career in the 1960’s as a helper on his father's garbage truck. In the 1970's, he took a turn on Wall Street after receiving his MBA, but later returned to the solid waste industry, becoming the owner of three garbage trucks in Florida and starting a small waste company called Industrial Waste Services. After merging that company with Attwoods, he founded Jennings Environmental Services in 1992, which he expanded until merger with USA Waste Services and, later, Waste Management, Inc. In 2001, he founded Waste Pro USA and, as the CEO and COO, built the company to 2400 employees, 67 operating locations, and more than $300 million in revenue. The company is known for its environmental leadership and innovation, building recycling centers, purchasing alternative fuel vehicles and using solar panels in company buildings.
Jim O'Connor, former CEO and chairman of the board of Republic Services, Inc., began his career in the solid waste industry at Waste Management, from in 1972 after graduating from college. Starting as an accountant, he became a district controller and later a management trainee. In 1978, he formed his own company, Waste Collection, Inc., rejoining WMI in 1982 as a senior vice president in the Southeast. In 1998, O'Connor was named CEO of Republic Services, Inc. and, two years later, chairman of the board. He retired in 2010 after growing the company from $800 million in annual revenue to more than $8 billion, making Republic Services the second largest waste and recycling company in the United States. O'Connor continues to serve the industry on the EIA Board of Trustees and EIA Investment Committee, has helped raise funds for the Environmental Research and Education Foundation, and is the current president of the Detachable Container Association.
Robert Pioch, the founder and former CEO of Anchor Machine & Tool in Jackson, Mich., developed and patented the first waste collection compactor, the Anchorpac Refuse Compaction System. He later opened a second plant and began selling to European companies. In the early 1960s, he expanded the business further, engineering a number of innovative waste management systems and machines, including recycling handling equipment. Altogether, he was awarded over 30 patents before his death in 1975.