NWRA Announces 2021 Drivers and Operator of the Year

NWRA Announces 2021 Drivers and Operator of the Year

Arlington, VA – Today, the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) announced its 2021 Drivers of the Year and Operator of the Year winners. The awards recognize the drivers and an operator from member companies who put safety as their top priority.

“Safety is a core value at NWRA and for our members. Our members and their employees are dedicated to keeping our communities clean and safe on a daily basis. Therefore, it is important that we recognize the drivers and operators who make safety a priority. I congratulate them on their achievement,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith.

The Operator of the Year award is for employees working in post-collection for a materials recovery facility, landfill or transfer station who safely operate heavy equipment, including bulldozers, front-end loaders and compactors.

The Driver of the Year awards are for those drivers who operate their trucks in a safe and responsible manner, have outstanding performance records and whose contributions have enhanced the overall safety and image of the solid waste industry.

The finalists were determined by a computerized scoring system. Independent judges selected the winners based on letters of recommendation and, for drivers, the difficulty of the route. During judging, operators were also judged on difficulty of their equipment to operate.

The 2021 Driver of the Year Awardees:
National Commercial – Dedre McKinley, Republic Services, Inc.
National Industrial – Redgnel Forrest, Republic Services, Inc.
National Residential – James Davis, Republic Services, Inc.

Regional Commercial – John Weiss, Rumpke Consolidated Companies
Regional Industrial – Lawrence Jackson, Recology
Regional Residential – Aaron Meier, Recology

Local Member – Dana Hale, WIN Waste Innovations

Public Sector – Ryan Jones, Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling

The 2021 Operator of the Year Awardee:
Victoria Barragan, Republic Services, Inc.

NWRA recognizes and thanks the judges who generously gave their time to review the applications. The 2021 judges are:

Adrienne Gildea, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance

Drew Mitrisin, Burns & McDonnell

Elisabeth Barna, American Trucking Associations

Ellen Voie, Women in Trucking

Jeana Hysell, J.J. Keller

Joseph Casper, Brick Industry Association

Ryan Pietzsch, National Safety Council

Steve Ralston, Ashley Furniture

Tom Moore, National Private Truck Council

Wayne Bailey, FedEx Freight


The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that manage waste, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors, and a variety of other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit www.wasterecycling.org.

Brandon Wright
National Waste and Recycling Association