NWRA Announces 2023 Member Awards Recipients

NWRA Announces 2023 Member Awards Recipients

Arlington, VA – The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) announced its 2023 Member Awards recipients across three categories for their contributions in support of the waste and recycling industry and the Association.

The 2023 honorees are as follows: Services Member of the Year Award – Lisa Disbrow, WM; Suppliers Member of the Year Award – Casey Hardee, Petersen Industries; Chapter Leadership Awards – Casey Powers of Republic Services and Frank Antonacci of USA Waste & Recycling and Murphy Road Recycling; Services Distinguished Service Awards – Lyle Vander Meiden of Midwest Sanitation & Recycling, Jennifer Johnson of Labella Associates and Phil Carter (posthumous) formerly of GFL Environmental; and Suppliers Distinguished Service Award – Mike Schwalbach, Sierra Container Group.

“NWRA’s member companies and their employees are the very reason our association exists. It is critical that we shine a spotlight on these individuals’ leadership and contributions to the industry for all to see as an example,” stated NWRA Interim President and CEO Jim Riley. “NWRA would not be the leading association in the waste and recycling industry without men and women like them, and I congratulate them on their achievements.”

The honorees will be recognized at NWRA’s Executive Leadership Roundtable event held October 4-5 in Asheville, North Carolina.

About the Awards

Members of the Year are selected based upon extraordinary service to the mission and goals of NWRA and the industry over the past year.

Chapter Leadership awards are presented to members whose contributions to an NWRA chapter were particularly meritorious.

Distinguished Service awards are presented to longstanding members of NWRA who render service in pursuit of the Association’s mission and goals. These awards recognize the highest spirit of volunteerism, personal integrity, professionalism and performance in an honorable and ethical manner.

About the Winners
Services Member of the Year
Lisa Disbrow, WM

As an advocate for continuous chapter development and improvement, Disbrow has tirelessly worked as the Illinois chapter chair and vice chair for the Kansas chapter. This year, she led the Illinois chapter through high-level negotiations on a proposed extended producer responsibility (EPR) bill, which yielded a study of EPR needs that does not include producer responsibility organizations. Additionally, she was the first woman to lead the Services Board of Governors and currently sits on the Board of Trustees.

Suppliers Member of the Year
Casey Hardee, Petersen Industries

Hardee was chosen for his individual initiative and take-charge approach to advocacy, not only on behalf of suppliers but the entire industry; his involvement with and support of the NWRA PAC; and his company’s involvement both nationally and at the chapter level for NWRA.

Chapter Leadership
Casey Powers, Republic Services

Powers has been leading NWRA’s Missouri chapter for more than 10 years through his strong leadership and dedicated service to the waste industry and NWRA. His extraordinary efforts established a benchmark of leadership for all of the chapters members to follow.

Frank M. Antonacci, USA Waste & Recycling and Murphy Road Recycling

Antonacci was a driving force behind NWRA’s efforts in Connecticut to defeat HB 6664. The legislation, supported by the governor, attempted to implement an EPR scheme in the state for packaging and paper products, as well as institute a tax on solid waste shipped out of state. Due to his leadership, NWRA was able to get EPR and the solid waste surcharge removed from the bill before it passed the state legislature in early June and was signed into law.

Services Distinguished Service
Lyle Vander Meiden, Midwest Sanitation & Recycling

Vander Meiden and his family have led Midwest Sanitation & Recycling for more than 30 years, establishing themselves as leaders in their community and the waste and recycling industry. His recent leadership and guidance to create an Iowa chapter of NWRA has captured the interest and respect of NWRA members.

Jennifer (“Jenny”) Johnson, Labella Associates

Johnson, vice president and director of waste and recycling for LaBella Associates, has dedicated her career to the solid waste industry. She has provided a steady hand as president of the Virginia Waste Industries Association, a chapter of NWRA. Johnson’s expertise is regularly sought for regulatory advisory panels for amendments to solid waste management regulations and stormwater regulations. She also has testified at the Virginia General Assembly on legislation concerning solid waste and serves on the Virginia Waste Management Board.

Phil Carter, GFL Environmental (posthumous)

Receiving this award posthumously after years of battling cancer, Carter, the NWRA Carolinas chapter lobbyist, passed away on May 20. Carter was known for his tireless industry advocacy work and the meaningful mentorships he held with many. Additionally, Carter was a storyteller. He lived a remarkable life and will be missed by all.

Suppliers Distinguished Service
Mike Schwalbach, Sierra Container Group

Schwalbach’s industry accomplishments and more than two decades of involvement with the Association speak volumes. He has been a driving force in shaping the structure and direction of the Suppliers Board of Governors, has heavily engaged with NWRA at the chapter level, serves as the NWRA PAC chairman and is a valued member of the Board of Trustees.


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 various other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit www.wasterecycling.org.

Brandon Wright
National Waste & Recycling Association