NWRA Honors 2024 Drivers of the Year, Operators of the Year and Hall of Fame Inductees at Annual Awards Breakfast

NWRA Honors 2024 Drivers of the Year, Operators of the Year and Hall of Fame Inductees at Annual Awards Breakfast

Arlington, VA – Today, the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) honored the 2024 Drivers of the Year, Operators of the Year and Hall of Fame inductees at NWRA’s annual Awards Breakfast at WasteExpo in Las Vegas. The 2024-2025 recipients of the NWRA Women’s Council scholarships and the 2024 recipients of the NWRA Future Industry Leaders Alliance (FILA) Leadership Certificate Program also were recognized.

During the Awards Breakfast, Don Ross, NWRA Board of Trustees chairman and New Way Trucks chief sales officer; Michael E. Hoffman, NWRA incoming president and CEO; Pat Carroll, Environmental Solutions Group president; Martin Mattsson, Volvo Construction Equipment director of key accounts, Americas; Lee Dreas, McNeilus vice president and general manager; Faith Zydowsky, Sierra Container Group vice president; Tammy Holtzman, Waste Connections district manager; and Eric Voss, BTR chief sales officer, acknowledged the award recipients’ outstanding safety and leadership efforts.

“The NWRA Awards Breakfast is one of the Association’s highlights each year,” said Ross. “It is not only a moment to look back and reward our members for their lifelong commitments to the Association and the waste and recycling industry but to come together as one to celebrate the collaborative milestones we’ve made thus far. Congratulations once again to this year’s recipients!”

“To this year’s Drivers of the Year, Operators of the Year and scholarship recipients, thank you for a job well done. To the newest class entering the NWRA Hall of Fame, welcome. Your induction is well deserved, and we thank you for your longtime dedication to the Association, the industry and your hard work each day,” stated Hoffman. “As we look to the future, NWRA is prepared to lead on the critical policy and regulatory issues we face. With your participation, we can make a difference, see the employees home safe and sound every day and continue to be the leader on economically practical sustainable solutions to managing waste in North America.”

Hall of Fame inductees are selected based on scores in five categories, including recognition in the industry as a founder, pioneer, visionary or icon; enduring legacy and impact of contributions to the industry for a minimum of 25 years; steadfast values such as integrity, respect, courage, mentorship, volunteerism and inclusiveness; inspirational leadership at an NWRA service provider or supplier and on issues important to NWRA at the national, state and/or local level; and active Association engagement and service as an ambassador of the industry.

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 breakdown of the categories is: Local Company, less than 500 truck fleet; Regional Company, 500 to 2,500 truck fleet; and National Company, more than 2,500 truck fleet.

The Operator of the Year awards are 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.

See below for the full list of 2024 award recipients.

2024 Hall of Fame Inductees
Tod C. Holmes, Independent Director, WIN Waste Innovations
William J. Rumpke, Jr., President and CEO, Rumpke Waste & Recycling
Mike Schwalbach, President and Founder, Sierra Container Group

2024 Driver of the Year Winners and Honorable Mention Recipients
National Commercial
Winner: Matthew Linden, Republic Services, Inc.

Honorable Mentions: Juan Alfaro, Republic Services, Inc.; James (Allen) Cox, Republic Services, Inc.; Kenneth Gelderloos, Waste Connections, Inc.; Greg Rascoe, Republic Services, Inc.; Robert Schuleter, Republic Services, Inc.

National Industrial
Winner: Ramon Salaz, Waste Connections, Inc.

Honorable Mentions: Richardson Ball, Republic Services, Inc.; Sylvester Braswell, Republic Services, Inc.; David Howard, Republic Services, Inc.; Jason Jewell, GFL Environmental; Terry McQuillan, Republic Services, Inc.; Lawrence Prezioso, Republic Services, Inc.

National Residential
Winner: Terrel Herring, Republic Services, Inc.

Honorable Mentions: Steve Beachy, Waste Connections, Inc.; Darryl Brown, Waste Connections, Inc.; Jesus Casas, Republic Services, Inc.; Jon Detwiler, Republic Services, Inc.; Jacob Mayo, Republic Services, Inc.

Regional Commercial
Winner: Curtis Rhodes, Casella Waste Systems

Honorable Mentions: Sixto Dela Cruz, Recology; Tony Grodesky, LRS; Scott Deal, Rumpke Consolidated Companies

Regional Industrial
Winner: John Michaud, Casella Waste Systems

Honorable Mentions: Cesarin Guerrero, Casella Waste Systems; Louis Shaner, Rumpke Consolidated Companies; Ralph Snow, Rumpke Consolidated Companies; Matt Willis, Rumpke Consolidated Companies

Regional Residential
Winner: Shawn Dutton, Casella Waste Systems

Honorable Mentions: Tina Kelly, Rumpke Consolidated Companies; Manuel Vera, Recology; Phil Wright, LRS

Local Member
Michael Gondek, All Waste

Public Sector
Manuel Vigil, Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling

2024 Operator of the Year Winners and Honorable Mention Recipients
Winners: Nivardo Gonzalez, WM; Rob Hamil, Republic Services, Inc.; Sergio Padilla, WM; Stanley Watts, WM

Honorable Mentions: Randy Beasley, WM; Steve Blake, GFL Environmental; Mathew Grant, Veit Disposal Systems; Jason Malinowski, WM; Robert Vaughn, GFL Environmental

2024-2025 NWRA Women’s Council Scholarship Recipients
Amanda Curtis, American Waste Control
Carys Dubinski, For Good Environmental LLC
Madeline Pellitteri, Pellitteri Waste Systems
Meilin Tsao, County of Marin, California
Phoenix Hughes, Casella Waste Systems
Laurin Wood, Casella Waste Systems
Crystal Moore, Waste Connections
Daniella Falletta, Mazza Recycling
Haley Nolde, Nebraska Recycling Council
Alexandra Hutchins, Casella Waste Systems

FILA Leadership Certificate Program Recipients
Able Cota, Troiano Waste Services
Kemrey Kidd, Rehrig Pacific Co.
John Paglia, Florida Express Waste & Recycling and United American Recycling
Martin Mattsson, Volvo Construction Equipment

NWRA thanks this year’s sponsors for their support: Environmental Solutions Group (Driver of the Year), Volvo Construction Equipment (Operator of the Year), McNeilus Truck and Manufacturing (Hall of Fame), Petersen Industries and Republic Services, Inc. Next year’s awards breakfast will be held on May 6, 2025, at WasteExpo 2025 in Las Vegas.


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 managing the collection and disposal of solid, industrial and medical waste; companies managing recycling processing and renewable energy; equipment manufacturers and distributors; and a variety of other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit www.wasterecycling.org.

Mallory Szczepanski
National Waste & Recycling Association