NWRA Recognizes Leaders for Contributions in Support of the Industry

NWRA Recognizes Leaders for Contributions in Support of the Industry

Arlington, VA – The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) announced membership award honorees across three categories for contributions in support of the waste and recycling industry and the Association.

The 2019 awardees are: Members of the Year Award: Chris Coulter, Peoria Disposal Company, and Don Ross, New Way Trucks; Chapter Leadership Award: Michael O’Connor, Premier Waste Services, and Steve Edwards, Advanced Disposal Services, Inc.; Distinguished Service Awards: Tom Agema, Homewood Disposal, Michael Savage, PTR Baler & Compactor Company, and Kevin O’Brien, WCA Waste Corporation.

“Our member companies and their employees are the strength of NWRA. Without these individuals’ leadership and contribution, NWRA would not be the leading association in the waste industry. I congratulate them on their achievement,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith.

The award winners will be officially recognized at WasteExpo 2019 during the Awards Breakfast.

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 a chapter were particularly meritorious.

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

About the Winners

Member of the Year

Chris Coulter, Peoria Disposal Company

Chris served as the Illinois chapter chair in 2018 and was reelected for a two-year term, serving through 2021. As chair, he reestablished the Legislative/Advocacy committee and was instrumental as the industry representative to the Mahoment Aquifer Task Force; he worked with the task force to ensure that the interests of the waste and recycling industry were represented in its final report. Chris helped raise more than $1.5 million for Easterseals Central Illinois, including more than $350,000 from the waste and recycling industry.

Don Ross, New Way Trucks

Don has been in the waste and recycling industry for more than 30 years. He has experience in all facets of the industry including hauling, transfer, consulting and manufacturing. Don is an active NWRA member, serving on the Suppliers Board of Governors and Hall of Fame Awards Committee Chair. He is also involved in other industry groups including the Environmental Research & Education Foundation.

Chapter Leadership

Michael O’Connor, Premier Waste Services

Michael has been a committed NWRA member for several years, being involved at both the national level as Board of Governors representative and the Arizona chapter level as vice chair. Michael has demonstrated his commitment to the betterment of the Association through speaking at numerous education sessions and by serving as a voice for small haulers. He has been integral in the success of the Arizona annual golf tournament, the most popular and profitable NWRA event in the western states.

Steve Edwards, Advanced Disposal Services, Inc.

Steve has served as Georgia’s chapter chairman for eight years. During his tenure, he led legislation initiatives to pass Slow Down to Get Around and regulation equality between privately- and publicly-held landfills. Leveraging his political experience as the mayor of Sugar Hill, he has demonstrated a solid history of pulling people together to address common interests and ideas.

Distinguished Service

Tom Agema, Homewood Disposal

Tom has served the industry for more than 30 years and has served as the company’s designated representative to the Illinois chapter since joining Homewood. Legislation introduced each year since 2003 is internally named the Tom Agema bill because he makes the motion to support a repeal of a provision for the collection of an annual commercial distribution fee on vehicles.

Michael Savage, PTR Baler & Compactor Company

Michael has been an active member of NWRA for many years. He is a former chair of the NWRA’s Supplier Board of Governors where he helped develop the board’s strategic plan. Additionally, he assisted the Board of Trustees with the development of its strategic plan. Michael also finds time to give back to his community where he is active in civic and charitable organizations.

Kevin O’Brien, WCA Waste Corporation

Kevin has served as the Missouri chapter chair since 2008 and the chapter’s alternate to the Board of Governors since 2014. Kevin worked with the governor’s office to get Hours of Service and truck weight relief after severe storms and the tornado damaged Joplin, Mo., in 2011. Kevin successfully fought flow control legislation in 2015 and worked to get Slow Down to Get Around legislation passed in 2017.


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