What Happened in Vegas

AMONG THE THOUSANDS OF ATTENDEES at this year's WasteExpo and the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) and Waste Equipment Technology Association (WASTEC) booth was a very special guest — 10-year-old Jimmy Yurkovich of Peoria, Ariz. Jimmy has already decided he wants to be a garbage man. For his birthday, his parents drove five hours to Las Vegas to bring him to the show.

Jimmy was about 10 months old when he became interested in garbage, screaming to be taken outside to watch the truck pick up a can. Today, he reads the trade magazines, watches videos and looks forward to the day when he can work for the industry. With 68 model trucks and many miniature containers, Jimmy spends his time filling up garbage cans throughout the house and emptying them. “I have a really cool side-loading truck and several rear and front loaders that I use on my routes,” he says. “I do a different route every day.”

At WasteExpo, Jimmy was able to explore the show floor and look at new engineering designs for garbage containers and trucks. “I even got to operate a garbage truck,” he says. “I was like the driver behind the wheel, and I picked up a can.”

Other highlights at WasteExpo included the First Annual Safety Fashion Show, where industry leaders and Las Vegas showgirls modeled vests, shirts, jackets and other personal protective equipment. One model even wore custom jewelry in the shape of garbage trucks and containers. The event was attended by nearly 200 people and was a great chance to “make safety fun.”

Nearly 300 people attended the President's VIP Reception at Caesar's Palace, hosted by Environmental Industry Association (EIA) President and CEO Bruce Parker. Leaders within EIA, NSWMA and WASTEC networked over drinks and hors d'oeuvres at the event, sponsored by Wastequip Corp.

The theme for this year's Inspirational and Awards Breakfast was “In Our Own Voice,” recognizing the efforts of individuals who have created a positive image for the waste industry. Motivational speaker Jim MacLaren, sponsored by Marathon Equipment Co., talked about his experience as a quadriplegic and the importance of thinking confidently about ourselves from the moment we wake up each day.

A boxed lunch session on automated collection that was hosted by the EIA Women's Council featured a standing-room-only crowd. The event featured a panel of experts from various sectors of the industry, including Jim Rankin of Republic Services Inc., Madeleine Szots of Labrie Equipment Ltd., Melissa Gauger of International Truck and Engine Corp., Cindy Jones of Pro Star Waste and moderator Juliea Birkey of Trucks and Parts of Tampa, Fla.

The council's coloring book, “Where Does My Garbage Go?,” debuted at WasteExpo. The book is an enjoyable and educational tool to teach children about our industry and the route that garbage takes from the kitchen to the landfill.

Alice Jacobsohn is director of public affairs for the Environmental Industry Associations. Contact the author at [email protected].

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