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SWANA Announces 2019 Award Winners

Honorees will be recognized later this month at SWANApalooza in Boston.

The technical divisions of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) have voted to recognize two outstanding members and a company for achievement, volunteer efforts and leadership in 2019. The presentations will be made on February 26 during the SWANApalooza conference in Boston.

Distinguished Individual Achievement Awards will be presented to Michelle Leonard, vice president at SCS Engineers, and Ivan Cooper, P.E., BCEE, principal for Civic and Environmental Consultants (CEC). Interior Removal Specialists Inc. will receive the Sustainable Materials Management Award.

“SWANA Awards recipients represent the best the solid waste profession in North America has to offer,” said David Biderman, SWANA executive director and CEO, in a statement. “Community leaders should be very proud of the valuable contributions that these professionals provide to their citizens.”

More than 5,000 of SWANA’s 10,200 members participate in SWANA’s seven technical divisions. The volunteer leaders of those divisions annually consider nominations to recognize outstanding individuals and solid waste programs and facilities that demonstrate a commitment to the highest practices of the industry. The individuals selected must show commitment through professional achievement, volunteerism in SWANA and leadership in the appropriate technical division.

Solid waste programs receiving recognition submit confirmation that they have met a set of specific criteria in using effective technologies and processes in system design and operations, advancing worker and community health and safety and implementing successful public education and outreach programs. These programs also must exhibit that they are fiscally and environmentally responsible and comply with all applicable federal, state and local regulations.

The Landfill Management Technical Division will present its Distinguished Individual Achievement award to Cooper. Drawing on 47 years of technical and management experience, Cooper oversees water and wastewater consulting activities for landfill leachate and other industrial facilities at CEC. He chairs the Landfill Management Division’s Leachate and Landfill Liquids Committee and is a frequent speaker and session curator for sessions on leachate topics. Under his leadership, the committee conducted a survey of landfill leachate management practices in North America and presented the findings at many events.

Through SWANA, Cooper was invited by the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem to participate in a public diplomacy program on public-private partnerships, infrastructure management and water/wastewater management, distribution and regulation in the Palestinian National Authority territories regarding the sale and reuse of treated wastewater. He was the sole U.S. representative for the program. He will discuss this experience at SWANApalooza.

The Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Technical Division will present two awards at SWANApalooza. The division will present its Distinguished Individual Achievement award to Leonard, who began her career in the solid waste industry in the 1990s with SCS Engineers. At that time, attending a Southern California SWANA chapter event meant she might meet only a handful of women. She was nominated for the SWANA Executive Board, where she served as treasurer, secretary, vice president and finally International president in 2016.

According to SWANA, Leonard is “always available to present, moderate, sit on panels, work with clients on the latest programming and—most importantly—to learn new things. Her passion for her work and her depth of knowledge in our industry are unsurpassable.”

The SMM Award for an organization goes to Interior Removal Specialist, Inc. (IRS Demo), based in South Gate, Calif. From hybrid vehicles for the estimating staff to a fleet of compressed natural gas roll-off trucks for its hauling, IRS Demo has always treated minimum regulations as simply a starting point, according to SWANA.

“They work to raise the bar for the industry, in quality of work as well as in diversion,” stated SWANA. “IRS Demo has completely changed the way they perform demolition to prove that greater diversion can be achieved. Their recycling yard was designed to deal with what most consider to be problematic materials. This facility now boasts a diversion rate in excess of 80 percent, with no material going to be used as SDC.”

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