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

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.

NWRA Staff

May 8, 2024

4 Min Read

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


“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 Holmes, Independent Director, WIN Waste Innovations

William 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 anddistributors; and a variety of other

About the Author(s)

NWRA Staff

National Waste & Recycling Association

The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) is the leading voice of the North American waste and recycling industry on advocacy, education and safety. The industry provides essential services that benefit our local communities and businesses by assisting our customers in achieving their environmental and sustainability aspirations.

Association members operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and can be found in most, if not all, U.S. congressional districts. Waste and recycling facilities number nearly 18,000 scattered throughout the U.S., mirroring population centers. Our nearly 700 members are a mix of publicly-traded and privately owned local, regional and Fortune 500 national and international companies. NWRA represents approximately 70 percent of the private sector waste and recycling market.

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