When most people think of the National Solid Waste Management Association (NSWMA) and the Waste Equipment Technology Association (WASTEC), they think of the national and state advocacy that the groups provide their members. But our surveys tell us that members regularly cite the networking opportunities at various NSWMA and WASTEC meetings as equally important.
Such networking is facilitated not only at state chapter meetings and national meetings like WasteExpo or the Executive Roundtable, but also at meetings or events organized by NSWMA and WASTEC councils and institutes, sub-groups that bring together specific professional or affinity groups. If you are not participating in these groups, you are missing out on important professional development opportunities — opportunities to network with colleagues and customers in a non-work setting — as well as lots of fun. In recent months, these groups have hosted a number of notable activities.
Future Industry Leaders Alliance
In late September, EIA’s Future Industry Leaders Alliance (the group that provides education, networking and mentoring opportunities to younger professionals seeking executive advancement and professional leadership in the waste industry) met in Indianapolis for its annual business meeting. It also toured industry facilities in the area, including a materials recovery facility operated by Republic Services and a waste-to-energy facility operated by Covanta. The group convened a discussion with industry leaders from Autocar and Republic Services. Also, the group took in an NFL football game (the Indianapolis Colts v. the Pittsburgh Steelers).
Healthcare Waste Institute
In mid-September, the Healthcare Waste Institute (the group whose members transport, treat and dispose of healthcare waste; manufacture or distribute products used in the industry; or provide consulting services to those involved in this line of business) met in New Orleans for its annual meeting. During this meeting, attendees discussed transportation regulations and federal-state conflicts, pharmaceutical waste management and emerging trends across the states such as distracted driving restrictions. Participants also enjoyed the fine cuisine of Chef Emeril Lagasse’s NOLA Restaurant, as well as jazz in the French Quarter.
In late August, EIA’s Women’s Council (the group that works for the professional advancement of women through meaningful and useful education, assistance, support, and mentoring) met in Charlotte for its annual President’s Tour. During this event, the group visited Otto Environmental Systems’ manufacturing facility. An executive from the Volvo Construction Equipment Company and the City of Charlotte Solid Waste Field Operations Supervisor addressed the group. In addition, they participated in a white water rafting adventure at the U.S. National Whitewater Center and a southern cuisine cooking lesson by a Charlotte culinary expert.
One Women’s Council member described the value of participating with these sorts of groups thusly: “As a relatively new person to the waste industry, joining the Women’s Council immediately gave me a wealth of connections. As the years have gone on, and I participated more in the Women’s Council, I have gained friends and colleagues that have contributed to my growth as a person and a member of our industry.”
Other NSWMA and WASTEC councils and institutes include the NSWMA Chairman’s Council and the NSWMA Landfill Institute.
If your company is an NSWMA or WASTEC member, you should participate in these groups. If your company does not currently belong to NSWMA or WASTEC, these programs are additional reasons to join today. For more information about the NSWMA and WASTEC councils and institutes, visit www.environmentalistseveryday.org/councils-and-institutes.
Thomas Metzger is director of communications and public affairs for the National Solid Wastes Management Association. Reach him at (202) 364-3751.