Sharon Kneiss has been named the new president and CEO of the Environmental Industry Associations (EIA).
Kneiss has more than 30 years of business, management and advocacy experience regarding environmental policy at the federal and state levels. She served as vice president, products division, with the American Chemistry Council (ACC). While there she managed a 50-person staff and was responsible for the division’s vision and strategy, product promotion, state and local advocacy, research and policy development and membership recruitment. Kneiss also was a public spokeswoman on critical environmental issues with Congress and high-profile media.
Prior to ACC, Kneiss worked in management at the American Forest & Paper Association, and in policy advocacy roles at Chevron Corp., Hercules Inc. and the American Petroleum Institute. Through those experiences she directed several environmental initiatives, ranging from plastic recycling to Superfund and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulatory issues to voluntary industry commitment to greenhouse gas reductions.
Kneiss received a bachelor of science in chemistry from the University of Scranton and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh.
“We are pleased to announce that Sharon Kneiss will be leading the EIA effective June 1 and will bring significant insight and knowledge to our industry,” said EIA Chairman Charlie Appleby, who also is chairman and CEO of Advanced Disposal Services Inc., based in Jacksonville, Fla. “The CEO of EIA is the face of our environmental industry, and having the right person to fill the position upon Bruce Parker’s retirement is critical,” said Appleby in an EIA news release. “The solid waste and recycling industry, including its equipment manufacturers, provides a vital service that impacts each and every person and business in this country. The needs of our customers and the development of new technologies are changing at light speed. We knew we needed someone who can readily grasp the impact of those changes and navigate the halls of Washington and the various states, as well as respond to the needs of our membership. I am confident that we found that person in Ms. Kneiss.”
The new CEO said, “I am pleased and honored to take the helm of EIA, representing the industry whose services keep our communities clean, protect the public health, enable and promote recycling, integrate new technology and provide renewable energy. I look forward to representing the industry, working with its membership and working with the various governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to promote the industry’s good work.”
In her first in-depth industry interview, Kneiss told Waste Age two areas of emphasis for her when she takes over will be communication and recycling. (See cover story, page 38.)
“One of the best messages for this organization is its work on recycling,” Kneiss says. “I think recycling is such an important area. The greater visibility we can give the industry, I think that will serve them very well.”
Kneiss says one of her first moves will be to embark upon a listening tour of the industry. “There’s a real opportunity to listen and learn and get a broad view of this industry,” she says.
The selection of Kneiss follows an extensive executive search of candidates to lead the trade association that represents the private-sector solid waste industry and its two sub-associations, the National Solid Waste Management Association (NSWMA) and the Waste Equipment Technology Association (WASTEC).
Appleby says in an interview that the search committee received more than 150 applications. A four-person committee led by Appleby conducted the search, and the choice was approved by EIA’s full board of trustees.
He says everyone is comfortable with the selection. “At the final stage, it was a pretty easy decision. Either [of the two finalists] would have been a fine CEO. I don’t think we could have failed with either one. We picked the one the board thought would do the best job for us.”
Parker announced his retirement at the end of November, and the search began at that time. Parker has been president and CEO of EIA, since 1996. He joined the association in 1981 as its general counsel.