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NWRA Recognizes Leaders for Industry Contributions

The award winners will be officially recognized at WasteExpo 2019 during the NWRA Awards Breakfast.

The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) announced membership award honorees across three categories for contributions in support of the waste and recycling industry and the association.

The 2019 awardees are as follows:

  • Members of the Year Award: Chris Coulter of Peoria Disposal Company and Don Ross of New Way Trucks
  • Chapter Leadership Award: Michael O’Connor of Premier Waste Services and Steve Edwards of Advanced Disposal Services, Inc.
  • Distinguished Service Awards: Tom Agema of Homewood Disposal, Michael Savage of PTR Baler & Compactor Company and Kevin O’Brien of WCA Waste Corporation

“Our member companies and their employees are the strength of NWRA. Without these individuals’ leadership and contribution, NWRA would not be the leading association in the waste industry. I congratulate them on their achievement,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith in a statement.

The award winners will be officially recognized at WasteExpo 2019 during the NWRA Awards Breakfast.

Members of the Year are selected based upon extraordinary service to the mission and goals of NWRA and the industry over the past year.

  • Peoria Disposal’s Coulter served as the Illinois Chapter chair in 2018 and was re-elected for a two-year term, serving through 2021. As chair, he re-established the Legislative/Advocacy Committee and was instrumental as the industry representative to the Mahoment Aquifer Task Force; he worked with the task force to ensure that the interests of the waste and recycling industry were represented in its final report. Coulter helped raise more than $1.5 million for Easterseals Central Illinois, including more than $350,000 from the waste and recycling industry.
  • New Way Trucks’ Ross has been in the waste and recycling association for more than 30 years. He has experience in all facets of the industry including hauling, transfer, consulting and manufacturing. Ross is an active NWRA member, serving on the Suppliers Board of Governors and as Hall of Fame Awards Committee chair. He also is involved in other industry groups including the Environmental Research & Education Foundation.

Chapter Leadership Awards are presented to members whose contributions to a chapter were particularly meritorious.

  • Premier Waste Services’ O’Connor has been a committed NWRA member for several years, being involved at both the national level as Board of Governors representative and the Arizona Chapter level as vice chair. O’Connor has demonstrated his commitment to the betterment of the association through speaking at numerous education sessions and by serving as a voice for small haulers. He has been integral in the success of the Arizona annual golf tournament, the most popular and profitable NWRA event in the Western states.
  • Advanced Disposal Services’ Edwards has served as Georgia’s Chapter chairman for eight years. During his tenure, he led legislation initiatives to pass Slow Down to Get Around and regulation equality between privately and publicly held landfills. Leveraging his political experience as the mayor of Sugar Hill, he has demonstrated a solid history of pulling people together to address common interests and ideas.

Distinguished Service Awards are presented to longstanding members of NWRA who render service in pursuit of its mission and goals. It recognizes the highest spirit of volunteerism, personal integrity, professionalism and performance in an honorable and ethical manner, according to NWRA.

  • Homewood Disposal’s Agema has served the industry for more than 30 years and has served as the company’s designated representative to the Illinois Chapter since joining Homewood. Legislation introduced each year since 2003 is internally named the Tom Agema Bill because he makes the motion to support a repeal of a provision for the collection of an annual commercial distribution fee on vehicles.
  • PTR Baler & Compactor Company’s Savage has been an active member of NWRA for many years. He is a former chair of the NWRA’s Supplier Board of Governors (BOG) where he helped develop the board’s strategic plan. Additionally, he assisted the Board of Trustees with the development of its strategic plan. Savage also finds time to give back to his community, where he is active in civic and charitable organizations.
  • WCA Waste Corporation’s O’Brien served as the Missouri Chapter chair since 2008 and the chapter’s alternate to the BOG since 2014. He worked with the governor’s office to get Hours of Service and truck weight relief after severe storms and the tornado-damaged Joplin, Mo., in 2011. O’Brien successfully fought flow control legislation in 2015 and worked to get Slow Down to Get Around legislation passed in 2017.
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