The Miami-Dade County Department of Solid Waste Management in Florida (DSWM) announced that it has named Michael J. Fernandez as its director. Fernandez previously served as the deputy director of operations for DSWM.
“Mr. Fernandez exceeds the qualifications and experience for the position. He is one of the rising stars in our county administration and a perfect fit,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez in a statement. “I am confident that Mr. Fernandez will lead the Department of Solid Waste Management to ensure that the residents of Miami-Dade County continue to receive outstanding service.”
Fernandez, a 2018 Waste360 40 Under 40 award recipient, is replacing Alina T. Hudak, who will continue to serve in her capacity as Miami-Dade County deputy mayor until her retirement in July after 35 years of service.
“I am very pleased that Mayor Gimenez has chosen Mr. Fernandez to carry on the tradition of service and dedication that have become synonymous with the Miami-Dade Department of Solid Waste Management,” said Hudak in a statement. “I have every confidence that the department will continue to thrive in Mr. Fernandez’s very capable hands.”
Fernandez has a long, illustrious record in the solid waste industry and at DSWM, according to the department. He was first hired by the department in 2008 as the director of the transfer division, where he oversaw the operation of both the county’s three regional waste transfer stations and waste transfer operations at the North Dade and South Dade landfills as well as removal of rejects and residue from the Resources Recovery Facility.
In 2014, Fernandez was promoted to assistant director of disposal operations. In that position, he was a part of the department’s senior management team leading post-Hurricane Irma cleanup efforts across the county. It was in part due to these efforts that he was again promoted, to deputy director, in 2018.
During Fernandez’s tenure, DSWM implemented a number of programs to enhance efficiency, reduce costs and improve productivity. At least two of these programs—the Transfer Division Night Shift Program and the Transfer Division On-Board Scales Program—won achievement awards from the National Association of Counties.
Prior to joining Miami-Dade County and DSWM, Fernandez spent eight years in the private sector waste industry and, later, three years as a sanitation superintendent for the city of Hallandale Beach.
As director of DSWM, Fernandez will oversee one of the largest publicly-owned and operated solid waste systems in the United States, with close to 1,000 employees, a budget of approximately $500 million, a customer base of 353,000 households and a collection and disposal system that includes multiple landfills, regional transfer stations, 13 trash and recycling centers and the largest public waste-to-energy plant in the country.
Fernandez holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida International University along with a number of certificates in the field. In addition to being named a Waste360 40 Under 40 award recipient, he serves, and has served, on numerous boards including the Collections and Transfer Technical Board of the Solid Waste Association of North America and the Miami-Dade County Illegal Dumping Task Force.