EIA: The Learning Road Trip

The EIA’s new CEO is traveling the country, gathering input toward forming a plan.

August 6, 2012

3 Min Read
EIA: The Learning Road Trip

By Thomas Metzger

The new president and CEO of the Environmental Industry Associations (EIA), Sharon Kneiss, has spent much of her first seven weeks leading the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) and the Waste Equipment Technology Association (WASTEC) out on the road meeting members all over the country. To date, these member meetings have taken her to Maryland, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio and North Carolina. In coming weeks, she plans to visit New York, New Jersey, Arizona, California, and Florida.

Experiencing Industry Diversity

During these trips she has met with representatives of large, puthblicly traded companies, regional players, as well as with owners of companies that have been started by their fathers and grandfathers. 

In addition to meeting with company leaders, she also has toured construction and demolition (C&D) recycling; single-stream recycling and dual-stream recycling facilities; transfer stations; and C&D, municipal solid waste (MSW) and ash mono-fill landfills. She saw new landfill cell preparation, as well as normal operations and a landfill cell being capped. She saw landfill gas extraction and on-site energy generation facilities and toured a waste-to-energy facility. She visited a facility manufacturing refuse bodies, a truck design facility and a baler and compactor manufacturing plant. She toured a compressed natural gas (CNG) conversion facility and CNG fueling facilities.

About these facilities, Kneiss stated, “Wherever I go, I consistently see passion, commitment and pride in the industry, and the diversity of our industry has become more clear to me.”

She added, “I see how significantly local and state regulations are affecting the industry in states and regions. It also is clear that the economy has had an impact on business. I am fascinated, however, by the success of members in finding markets for recycled materials.”

Back to the Future

Looking forward, she offered, “Technology is developing at an amazing rate for the industry. One material recovery facility (MRF) manager told me that he needs to update his facility about once a year to remain competitive. In my discussion with members so far, I have heard many NSWMA and WASTEC members describe the solid waste and recycling industry as one in transition. I want to position our association to positively facilitate and communicate that transition whenever and wherever it is practically possible.

“For example, a number of people that I have met so far have stated that our legislative positioning would benefit from public officials and media representatives and others having a better understanding and clear appreciation of what this industry provides to the communities that it serves. I also am hearing that EIA could serve a larger and more significant role in gathering and analyzing market data for the industry, including information on waste generation, diversion rates, industry equipment, etc.”

Kneiss concluded by stating that she will use all of the information that she’s gathering during strategic planning efforts that are planned for EIA/NSWMA/WASTEC in coming months. The plan will define and map the strategic direction for EIA for the next three to five years.

EIA is the trade association that represents the private sector solid waste and recycling services industry through its two sub-associations, the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) and the Waste Equipment Technology Association (WASTEC). For more information about these or other EIA/NSWMA/WASTEC activities, visit www.environmentalistseveryday.org or contact Communications Director Thom Metzger at [email protected].

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