WASTECON 2009 Looks Ahead
SWANA marked the end of another great year of events in September with the finale of the 47th Annual WASTECON in Long Beach, California. WASTECON 2009 training began on Sunday, September 20, and the three-day conference and trade show began on Tuesday, September 22. Each year, this industry-leading event brings together the various fields within solid waste management with training, education, networking, and exhibits.
This year’s event kicked off with an opening breakfast featuring the amusing interpretations of comedian Tim Clue. The WASTECON Keynote speaker, Tom Szaky, chief executive officer and cofounder of TerraCycle Inc., followed Clue’s performance with an inspiring presentation on the success of his company. TerraCycle Inc., the first company to create products made from and packaged entirely in solid waste, has grown over the past decade to become the leader in up-cycling. Mr. Szaky spoke to the WASTECON attendees about the guiding principles of his company and the foundation of his success.
WASTECON 2009 opened on Tuesday with the traditional parade of flags followed by the national anthems of the United States and Canada. SWANA International President Carl Newby and President-elect John Hadfield joined local representatives from Long Beach and members of the Southern California Founding Chapter of SWANA to welcome this year’s attendees. At 10 a.m., the exhibit hall was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a $1,000 cash prize drawing. Attendees poured into the exhibit hall, chatting with old and new friends as they began to visit the more than 190 vendors showcasing their products and services at this year’s event.
With a focus on the Power of Solid Waste, WASTECON 2009 highlighted the various benefits and opportunities solid waste provides, including:
- alternative energy provided through waste-to-energy and landfill gas projects;
- solid waste’s ability to make significant contributions to the economic landscape; and
- the profession’s capacity to impact not only our generation, but those of generations to come.
Each year, WASTECON provides the opportunity for solid waste professionals to come together to connect and learn from each other. This year, attendees were encouraged to reflect on current challenges and discuss new, innovative programs and technologies that can be used to address these issues and continue to strengthen the industry. Many technical sessions, including several on waste-to-energy, landfill gas, collection systems, and recycling programs, developed the platform for attendees to begin these important discussions. Throughout the event, many conversations carried over from the technical sessions into the exhibit hall, to the technical division and Applied Research Foundation meetings, and to the many networking events. SWANA hopes that these discussions will continue throughout the remainder of 2009 and into 2010 and will be the stepping stones leading to the new, innovative programs necessary for the challenges of our times.
WASTECON also provides a convenient location for SWANA leadership to come together and discuss the upcoming year. SWANA’s Annual Business Meeting is an opportunity for interested parties to hear a report on the past year, learn the goals for the upcoming year, and be introduced to the incoming Association Officers. This year’s meeting, held Wednesday, September 23, confirmed the following officers for 2010: President—John Hadfield; Vice President—Sara Bixby of South Central Iowa Solid Waste Agency; Treasurer—James Warner of Lancaster County Solid Waste Authority; Secretary—Anne Germain of the Delaware Solid Waste Authority; and Past President—Carl Newby of Arlington County, Virginia.
The Annual Business Meeting was followed by the 2009 Lawrence Lecturer, Dr. Enzo Favoino, and a discussion of the European Union’s approach to managing organic wastes. As a researcher and advisor throughout Europe, Dr. Favoino shared insights into the successful strategies and programs for managing organic wastes and provided lessons learned to be used in North American programs.
T. Boone Pickens, a last-minute addition to the program and a much-anticipated speaker, took the stage after Dr. Favoino as the WASTECON Presidential Keynote speaker. Mr. Pickens, the architect of the Pickens Plan, shared his vision of the future and the opportunities for domestic fuel alternatives with WASTECON attendees.
After a full day of educational sessions and connecting with vendors, the Queen Mary, a historic ocean liner in Long Beach, welcomed attendees as the site of the Wednesday Night Networking event, sponsored by the Southern California Founding Chapter of SWANA. The chapter prepared an outstanding event that allowed the attendees to “eat, drink, and be Mary” as they networked with other solid waste professionals.
On the final day of the conference, Thursday, September 24, SWANA honored exceptional individuals and organizations at the Annual Awards Luncheon. Russell Reiserer of the city of Palo Alto, California, was awarded the Professional Achievement Award—Public Member, and Arnold “Duffy” Thompson was recognized with the Posthumous Award. SWANA also presented Life Member Awards to Robert P. Stearns of SCS Engineers and to Patrick Holland of Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District, Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to the Professional Achievement Awards, 33 facilities were recognized with Excellence Awards for their contributions to the solid waste management industry. The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio and Firm Green Inc. were recognized with the 2009 Innovation Award for their Green Energy Center.
As WASTECON 2009 came to a close, attendees had the chance to say goodbye to Long Beach and hello to Boston with the WASTECON 2010 Kick-Off Reception. Though the 2009 event just ended, plans are already well under way for WASTECON 2010, which is co-located with the American Public Works Association (APWA) in Boston, Massachusetts. The event will be held August 15–17, 2010, and will offer the usual technical sessions and training as well as an overlapping exhibit hall with APWA’s Annual Congress. The theme for WASTECON 2010 is “Strengthening the Industry,” and abstracts are being accepted until October 16, 2009. To find out more about the 2010 event, visit www.WASTECON.org.