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SWANA announces keynote lineup for WASTECON 2019

Keynotes to highlight innovation and sustainability at WASTECON 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona


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The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is excited to announce the keynote speaker lineup for its WASTECON 2019: Pathway to Innovation conference to be held in Phoenix, Ariz., on October 21-24, 2019. Attendees at this year's conference will hear from recycling industry experts and innovative leaders about sound strategies to improve their recycling performance and plan for the future thanks to our Keynote lineup.

 "I am very excited that WASTECON will offer a range of inspiring and informative keynote speakers, including industry leaders such as Jon Vander Ark, Republic's new President, newly confirmed EPA Assistant Administrator Peter Wright, and several interactive sessions that will help participants enhance their leadership skills," said David Biderman, SWANA's Executive Director and CEO.

WASTECON 2019 Keynote Speakers:

Jon Vander Ark, President of Republic Services, Inc. is scheduled to kick-off the conference by discussing how to turn recycling into a resilient business with his address, "Forging a New Path to a Sustainable Recycling Model." Mr. Ark, who became president this year, will share insights on how to optimize operational performance in the solid waste and recycling industry. Republic Services, Inc. is the second largest provider of non-hazardous solid waste services providing collection, transfer, disposal, recycling and waste-to-energy for its customers by revenue.

Peter C. Wright, Assistant Administrator of the EPA's Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM), will provide WASTECON attendees important insights into OLEM's work in his address, "Framework for Recycling in the U.S." Over the past year, Mr. Wright has played a crucial role in guiding the development of EPA's national recycling framework, which will be released on America Recycles Day, November 15, 2019, and spoke at SWANApalooza in Boston in February 2019. Confirmed to the position of Assistant Administrator of OLEM in July 2019, Mr. Wright previously worked on a variety of environmental issues for nearly two decades, environmental remediation, and Superfund site management as managing counsel for the environmental, health, and safety matters at Dow Chemical Company.   

Dr. Teri Pipe, Chief Well-Being Officer at the Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience, Arizona State University, is scheduled to lead-off a Discovery Series with her address: "High Performing Leadership and Mindfulness in Action." Dr. Pipe will explain how solid waste collection, the fifth deadliest occupation in the U.S., could benefit from mindfulness: "While mindfulness may seem like a ‘soft skill,' in reality, there are many ways that using mindful practices can translate into risk reduction, error prevention and safer outcomes." Throughout WASTECON, participants will have an opportunity to engage in mindfulness practices that they can use for themselves and their workforce.

With over forty years of experience, Harvey Gershman, Co-Founder of Gershman, Brickner, & Bratton, Inc. (GBB), will share his award-winning insights on balancing recycling, sustainability and community engagement in his Lawrence Lecture address. As an adviser to the industry in both the private and public sectors, he has aided long-term strategic planning and implementation for numerous solid waste management, recycling, composting, and waste-to-energy projects in the United States and around the world.

Dr. Travis May aims to help the solid waste industry engage its stakeholders in his address: "The Importance of Storytelling." Dr. May is a faculty member of the Storytelling Institute of South Mountain Community College. The Institute partners with Arizona State University's Changemaker's Initiative as a result of his leadership. He draws upon his diverse educational background in Anthropology, Education, and Organizational Outreach to frame how organizations often miss important storytelling opportunities for strengthening the workplace community.

Futurist and economist, Rebecca Ryan of Next Generation Consulting, Inc., predicts future outcomes to aid complex decision-making. In her presentation: Making a Big Bet on the Future," she evaluates how solid waste industry professionals can best invest capital, time, and resources. She is the author of several recent books including The Next Big Things: The Future of Local Government and ReGENERATION: A Manifesto for America's Future Leaders. She is a successful thought-leader, entrepreneur, and TEDx speaker. Ms. Ryan is a faculty member at the Institute for Zen Leadership, the founder of Futurist Camp and the inventor of Futures Labs.

Taimur Burki, Waste and Recycling Manager at Intel, will share how to engage a culture of sustainability from the ground up in his address, "From Dumpster Diver to Driving Global Change." A Fortune 200 company, Intel generated a revenue of $70.8 billion in 2018. Mr. Burki summarized its minimal waste footprint: "In 2018, we sent just 4% of our hazardous waste to landfill - and since 2010, we've kept that number below 5%. But as the rate has fluctuated slightly from year to year, it's a good reminder that it's an ongoing journey." Mr. Burki has also helped the company achieve a 90%-plus recycling rate and conserve 60 billion gallons of water worldwide over his two decades at Intel.

David Biderman, SWANA's Executive Director and CEO, will discuss several important new SWANA worker safety and health initiatives. The winners of the 2019 SWANA Safety Awards will also be recognized at this time, with trophies presented to the City of San Antonio's Solid Waste Management Department and Lakeshore Recycling Systems.

SWANA proudly welcomes all of this year's WASTECON 2019 Keynotes as generous contributors to an important industry-wide conversation surrounding sustainability and innovation. We expect all attendees to benefit from valuable insights and perspectives on workplace culture, strategic planning, and leadership.

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