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US Composting Council awards recognize the best in the industry

Organic waste is composting inside a wooden bin
Awardees are nominated by peers and honored each year at the US Composting Council's annual conference and tradeshow.

The US Composting Council recognized innovative large- and small-scale composters, manufacturers, municipalities and policy makers at its prestigious annual awards program, a highlight of COMPOST2022, the USCC's annual conference, which took place in Austin, Texas, January 24-27th.

The first of four esteemed USCC achievement awards, the Organics Diversion Program of the Year Award, went to Compost Crew. Ben Parry, Chief Executive Officer, acquired the company in 2018. Compost Crew is based in Rockville, MD and provides collection services throughout the DMV area by supporting community resilience and developing several modular small-scale compost facilities. 

The Large-Scale Compost Manufacturer of the Year Award goes to a commercial-scale U.S. composting facility that produces more than 10,000 tons of compost per year. This public or private facility displays excellence in both compost production, marketing and distribution. The winner must be in operation for a minimum of three years. This year's award went to Inland Empire Regional Composting Facility. Project Manager Jeff Ziegenbein CCOM, received the award on behalf of the facility. IERCF is based in southern California, where they create creative engineering solutions to process more than 200,000 wet tons of biosolids and green waste each year. 

The Small-Scale Composter Manufacturer of the Year Award, given to facilities producing 10,000 tons or less, went to Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency. Director of Sustainability Angelina Brandt accepted the award on behalf of UCRRA. As part of the application, agency partners and customers shared glowing testimonials to the quality of compost produced at the Ulster County facility.

"The O Zone is a proud partner of Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency in their Composting Program," Amelia LeGare, owner of The O Zone, said. "What an honor it is to work with such a professional, knowledgeable organization whose aim is to provide quality service and invaluable education to our community.

The H. Clark Gregory Award recognizes public outreach as well as outstanding grassroots efforts to promote composting. This year's award went to Renee Wallace, FoodPLUS Detroit's Executive Director. Wallace is also owner of DoersEdge Consulting. Wallace's efforts go beyond her two roles within the two organizations, as she also volunteers her time by engaging stakeholders and organizing and strategizing around compost policy on the city and state level.

The Hi Kellogg Award goes to individuals who provided outstanding service to the composting industry. This year's recipient of the Hi Kellogg Award is Noel Lyons, co-founder of McGill Environmental Systems. Lyons is a committed industry leader with a hands-on approach to helping his employees when short-staffed, funding advocacy efforts on behalf of fellow composters throughout the country, and ensuring protections to compost operations as an environmentally sustainable practice to waste processing.

The Jerome Goldstein Award recognizes those who achieved excellence in their field of study and honors those who have made significant contributions over their professional career to the field of environmental stewardship and natural resource sustainability. The 2021 Jerome Goldstein Award went to Craig Coker of Coker Composting and Consulting. Coker is a facility operator, researcher and contributor to BioCycle for over 30 years.

"Craig has embodied the highest standards of compost consulting for decades," Editor of BioCycle Nora Goldstein said. "He has always let the quality of his work speak for itself and conscientiously and transparently managed the cost of his services with the client's best interests in mind."

City of Minneapolis Recycling Coordinator Kellie Kish was named USCC Volunteer of the Year. Kish is the founder of the Minnesota Composting Council and has served on its board of directors since its foundation in 2012. She also serves as a co-chair of the USCC Target Organics Committee, is a member of the USCC Strategic Alliance Committee, and a BPI Composter and Municipality Member. 

Kristine Ellsworth was recognized as USCC's Young Professional of the Year. Ellsworth is the YP Steering Committee Chair. She graduated from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Resources Engineering. Currently, she works at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation's Organics Reduction and Recycling Section.

Brian Fleury, Executive Vice President of Denali Water Solutions, received the 2021 installation of the President's Award. Fleury served 9 years on the USCC Board of Directors. 

Lastly, Jeffrey Dannis, Patrick Geraty, and Bob Schanz received USCC Special Service Awards for their Board of Directors service. Dannis is the Operations Division Chief of the Alpha Ridge Landfill at the Bureau of Environmental Services in Howard County, MD. Geraty is the founder and president of St. Louis Composting, and Schanz is the manager of Barnes Landscape Materials and Recycling, a division of Barnes Nursery, Inc.

Awardees are nominated by peers and honored each year at the US Composting Council's Annual Conference and Tradeshow. The USCC is proud of the outstanding efforts of this year's group of distinguished awardees and members. 

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