SWANA 2015 Professional Achievement Awards

The Professional Achievement Awards program was developed to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the solid waste management profession through the course of their careers.

Each of the 2015 winners was recommended by the International Awards Committee, and each recommendation was approved by the Executive Committee (EC) during SWANA’s mid-year meeting in March.

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Life Member Awards:

The Life Member Award gives the recipient a Life Membership in SWANA, and only one may be given annually (in addition to the Past President). However, with the retirement of John Skinner, the Awards Committee decided to give him an award as well. This precedent was established when SWANA’s only other Executive Director, Lanny Hickman, retired in 1996.

John Skinner, Executive Director/CEO (retired), SWANA. Nominated by SWANA Deputy Executive John Skinner (11)Director, Sara Bixby.

Dr. Skinner served as the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of SWANA from 1996 through April 2015. During that time, the organization has significantly grown its membership, the scope of its education services, and its financial stability.

Under his leadership, SWANA:

  • Implemented its e-business strategy, which provided the foundation for www.swana.org and the transition to electronic communications within the organization
  • Added chapters in Puerto Rico and Quebec
  • Added and refined a long list of technical policies regularly used by chapters around North America

Skinner’s participation with the International Solid Waste Association of North America (ISWA) brought an ISWA Congress to the United States in 1998 and will bring another in 2017. More importantly, his involvement with ISWA has led to an increased global perspective in SWANA conferences. As the industry becomes increasingly global in scope (e.g., the implementation of the Chinese Green Fence), those ties will continue to serve SWANA and its evolution as a viable and industry-leading organization.

Dr. Skinner has worked in the field of municipal solid waste management and environmental protection for more than 40 years, including:

  • United Nations Environment Programme, Senior Advisor, Industry and Environment Programme, Paris, France, 1992 – August 1996.
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
    • Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of R&D 1988–1992
    • Director, Office of Environmental Engineering, 1985–1988
    • Director, Office of Solid Waste, 1982–1985
    • Director, Land Disposal Division, Office of Solid Waste, 1978–1982
    • Deputy Director and Branch Chief Resource Recovery Division, Office of Solid Waste, 1972–1978

His professional activities include serving as the National Representative to ISWA from 1996 to the present, and President of ISWA from 1992–1996. He also held the position of President for the Institute of Solid Wastes of American Public Works Association (APWA) from 1990–1991.

He has been the recipient of many awards and honors including the Presidential Distinguished Executive Award 1992, the A.J. Barnes Human Resources Leadership Award-EPA 1992, Gold Medal for Exceptional Service-U.S. EPA, the Honorary Fellow-UK Institute of Wastes Management 1994, and a NASA Fellowship- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

Robert “Bob” Hauser Jr., Solid Waste Director (Retired). Pinellas County, Florida. Nominated by Florida Chapter Vice President and SWANA Chapter Director Tammy Hayes.

Bob Hauser

Bob Hauser

Bob Hauser has been a SWANA member since the Government Refuse, Collection and Disposal Association (GRCDA) days. He regularly attended SWANA events on both the local and national levels throughout his career, spoke at numerous conferences and served on various committees, including Chair of the Waste-to-Energy Division. Recognizing its importance to the industry, he strongly encouraged those who worked for him to not only join, but to become actively involved in SWANA activities.

SWANA Florida Chapter Vice President and SWANA Chapter Director, Tammy Hayes said, “He is the person who introduced me to SWANA (then GRCDA) and supported my participation, again at both the local and national levels. This is true for a number of currently active SWANA members.”

Bob recently retired as the Pinellas County, Florida, solid waste director, where he worked for 12 years. Prior to that, Bob worked for CDM Smith for 30 years, where he spent his entire career focused on solid waste. He became an expert in all aspects of solid waste management and ultimately was named the firm’s Solid Waste Practice Leader. In that role, he directed key projects and strategic efforts throughout the country, mentored numerous employees, and ensured that solid waste remain a focus of the company.

Bob always conducted projects in an environmentally sound and fiscally responsible manner, with the public’s best interests in mind. This was true when he worked for the county as well as during his tenure as a consultant, since the majority of his clients during that time were public sector entities. Additionally, he supported and participated in various community service activities such as the annual Hillsborough River Clean-up.

While working for Pinellas County, Bob was responsible for the first reprocurement of its waste to energy operating contract. He completed a number of capital improvement projects, including the site redevelopment plan which included construction of eight buildings and operations facilities, a roadway improvement project, design and construction of a reverse osmosis industrial water treatment facility, and construction of a mini-transfer station. Calling on his private sector experience, Bob had each of his work units develop a business plan from which he rolled out the Department business plan. This gave public sector employees the insight of prioritizing work and creating both short- and long-range plans.

Since he dedicated more than 40 years to the field of municipal solid waste management, Bob’s contributions are innumerable. He began as an engineer in the Boston area after graduating with a B.S. degree from Northeastern and an M.S. degree from Cornell, both in civil engineering, and quickly gravitated to solid waste management. He earned his M.B.A. degree at Northeastern and served as assistant director for the Massachusetts Bureau of Solid Waste Management for three years. He came to Florida in the early 1980s to oversee the siting, procurement, construction and operation of the Hillsborough County waste-to-energy plant, which has been in continuous operation ever since. Throughout his consulting career, he designed, managed, and directed projects that encompassed all aspects of solid waste management including landfills, transfer stations, waste-to-energy, recycling/composting, collection systems, and integrated master plans. He soon was recognized as an expert in the field, first overseeing the firm’s southeastern area and eventually the entire solid waste practice. Bob’s influence lives on at CDM Smith through the people who worked for him.

Robert L. Lawrence Distinguished Service Award:

This award is for a member or non-member who, by his or her service to the solid waste profession, has demonstrated meritorious consideration.

David Ross, Senior Vice President (Retired), SCS Engineers, Long Beach, California. Nominated by Michelle P. Leonard, SWANA Vice President.

David Ross, P.E., devoted his 45-year professional career to the practice of environmental engineering, with a focus on solid waste management projects. He was an early member of the Founding Chapter of the Government Refuse, Collection and Disposal Association (GRCDA) in Southern California, and has remained a SWANA member since that time. As a SWANA member, he has attended numerous local and national SWANA events, and for 15 years was a member of the SCS committee that oversees the SWANA Robert P. Stearns Scholarship Award.

He is a Life Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, a Board Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE) in the American Academy of Environmental Engineers, served on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Solid Waste Forum for 20 years, serves as an alternate on the Integrated Waste Management Task Force for Los Angeles County, and has served as one of seven Associate Editors of “Waste Management & Research,” the official monthly journal of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) since 2008. David earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Mr. Ross began his professional career in 1968 as a Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Public Health Service, Bureau of Solid Waste Management (now part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), in Cincinnati, Ohio. There, he worked as a project officer for solid waste demonstration grant-funded projects covering innovative technologies for refuse collection, processing, recycling and disposal. In 1970, upon completing his service obligation with the Public Health Service, Mr. Ross moved west, and joined the California Department of Health Services as a civil engineer. His primary assignment was to compile information for and help prepare the state’s first hazardous waste management plan. This included investigations into the handling of used pesticide containers and documentation of then-existing open dumps and their associated adverse environmental impacts.

Shortly after its inception, Mr. Ross joined SCS Engineers in 1971. At SCS, he served as principal engineer and/or manager for more than 400 projects related to solid and hazardous waste management planning, economics, and privatization, waste processing and recycling, disposal and landfill closure, energy from waste, training and technology transfer, environmental impact assessments, and water quality protection. He was the project manager for some of EPA’s pioneering studies of landfills, oily wastes, and recycling, and for several Navy solid waste projects, including Identification of solid waste handling unit operations and associated commercially available equipment suitable for use in small communities, including “package incinerators” for WTE systems. He contributed to projects in the United States and internationally.

Mr. Ross served on SCS’s Board of Directors and in several management positions within SCS, including director of the company’s founding office in Long Beach and the regional vice president overseeing SCS’s offices in the Western Region. Prior to his retirement, Mr. Ross was a senior vice president of SCS, and director of the firm’s international practice, overseeing business development and project assignments for clients outside the United States. He also was responsible for the company’s marketing department and helped to transition the company to utilizing online resources, contributing to the design and management of the company’s website. Additionally, he served on six of the company’s eight corporate management committees, and was instrumental in the development of the firm’s leadership training program. In this role, he oversaw the completion of the program by more than 80 key SCS personnel.


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