Role of Regional Offices
NSWMA’s regional offices and state chapter advocate on behalf of NSWMA members and chapters in all 50 states. Regional managers perform key roles in advocating on behalf of member companies.
First and foremost, NSWMA regional managers are professional trade
association executives who advocate for waste companies under the NSWMA
banner. What does this mean? The term advocacy conjures up a lot of different
thoughts for folks. Maybe as being the proper role of a parent for a child; maybe
as a physician for patients; maybe as a lawyer for clients; or, maybe as an
educator for students.
NSWMA regional managers advocate for waste companies by:
We inform members about what is going on. We inform the press
about what waste companies and about the “how” and the “why” it needs to get
done the way it is done. Regional managers inform regulators, local officials and
legislators about industry needs, realities and the effects proposed changes or
new ideas may cause, or what happens if nothing is done.
We watch and observe. We network. We track all kinds of
developments that have potential to affect member businesses and the industry.
This network has largely been developed over the years by association leaders
and by senior trade association executives, and the targeted application of the
wealth of the industry to support the trade group. All this past effort continues to
position us well to track developments, monitor them and respond when
necessary. NSWMA sometimes does not get active in an issue or matter. When
this happens it is primarily due to membership direction as opposed to being
unaware or unconcerned. When NSWMA does get involved, we do not always
win. It is sweet, of course, when we do, but win, lose or draw we always make
sure the industry viewpoint is heard.
We learn from you, waste company executives, owners and
operators. We learn from government officials whether they are locally elected,
members of a Board of Health, members of a state legislative committee or a
departmental regulator or bureaucrat at the state, local or regional level. New
issues arise; old issues re-emerge, molt, and sometimes take us in new
directions and to new places. The waste industry is not the same as it was 15
years ago, nor will it stay the same 15 years into the future. Change is truly a
guaranteed constant. So to serve the waste industry the best we can, we keep
learning and do our best to keep up with things.
We lobby wherever and whenever possible. As association regional
managers we have come to know some legislators and elected officials. As a
practical matter, we also know many regulators, and have been able to build
solid professional relationships with them over the years. However, it seems to
us that quite often we work with other lobbyists who, for lack of a better saying,
“have juice.” These lobbyists know the legislators and who is doing what to
whom, they know state house or city hall chamber politics, the politics of the
agency, department or front office. However, these lobbyists often do not know
the waste industry, its companies, and the nuanced realities of being in the waste
services business. And that is where the NSWMA regional managers come in. We bring this special value added benefit to the equation. And we bring the
voice of the entire industry, big and small operators, public or private companies,
hauler or facility operator, and the like!
Work With Industry Leaders
We work with people in charge of the P/L sheet
for divisions and regions, or for the profitability of their stand alone private
company. Sometimes we cannot get their atte ntion, other times they bring
something up for consideration or respond with vigor to an initiative floated by
regional managers. Sometimes these leaders spend a great amount of time with
us and give us lots of direction, other times they say we are on our own
– go take
some swings and let us know how you make out.
We build and work with broad or narrowly based coalitions of
members, non-members, other business groups, municipalities, regulators,
bureaucrats and elected officials. This work, when we engage it is endlessly
fascinating and very often fruitful for the industry. It is always interesting to see
how groups can overcome day to day differences to work together on an issue or
in a coalition setting. These groups have fluid dynamics, are ever changeable
and a professional challenge to keep up with and manage.
Work With Association Senior Executives
We are always seeking guidance,
input, staying connected, getting (and we like to think at times giving) support,
counsel and direction from headquarters in Washington, DC. Our professional
life as NSWMA staff is exceptional. We are fortunate to be on a great team of
seasoned trade association professionals who advocate for the industry from
Washington they way we try to do from the regions.
A lot of work gets done week in and week out, and over the years around the
country by NSWMA regional managers. This is due to the trade association’s
commitment to an active regional managers program and to supporting this staff
in such a fashion that high morale and motivation is maintained and experienced
and knowledgeable staff is retained.