In 1973, Lee Brandsma entered the waste industry as a residential and commercial route
driver for his father-in-law at Groot Industries and became the Chief Operating Officer in
1980 at the age of 26. Brandsma and his partner, Larry Groot, built the company from 20
trucks and 35 employees to more than 400 trucks and 650 employees, from 2 to 5 operating
locations, 4 transfer stations, and a single-stream materials recovery facility (MRF). They
also own a materials transport business and a mobile document destruction operation.
Groot Industries started the first curbside recycling program in northern Illinois in 1986,
the first single-stream MRF in the Midwest in 1997, and was the first to run its entire fleet
on biodiesel in 2007. In 2009, working with Mack Trucks, the first 20 compressed natural
gas (CNG) vehicles came off the production line and Groot Industries built and operated
a CNG fueling station open to the public that same year. In the last 3 years, the company
has received awards from the Illinois Recycling Association, Clean Cities Coalition, and the
Energy Solutions Center.
Brandsma served as the NSWMA Illinois Chapter chair from 1985 to 1987, chair of NSWMA's
Waste Haulers Council from 1987 to 1989, vice-chair of NSWMA from 1992 to 1993, and
chair of EIA from 1994 to 1996. He was a board member of the NSWMA Foundation now
the independent Environmental Research and Education Foundation from 1994 to 2000.
In 1991, Susan Eppes joined Browning-Ferris Industries as a Manager for Safety and
Loss Control Services designing and developing award-winning safety and health
training videos, modifying facility design elements to reduce accidents and injuries, and
managing technical loss control support at landfills, medical waste processing facilities,
and recycling operations. By 1997, she had moved up to become the Director of Safety and Health for 400 solid waste locations, 100 landfills, 30 medical waste facilities, and 98
recycling plants across the U.S. She held the same position for Recycle America
at Waste Management, Inc. from 2000 to 2002 establishing health and safety program
goals, evaluating program implementation, serving as the principal corporate resource for
federal and state legislative and regulatory safety issues, and representing the company
on safety matters before official government proceedings. In 2002, Eppes founded her
own health and safety consulting firm, EST Solutions, providing services in ergonomics,
OSHA and DOT compliance, fleet safety, processing equipment review, and start-up safety. Eppes is currently chair of WASTEC’s full ANSI Z245 Committee and also chair of the subcommittees on MRFs and transfer stations. She helped develop NSWMA’s “Be Safe, Be
Proud” safety videos and is updating NSWMA’s Safety Manual. She regularly presents at
WasteExpo and other conferences and has written numerous articles on safety.
George Fennell founded Fennell Container Company in 1973 and built the business from a barn on a dirt lot with one employee to become the largest privately-owned, solid waste company in South Carolina. The company operated the first, privately-held transfer station. Over the years, Fennell created several other companies, including Fenn-Vac, Inc. in 1983 to manage industrial and hazardous waste; Fennell Waste Systems, Inc. in 1991 providing collection services in upstate South Carolina; and, with industry partners, ECO Services of Memphis in 1991 and ECO Services of South Carolina in 1993. In 1995, Fennell
merged his companies with Republic Industries and then helped merge and acquire many
other companies. In 2002, he re-entered ownership in the waste industry with his son,
Scott, and started Carolina Waste & Recycling LLC, now the largest commercial collection
firm in the Charleston market. In 2008, he opened a landfill under the company name
Carolina Landfill LLC for industrial waste and, in 2009, built a new transfer and recycling
station, Carolina Processing & Recycling LLC.
In 2011, Fennell was named Lowcountry Philanthropist of the Year and has served on
the boards of many organizations, including the Detachable Container Association,
South Carolina Trucking Association, NSWMA, Charleston County Solid Waste Advisory
Commission, and Executive Association of Greater Charleston.
Dwight Schaubach, Chairman and CEO of Bay Disposal & Recycling, Inc., started Feather-n-Fin, a chicken and seafood restaurant, in 1969. Having experienced difficulty in getting
the restaurant trash collected, he launched Bay Disposal in 1975, which grew into one of
the largest private hauling companies in Virginia before it was sold in 1989. Schaubach
started the first medical waste treatment company in Virginia in 1985, helping to write the
initial medical waste regulations for the state. Incendere, with one incinerator, ultimately
grew to collecting medical waste from Florida to New York while tripling its incinerator
capacity. Schaubach got back into the solid waste business with Area Container. He was
also a partner of ECO Services of South Carolina. Early in 1996, Area Container, ECO, and
Incendere were merged into Republic Industries. In 2000, Schaubach took advantage of
the name Bay Disposal, which now includes two MRFs and a soon-to-be-opened recycling
facility. Bay Disposal & Recycling is, once again, one of the largest, independently-owned,
waste companies in Virginia. He also owns a significant portion of a 64-acre construction
and demolition landfill in Virginia Beach.
Schaubach has served as president of both the Detachable Container Association and
NSWMA's Virginia Waste Industries Association. He was named Entrepreneur of the Year
for 2011 by Old Dominion University. In addition, he has generously supported, with both
his time and resources, numerous civic and charitable organizations over the years.
Over the years, Bruce J. Parker has held a number of positions at the Environmental Industry
Associations (EIA), starting as in-house counsel in 1981 and becoming General Counsel in
1985. In 1992, Parker's position expanded to include Deputy for Policy Development and
Implementation and, in 1994, Executive Vice-President for Federal Legislative and External
Affairs. In 1997, EIA's Board of Trustees unanimously appointed Parker to President and
Chief Executive Officer of EIA and Executive Vice-President of NSWMA. After a 30-year
career, he will retire at the end of 2012. During his tenure as CEO, Parker worked with
members to develop a strategic plan to create a more stable financial organization,
increase the association's presence at the national and state levels, and enhance the
industry's image with the media, all of which were successfully accomplished. Parker
has testified on behalf of the association before Congressional committees and state
legislatures. He has written many articles on key issues ranging from unfair competition
to global warming, recycling, and sustainability.
Parker fostered a culture of member service among staff, better integrated the
relationship between NSWMA and WASTEC, and was instrumental in the success of the "Environmentalists. Every Day." education program. He also served on the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce’s Labor Committee.
In 1974, Stephen Smith became an equipment operator at his father's sludge management
fi rm and, after graduating from college in Agricultural Engineering in 1978, became a staff
engineer at Black & Veatch, where he designed beneficial reuse facilities for sewage sludge.
In 1983, with a masters in Engineering, he designed and constructed his first landfill and
transfer facility in Salt Lake City and, in 1984, founded ET Technologies, Inc., operating Salt
Lake's industrial and special waste facility that he helped design and build. In 1986, Smith
founded another solid waste company developing a municipal waste landfill later sold
to Browning-Ferris Industries. He also founded an asbestos landfill, 2 hazardous waste
transfer and treatment facilities, and an 80-acre composting facility in the late 1980s. In
1990, he started Franconia Technologies, operating an 845-acre rail-haul facility, which
he sold to Waste Management, Inc. in 1992, staying on as a Division President until 1995
when he joined SCS Engineers quickly advancing to Vice-President. Today, he works as the
Vice-President, Construction and Operations for Clean Energy Renewable Fuels.
Smith is an NSWMA representative on the EIA Board of Trustees and a member of NSWMA's
Executive Committee. He also served on an NSWMA special committee to develop the
"Environmentalists. Every Day." education program. He received a Presidential
Award for Outstanding Community Service in 2007 from President George Bush.