The Environmental Industry Associations (EIA) has more than 20 regional events scheduled throughout the country in the coming months. Each of these events offers a great opportunity for you to network with your peers, vendors and potential customers, and to engage with the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) and the Waste Equipment Technology Association (WASTEC) on a variety of advocacy matters.

The annual WASTEC Conference is scheduled for March 23-26, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. This conference includes great educational sessions, business meetings and the annual WASTEC awards dinner, and allows time for networking, golf and taking in the breathtaking natural beauty of Ponte Vedra Beach.

EIA continues to offer training on a variety of subjects, including its popular safety training sessions. One safety session will be held in California in March, with another in New Jersey in April. But not all EIA training sessions require travel. In February, EIA held the latest of its quarterly communications webinars, a session that revealed best practices for internal communications. EIA members can download a recording of that session from the EIA Web site. Meanwhile, EIA's Future Industry Leaders Alliance will host another webinar on March 9 that will help you investigate and prevent problems in your business.

We are looking forward to an exciting WasteExpo in Atlanta in May. If you haven't made plans to attend, it is not too late. Through April 2, you may still take advantage of early registration specials. Visit www.wasteexpo.com to download the 2010 WasteExpo attendee brochure to see the comprehensive list of educational sessions, industry social and networking opportunities, and exhibitors planned for the event.

The EIA Women's Council is again organizing the “Carts on Parade” art competition that will take place at WasteExpo. Prizes will be awarded in a variety of categories. Look for carts on the exhibit floor. Proceeds from this competition will benefit the Women's Council educational and scholarship programs.

Speaking of the scholarship program, in 2010, the Women's Council will once again award $2,500 educational scholarships to NSWMA and WASTEC members and their dependents. Qualified individuals must be pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees related to a career in the environmental industry. The application deadline is March 31.

In addition to events, EIA offers other programs and activities to its members. For example, on behalf of the thousands of men and women who work for the solid waste industry, EIA continues its educational campaign, “Environmentalists. Every Day,” to help the public, the media and government officials better understand the vital role we play in their lives. As part of this effort, we recently updated the program's Web site. All EIA members were sent an information kit with ideas for ways their companies can observe Earth Day on April 22. We're planning a steady stream of resources and activities for the rest of 2010.

I could continue rattling off many examples of ways that EIA is serving the interests of its membership and the solid waste industry, but to continue being effective, we need your support and involvement. We want you to attend industry events. We want you to take advantage of face-to-face and webinar training sessions. We want you participate in our advocacy efforts. We'd like you to get involved in the “Environmentalists. Every Day.” educational program and make plans to attend Waste Expo. And most importantly, if you haven't yet joined, you should become a 2010 member.

For more information, visit the EIA Web site (www.environmentalistseveryday.org) where you'll find a calendar of events; links to publications and resources; and information about membership, the “Environmentalists. Every Day.” program, the Women's Council and the Future Industry Leader's Alliance.

Thomas Metzger is director of communications and public affairs for the National Solid Wastes Management Association. Reach him at (202) 364-3751.