Induction into the Environmental Industry Associations’ (EIA) Hall of Fame is a lifetime achievement for leaders who are actively engaged in the waste industry and whose  contributions have made a significant difference to our industry. This year, five individuals joined this elite group during an awards ceremony at WasteExpo in New Orleans.

Ellen Harvey’s designs in creating and implementing environmental and recycling programs and promoting the importance of these programs within her company, E.L. Harvey and Sons, has been recognized by the environmental industry. She was the first recipient of the National Solid Wastes Management Association’s (NSWMA) special governor’s award in 1994 for promoting the industry locally and received a distinguished service award in 2006 for her national efforts, especially for her commitment, involvement, dedication and leadership in promoting women through the EIA Women’s Council.

Waste Management’s Gary Hater is a visionary in application of microbiological processes for remediation of contaminated soil and industrial process wastes. His research has played a critical role in the development of U.S. standards on methane emissions, and he pioneered a test method referred to as tracer gas correlation. Over the years, he has conducted research in partnership with North Carolina State University, Florida State University and the University of Delaware. He also serves as the chair of the research council at the Environmental Research and Education Foundation (EREF).

In his late 70s, Art Kazarian continues to play a role with the many companies he has established to manage waste and recyclables. He started in the 1960s by building separate companies to manage materials, and through creative financing using financial analysis and efficiency metrics, integrated his operations in the 1980s, and then expanded these operations in the 1990s. Always with an eye toward new opportunities, Kazarian established an electronics waste facility in California in 2002 and in 2010 began collecting and processing medical waste. The combined number of personnel at his companies now exceeds 350.

Bill Wilkerson spent his waste industry career at Marathon Equipment Co., now part of the Environmental Solutions Group, promoting new and innovative products. In 2011, he helped introduce the Marathon Eco-Safe Digester, which in simplified terms, converts organic waste into a liquid that can be flushed down the drain safely. Wilkerson is recognized throughout the industry as a leading expert in the application and calculation of return on investment of compactors and balers. He was instrumental in the successful merger and synergy leverage of Marathon Equipment, Heil Environmental and Bayne into the newly formed Environmental Solutions Group. In 2010, he received the Waste Equipment Technology Association’s (WASTEC) member of the year award for his dedicated leadership as WASTEC’s chairman, for helping to build WASTEC’s statistics and standards development programs, and building membership.

Don Williamson’s company, West Central Sanitation, has expanded its operations during a difficult time for a small waste services company. He willingly shared his story with other independent haulers, explaining that successful business often has little to do with price-setting and more with customer relations. Williamson joined and became active in more than 40 community business associations, including helping with local cleanup events. He offered a deal to help fund a local school by paying the school $20 for every new customer that signed with him. In addition, he provided support to a tire shredding company rebuilding after a fire. Williamson has served as NSWMA’s Minnesota chapter chair and representative on the board of governors. In addition to Hall of Fame induction, he received an EIA special trustee’s award at WasteExpo having stepped down from the chairmanship in 2012.

“The 2013 EIA Hall of Fame inductees distinguished themselves through significant contributions to the waste and recycling industry and the community throughout their illustrious careers,” said Sharon H. Kneiss, the president and CEO of EIA. “The EIA Hall of Fame was created for dedicated individuals like them.”

Know of someone who belongs in the EIA Hall of Fame? Find selection criteria and a nomination form at www.environmentalistseveryday.org/awards.

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