On the morning of May 1, the Environmental Industry Associations (EIA) held its annual awards breakfast at WasteExpo in Las Vegas, bringing the waste industry together to recognize outstanding industry leaders. There, EIA honored some leaders for particularly notable lifetime achievements by inducting them into its Hall of Fame.

Charlie Appleby, chairman and CEO of Advanced Disposal Services and chairman of EIA, saluted the 2012 inductees, stating “Through the Hall of Fame, we show respect and admiration for leaders whose creative ideas, innovative concepts, and contributions have made a significant difference to our industry.”

The 2012 EIA Hall of Fame inductees:

Lee Brandsma and his business partner, Larry Groot, grew Groot Industries from 20 trucks and 35 employees to more than 400 trucks and 650 employees, including five operating locations, four transfer stations and a single-stream materials recovery facility (MRF), as well as a material transport business and a mobile document destruction operation. Groot Industries was one of the first waste handlers to offer curbside recycling, open a single-stream MRF, run its entire fleet on biodiesel and operate compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, currently numbering at 20. During his career, Brandsma has served as the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) Illinois chapter chair, chair of NSWMA’s waste haulers council, vice-chair of NSWMA and chair of EIA.

Susan Eppes served as director of safety and health for both Browning-Ferris Industries and Recycle America, where she designed and developed award-winning training videos, modified facility design elements, managed technical loss control support, established program goals, evaluated program implementation and represented the companies before official government proceedings. In 2002, Eppes founded EST Solutions, a health and safety consulting firm, providing services in ergonomics, OSHA and DOT compliance, fleet safety, processing equipment review and start-up safety. Eppes currently is chair of the Waste Equipment Technology Association’s (WASTEC’s) full ANSI Z245 Committee and also chairs the subcommittees on MRFs and transfer stations. She helped develop NSWMA’s safety videos and is updating NSWMA’s safety manual.

George Fennell founded or partnered in some of the largest privately owned solid waste companies in South Carolina, including Fennell Container Co., Fenn-Vac, Fennell Waste Systems and ECO Services of South Carolina, before merging his companies with Republic Industries Inc. In 2002, he re-entered company ownership and helped start Carolina Waste & Recycling, Carolina Landfill and Carolina Processing & Recycling. In 2011, Fennell was named Lowcountry Philanthropist of the Year. He has served on the boards of many organizations, including the Detachable Container Association (DCA), South Carolina Trucking Association, NSWMA and the Charleston County Solid Waste Advisory Commission.

Dwight Schaubach built some of the largest private waste management companies in Virginia (Bay Disposal, Area Container, ECO Services of South Carolina and Incendere) before selling them. In 2000, Schaubach got involved with Bay Disposal & Recycling, which now includes two MRFs and a soon-to-be-opened recycling facility, building the company into one of the largest independently-owned waste companies in Virginia. He also owns a significant portion of a construction and demolition landfill in Virginia Beach. He has served as president of both DCA and NSWMA’s Virginia chapter.

Stephen Smith founded ET Technologies in 1984, operating Salt Lake’s industrial and special waste facility that he helped design and build. Smith later founded another solid waste company, an asbestos landfill, two hazardous waste transfer and treatment facilities, an 80-acre composting facility and an 845-acre rail-haul facility. In 1995, 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.

Bruce Parker has held a number of positions at EIA, including in-house counsel, general counsel, deputy for policy development and implementation, and executive vice-president for federal legislative and external affairs. In 1996, EIA’s Board of Trustees unanimously appointed Parker to President and CEO of EIA and executive vice president of NSWMA. He will retire from EIA in 2012. During his tenure, Parker successfully worked with members to create a more financially stable organization, increase the association’s presence at the national and state levels, and enhance the industry’s image with the news media and public.

For more information about EIA and its award programs, visit environmentalistseveryday.org/awards.