Inspiring and Visionary Keynotes

WASTECON® 2018 is bringing new ideas and a keynote lineup you won’t find anywhere else. We're breaking the mold with a new line-up of speakers! You’ll hear from renowned industry leaders and new voices about how they’re creating their own “Sound Ideas”. These powerful presentations by diverse visionaries are the center of WASTECON® 2018.

Keynotes Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Opening Keynote

New Ways to Solve Your Toughest Problems (2.5 CEUs)

Tuesday, August 21
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Delta A

It’s time to ignite the creative force in yourself and every person in your organization by making human centered design central to your everyday culture. When you take a human-centered approach to your work, you begin to create better customer experiences, which leads to increased engagement and growth

During our high-energy, highly-interactive Kick-Off Keynote Session, you will roll up your sleeves and participate in several activities that will help you:

  • Gain confidence to solve the most complex problems your organization is facing
  • Grow deeper connections with others in your organization and your customers
  • Actually build something impactful
  • Learn how stories help to connect people and ideas

Led by Nashville-based design firm Stoked. Stoked founders, Parker Gates and is an Executive Education Coach for the d.school at Stanford University. Stoked works with organizations worldwide to create cultures where innovation and creativity can thrive.

Parker Gates, Co-Founder, Stoked

Parker Gates

Parker Gates is a recovering IT Director living in a world of design and innovation. He's passionate about creating cultures where innovation and creativity can thrive as a means of finding solutions to audacious problems. He also feels like it's worth considerable time and effort to transform workplaces into spaces where you can find fulfillment and happiness, and not just a paycheck. He's a co-founder at Stoked and also spends his time at the Stanford d.school where he leads executive education programs.

Barbara Patchen, Design Lead, Stoked

Barbara Patchen

Barbara Patchen is an organizational psychology practitioner who is obsessed with disrupting an outdated construct of work by helping leaders reimagine what work can be and how it can get done. Barbara serves as Design Lead at Stoked, working with corporate and non-profit partners to help them shift from conventional cultures to more progressive and adaptable teams and environments. Barbara has held a variety of Talent and Organizational Development leadership roles at a Fortune 200 healthcare company where her team won numerous awards for creating an outstanding environment for leaders to thrive.

Jacob Jones, Storyteller | Creative Ninja, Stoked

Jacob Jones

Jacob Jones is a creative director, storyteller and digital content strategist based in Nashville, Tennessee. Often times radio and podcast host, all the time father of two. He helps steer Stoked’s content narratives and loves working with people, in person, away from computer screens.

Ronald Mittelstaedt, Chief Executive Officer, Waste Connections, Inc.

Ronald Mittelstaedt

Ronald J. Mittelstaedt has served as Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Waste Connections, Inc., since its formation in 1997, a company he founded. He was elected Chairman in January 1998. Mr. Mittelstaedt also served as President of Waste Connections, Inc. from its formation through August 2004. He has more than 30 years of industry experience. Mr. Mittelstaedt serves as a Director of SkyWest, Inc. He holds a Bachelor's degree in business economics with a finance emphasis from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Keynote Event

A Conversation with Ron Mittelstaedt, Waste Connections CEO (1 CEU)

Tuesday, August 21
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Delta A

Join us and hear Waste Connections CEO Ron Mittelstaedt’s thoughts on the waste industry and its relationship with the public sector, how Waste Connections is responding to current challenges (e.g., China/recycling), the company’s successful safety initiatives, and where we are going as an industry. David Biderman, SWANA’s CEO and Executive Director, will interview Mr. Mittelstaedt.

This Keynote Event Is Proudly Sponsored By

Beverage and Diamond, PC

Beveridge & Diamond PC

Mack Trucks

Mack Trucks

Keynotes Wednesday, August 22, 2018

MRF Summit Keynote Panel

The Changing Market for Recyclable Materials (1 CEU)

Wednesday, August 22
8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Delta A

Moderator: Arturo Santiago, Editor, MSW Management Magazine

For years, China has been a needed pressure relief valve for commodities markets offering western recycled materials. Indeed, Material Recovery Facilities and recycling programs developed around what markets would accept. At one time, about 40%—over 19 million tons—of recycled paper was exported to China and often these were lower grades of paper not affordably recycled domestically. But times are changing. China and other international markets are placing a priority on environmental improvement and demanding levels of product quality that many MRFs and other suppliers find challenging to attain. Panelists in this program will provide an overview of new policies in place in China and discuss how these policies are affecting present and future of recycling.

Open to all MRF Summit and WASTECON® attendees.



David Biderman, Executive Director and CEO, SWANA
David Biderman

David Biderman is the Executive Director and CEO of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), and has been a leader in the waste industry for more than 20 years. Mr. Biderman joined SWANA in April 2015 after 18 years with the National Waste & Recycling Association, where he was their General Counsel, Vice President for Government Affairs and Safety Director. Mr. Biderman is the former industry lobbyist in New York City and is very passionate about safety. Mr. Biderman was the recipient of Preco’s Safety in Motion award for 2016, given to an individual who is making a difference on safety. He has provided safety and compliance training to thousands of workers throughout the United States and Canada. Prior to entering the waste industry, Mr. Biderman was an attorney at the Washington DC law firm Steptoe & Johnson, where he specialized in environmental and transportation law. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Johns Hopkins University.

Robin Wiener, President, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.
Robin Wiener

Robin K. Wiener leads the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI), in Washington DC, which represents approximately 1,600 private for-profit companies in approximately 36 countries. She joined ISRI in 1989, directing environmental compliance activities and was appointed executive director in 1997—and then President in March 2000. Ms. Wiener was appointed to the Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Steel (ITAC-12) by the Secretary of Commerce and the United States Trade Representative. She also serves as Chairwoman on the NMVTIS Advisory Board. Ms. Wiener currently serves on the Boards of SERI and the National Recycling Coalition. She is a Past Chair of NAM, is a member of the Key Industry Associations Committee (KIAC) of ASAE, and is a member of the U.S. Chamber Committee of 100. She is also a director of the International Environment Council of the Bureau of International Recycling in Brussels, a member of BIR’s E-Scrap Steering Committee, and serves on the Steering Committee of Electronics Recycling Asia and on the Jason Learning Board. Ms. Wiener earned a J.D. degree cum laude (Georgetown University Law Center), her B.S.E. degree in chemical engineering (University of Pennsylvania), and is co-author of the RCRA Compliance and Enforcement Manual (Shepard’s McGraw-Hill, 1994) as part of its Environmental Law Series.

Stephen Sikra, Associate Director, Corporate Research and Development, Procter & Gamble

Stephen Sikra

Stephen Sikra is Associate Director, Corporate R&D, at the Procter & Gamble company. He is responsible for P&G’s global solid waste strategy and driving end-of-life innovations. His 27-year history at P&G includes management roles in process and package development, product supply operations, materials science innovations, and end-of-life solutions for P&G products and packages. Mr. Sikra is a champion for plastic recycling and a collaborative partner with many companies, trade organizations, and NGOs. To help drive recovery and recycling, he has strong affiliations with the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), The Recycling Partnership, the Closed Loop Fund (CLF), Closed Loop Oceans (CLO), the Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG), the Materials Recovery For the Future project (MMRF), the Solid Waste Working Group of Consumer Goods Forum, and the Trash Free Seas Alliance of Ocean Conservancy.

Keynote Event

Wait, Is There a Plan for This? (1 CEU)

Wednesday, August 22
9:45 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Delta A

SWANA’s Lawrence Lecturer award may be given annually to an individual recognized as a national/international leader and expert in the field of solid waste management, or another segment of the field of environmental protection. Recognition can be for work in research, management, publications, teaching and/or political action. Contributions should be substantial, significant and sustained. While emphasis is placed on the recipient working in the field of solid waste management, other fields of environmental protection also may be considered.

WASTECON® 2018’s Lawrence Lecturer Michael Cahill summarizes the transformation of solid waste management from the Garbage Barge of 1987 through today’s times, with observations on government, politics, regulators, technology, engineers, environmental activists, investment bankers, organized crime, the carting industry and the United States Supreme Court (not necessarily in that order). Having been involved in the flow control case at the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as representing a municipality in the famous garbage barge fiasco, Mr. Cahill provides unique and humorous insight into the shaping of modern history involving the solid waste and recycling industry.

Michael Cahill, Partner, Germano & Cahill, PC

Michael Cahill

Michael J. Cahill is a partner in the firm of Germano & Cahill, P.C. of Holbrook, New York. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago and DePaul University College of Law. Mr. Cahill has represented municipalities and public agencies in matters involving environmental issues, public contracts, construction disputes and particularly solid waste management for more than 20 years. From 1984 through 1991, he served as an assistant town attorney for the Town of Islip, New York, and later president of the Islip Resource Recovery Agency. Mr. Cahill has represented municipalities in lawsuits involving the power of local government to regulate solid waste services through “flow control” against challenges under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In 2007, he argued on behalf of the respondents before the U.S. Supreme Court in United Haulers Association et al v. Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority, et al. Since 2002, Mr. Cahill has taught environmental law at Stony Brook University in New York.

Keynote Event

A Workforce Trend You Can’t Ignore

Wednesday, August 21
10:45 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Delta Ballroom

In a study by IBM, over 5,000 C-Suite executives stated that their #1 fear for the future was the “Uberization” of their industry or marketplace. This energetic and informative session will help provide the keys in researching and determining what future disruption is coming your member’s way. Three dynamic forces are changing every industry, as it has the taxi, real estate, publishing and music industries. No industry is exempt from Uberization. Over the last five years disruption has transformed many industries, putting the association and their members at risk. Do you know what may be heading your way, that could create havoc in your industry? Tom Morrison will share with your attendees:

  • Four visuals every executive should be looking at with future business planning
  • Three dynamic forces causing disruption
  • Three reasons why disruption is happening
  • Six places disruption occurs

This is a must-see keynote.

Tom Morrison, CEO, Florida Automotive Industry Association

Tom Morrison

Tom Morrison is the CEO of the Florida Automotive Industry Association. In addition to running the association, he is a nationally sought-after speaker on the new Uberization economy. Mr. Morrison’s presentations bring an energy that fills the room, inspires change, motivates to take action and hits the hearts of his audiences.

Keynotes Thursday, August 23, 2018

Closing Keynote

How to Use Systems Thinking to Create Order from Chaos (1.5 CEUs)

Thursday, August 23
10:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Delta A

In designing and operating solid waste programs, you use the concepts behind systems thinking every day. Learn how to use your intuition, pattern recognition, and improvisation for insights to help you create order from the daily chaos. Our speaker calls this a “chaordic” system (a term coined for the flow between chaos and order) that values structure and randomness in reaching solutions. Attending this session will help you analyze situations, ask better questions, and find the best alternatives for the complex problems facing solid waste directors and managers.

Natalie Nixon, Design Strategist, Author, Fellow at Paris d.School and Lecturer at The University of Pennsylvania

Natalie Nixon

Natalie W. Nixon helps organizations accelerate innovation and growth by developing meaningful strategy through design thinking and ethnographic research. As a scholar-entrepreneur, she applies her background in service design, anthropology and fashion to help clients with culture transformation, leadership development, ideation sessions and envisioning labs. Dr. Nixon is a Fellow at the Paris d. School, a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania in social innovation and design for social impact and a senior advisor at Econsult Solutions. She is the founding director of the Strategic Design MBA program at Philadelphia University. Dr. Nixon is editor of Strategic Design Thinking: Innovation in Products, Services, Experiences and Beyond and a regular contributor to INC.com online magazine. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Vassar College with a double major in anthropology and Africana studies; a Master’s degree in global textile marketing from Philadelphia University (USA), Shenkar College (Israel) & Reutlingen University (Germany); and a Ph.D. degree in design management from the University of Westminster, London.

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