Inspiring and Visionary Keynotes

WASTECON® 2019 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 “Pathways to Innovation”. These powerful presentations by diverse visionaries are the center of WASTECON® 2019.

Keynotes Monday, October 21, 2019

WASTECON® Opening Ceremonies and Kick-off Keynote: Forging a New Path to a Sustainable Recycling Model

Republic Services has led the pathway in reimagining how the recycling industry can remain viable for future generations. Discover the courageous decisions being made that may prove to be the solution to a broken business model.

Jon Vander Ark, President, Republic Services, Inc.

Jon Vander Ark

Jon Vander Ark is President of Republic Services, Inc. He is responsible for the Company’s ongoing transformation and continued growth, and oversees operations, sales, marketing and business development. Previously, Mr. Vander Ark served as Chief Operating Officer, where he was responsible for operationalizing the Company’s strategy and executing its business plan across field operations. He also maintained functional responsibility for all operational support departments, including safety, engineering, environmental compliance and fleet management, which includes the seventh largest vocational truck fleet in the country. Prior to that, he was EVP, Operations, leading Republic’s field performance and ensuring superior service delivery. He led financial and operational achievements across the Company’s operations in the eastern half of the U.S., which represented approximately $5 billion of annualized revenues. Earlier he maintained the same oversight for the western half of the Company’s operations. Mr. Vander Ark joined Republic Services in 2013 as EVP, Chief Marketing Officer, where he was responsible for establishing the Republic Services brand and advancing its customer-centric service approach. Prior to Republic, he served as a partner at McKinsey & Company’s Detroit office, managing clients across a variety of industries, including transportation, logistics, manufacturing and consumer products. Mr. Vander Ark serves on the Board of Chances for Children, a 501c3 organization that uplifts the children of Haiti through a variety of programs to encourage the movement of a community from survival, to stability and sustainability. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Calvin College and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School.

Keynotes Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Discovery Series: High-Performing Leadership and Mindfulness in Action

Participants will find that they belong in this session whether they know a lot about mindfulness or if they are starting from the very beginning. All that is required is an open mind and a healthy sense of skepticism. This session will provide practical approaches to how mindfulness can be linked to safety, overall well-being and leadership. Participants will learn moment-to-moment strategies they can use to strengthen focus and awareness, both in professional and personal aspects of life. The neuroscience and physiology of stress and resilience will be discussed in a way that is accessible and relevant.

Dr. Teri Pipe, Chief Well-Being Officer, Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience, Arizona State University

Dr. Teri Pipe

Dr. Teri Pipe is Arizona State University's Chief Well-Being Officer and served as the Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University (ASU) from 2011–2018. She also is the founding director of ASU's Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience. Before coming to ASU in 2011, Professor Pipe served as director of Nursing Research and Innovation at Mayo Clinic Arizona and was an associate professor of nursing at the Mayo Clinic’s College of Medicine. In 2014 she was selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow. Dr. Pipe has a Ph.D. in Health Policy and Administration with a minor in Gerontology from Pennsylvania State University. She has a Master’s degree with an emphasis in Gerontology from the University of Arizona, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Iowa. Among her recent honors was her recognition as a Phoenix Business Journal Health Care Hero in 2014.

SWANA Safety Matters

At SWANA, nothing we do is more important than providing solid waste professionals in both the public and private sectors with resources to make the industry safer. SWANA new safety partnership with OSHA will help us provide more resources and tools to improve safety in your facilities. We will also be presenting the 2019 Safety Awards at this time.

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.

Framework for Recycling in the U.S.

In 2018, EPA hosted the America Recycles Day (ARD) Summit that brought together stakeholders from across the U.S. recycling system to join EPA in signing the America Recycles Pledge. Since that important event, EPA has worked with the signatories to develop a Framework for Advancing the U.S. Recycling System that guides industry and agency priorities to sustain and improve recycling in America. As ARD 2019 approaches, EPA Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery Deputy Director Kathleen Salyer shares the progress that has been made and what more can be done.

Kathleen Salyer, Deputy Director, Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.

Kathleen Salyer

Kathleen Salyer is the deputy director of the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery within the Office of Land and Emergency Management at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a position she has held since January 2015. The office is responsible for promoting resource conservation through sustainable materials management, ensuring safe management of solid and hazardous waste and cleaning up environmental contamination at hazardous waste management facilities. Kathleen leads efforts on sustainable materials management, including wasted food, life cycle analysis, built environment, and sustainable packaging. She is actively engaged in the G7 Alliance on Resource Efficiency, as well as collaborations with other international partners. Prior to her current position, Kathleen was an assistant director of the Superfund Program in U.S. EPA Region 9 in San Francisco, California. She has more than 20 years of experience in environmental management. Kathleen has a Bachelor’s degree in geology from Whitman College and a Master’s degree in environmental public policy from University of Maryland, College Park.

Lawrence Lecture: Harvey Gershman

Lawrence Lecture Award winner Harvey Gershman will provide unique insight into projects that have resulted in sustainable, efficient integrated waste management systems and accepted by their communities and leadership.

Harvey Gershman, GBB Founder Owner Associate & Co-Founder, Gershman, Brickner, & Bratton, Inc.

Harvey Gershman

Harvey Gershman is Founder Owner Associate & Co-Founder of GBB, a solid waste management consulting firm. He has been active in the field as an adviser to government and industry for more than 40 years, specializing in strategic guidance and assistance for infrastructure and services development to solid waste service and system managers and owners. He has managed the preparation of long-term plans, market studies, feasibility analyses, technology reviews, procurements, and project financing activities for a broad range of solid waste management, recycling, composting, and waste-to-energy projects. These projects have resulted in sustainable, efficient integrated waste management systems accepted by their communities and leadership.

Discovery Series: The Importance of Storytelling

Everyday businesses and individuals miss critical opportunities to connect with their audiences in powerful and profitable ways because they lack a storytelling skill. This interactive session will focus on the basics of storytelling, story structures, and techniques to enhance the delivery of telling stories, public speaking, team building and leadership. Learn how storytelling can be used as a strategy to help people understand themselves and others as a form of community building as well as a catalyst for systems change.

Dr. Travis May, Storytelling and Workforce Faculty, South Mountain Community College

Travis May

Dr. Travis May has been a part of South Mountain Community College for over 19 years and is currently the third faculty member in the Storytelling Institute. His specific focus is on storytelling for workforce development. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Arizona State University, Masters of Education in Educational Leadership and a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership and Development from Grand Canyon University. Dr. May really enjoys being a storytelling professor and feels storytelling is more than just telling stories, it is a way to express ideas, passions and connecting with people. He enjoys incorporating storytelling to engage learners in cultural and community awareness. Dr. May has led the Institute’s connection with ASU’s Changemaker initiative, and in creating faculty development coursework in storytelling for the college and the Maricopa Community College District. He has created and design online teaching models for various external organizations and is currently curating the “I’m Telling” podcast for the Institute.

Keynotes Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Discovery Series: Making a Big Bet on the Future

If you had to bet your retirement savings on the future of the solid waste industry, where would you place your bet? On autonomous trucks? On consumers’ behavior? On international policy changes? In this session, you’ll learn four tools to think like a professional futurist so you can make better forecasts about where to invest your money and your time.

Rebecca Ryan, Futurist and Economist, NEXT Generation Consulting

Rebecca Ryan

Rebecca Ryan is the Resident Futurist at the Alliance for Innovation, a Senior Advisor at the Governing Institute, a faculty member at the Institute for Zen Leadership, the founder of Futurist Camp, the inventor of Futures Labs, and the owner of NEXT Generation Consulting, Inc. She is the author of The Next Big Things: The Future of Local Government (2015), ReGENERATION: A Manifesto for America’s Future Leaders (2013), and Live First, Work Second: Getting Inside the Head of the Next Generation (2007). Her TEDx talk, “Spring is Coming”, was featured at the prestigious TEDxBeaconStreet in 2015. Ms. Ryan has graduate certificate in Strategic Foresight from the University of Houston. She also has bachelor degrees in Art in Economics from Drake University, and Arts in International Relations from Drake University Kozgaz University in Budapest, Hungary.

Discovery Series: Reimagine Phoenix

We know that pursuing a circular economy is good for the environment and society, as well as the economy, and research has indicated that community-scale development is ideal for implementing a circular economy. Now the big question is "HOW"… How can local governments and their partners take the idea of the circular economy and make it into a reality? The City of Phoenix is at the forefront of circular economy and has started to set precedents that other local governments can use for inspiration. Learn how to take these models and turn them into a reality in your community.


Corinne Rico, Project Manager, Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc.
Corrine Rico

Corinne Rico helps communities sustainably manage waste and recover resources through alternative streams including recycling, composting, and circular economy initiatives. Ms. Rico is currently a project manager with Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc. (GBB), based in McLean, Virginia, and speaks nationally on the topic of Circular Economy development. With her previous employer, the Sustainable Cities Institute at the National League of Cities, she was instrumental in researching and authoring the 2018 report, “Rethinking Recycling: How Cities Can Adapt to Evolving Markets.” Corinne has a history in the interior architecture and planning industry and holds a bachelor’s degree in design and environmental analysis from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, as well as a master’s degree in sustainable and resilient communities from Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont.


Ginger Spencer, Director, Public Works, City of Phoenix
Ginger Spencer

Ginger Spencer is the director for the city of Phoenix Public Works Department, a department with 1,000 employees. As director, Ginger manages all major programs and operations for Public Works, including administration, facilities, fleet, flood control and solid waste services. Public Works is responsible for providing maintenance and energy conservation services for nearly 700 city facilities and procuring, managing and maintaining the city’s fleet of 7,300 vehicles and equipment. Public Works also provides residential garbage and recycling collection for 400,000 residents, management of the city’s landfills, transfer stations, recycling facilities, a compost facility and education and outreach efforts. During her 21 years of service with the City of Phoenix, Ginger has also served as Deputy Public Works Director, Assistant Public Works Director, Family Advocacy Center Director, Arts and Culture Administrator, and Special Assistant to the City Manager.

Alicia Marseille, Director, Resource Innovation & Solutions Network Incubator, Arizona State University

Alicia Marseille

Alicia Marseille is the director of the ASU RISN Incubator, an innovation and enterprise startup accelerator within the Resource Innovation and Solutions Network, or RISN. Alicia has five years of direct experience in economic development, and prior to that she founded and operated an international small business working with a cooperative group of farmers in Haiti to export/import raw green coffee and distributed to wholesalers across the U.S. Alicia currently is on the Metro Phoenix Export Alliance Advisory Board and Arizona State University’s Technology and Entrepreneurship Management Advisory Board.

Priyanka Bakaya, CEO and Founder, Renewlogy

Priyanka Bakaya

Priyanka Bakaya is an entrepreneurial environmental leader. She has been recognized on the Fortune 40 “Under 40: Ones to Watch” list, named to the “Forbes 30 under 30” list, been selected as a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, as well as being featured by Marie Claire and Elle magazines as a Genius Woman Shaping the Future. Ms. Bakaya was awarded the prestigious Cartier Women's Initiative Award for North America. She is a graduate of Stanford and MIT. Priyanka is the founder and CEO of Renewlogy, which has developed a breakthrough technology for converting landfill-bound plastics into high value fuels at a fraction of the cost of prior systems. Business Insider named Renewlogy one of the 20 Most Inspiring Companies and Inc. named it one of the 25 Most Audacious Companies.

Keynotes Thursday, October 24, 2019

From Dumpster Diver to Driving Global Change

Over the past two decades, Intel's business and its recycling rate have both grown tremendously; in 2018, the American technology manufacturer generated $70.8 billion in revenue, and recycled 90% of its non-hazardous waste, sending just 4% of its hazardous waste to landfill. Taimur Burki, an Intel sustainability leader and global waste program manager, drove that change both as an individual—diving in dumpsters—and from an enterprise level, in influencing the Fortune 500 company to adopt industry-leading recycling goals. He will be joined in conversation by Arizona DEQ Manager of Solid Waste Inspections, Compliance & Enforcement Unit Michele Ogburn. Learn from his successes, failures, and unique insight into just what it takes to transform an organization’s culture to achieve a lasting and sustainable waste management program.


Taimur Burki, Waste and Recycling Manager, Intel
Taimur Burki

Taimur Burki is an accomplished environmental and sustainability leader recognized for the significant outcomes he has driven across Intel’s global operations in waste management, green buildings, and water conservation. Mr. Burki has influenced Intel to LEED certify more than 17 million square feet of building space, achieve a 90%-plus recycling rate at more than 50 Intel locations, divert more than 95% of Intel’s hazardous waste from landfill, and conserve 60 billion gallons of water globally over the past two decades of his career. Mr. Burki holds a master’s degree in Environmental Impact Assessment from the University of Wales at Aberystwyth, and a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in Biology. Mr. Burki leverages his exceptional knowledge and expertise to drive change across the broader technology industry and beyond.

Michelle Ogburn, Manager, Solid Waste Inspections, Compliance & Enforcement Unit, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
Michelle Ogburn

Michelle Ogburn is currently the manager for Solid Waste at ADEQ. She has over 15 years’ experience in all things environmental from Phase I Environmental Site Assessments to NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) Assessments completed in the western portion of the US and Canada. Michelle has both public and private sector experience. She has experience in teaching, environmental consulting, environmental health and safety, Tribal relations, and state government.

Closing Keynote: Where Do We Go from Here?

This interactive panel session that will discuss where solid waste leaders see the industry going from the public sector perspective. What will be the challenges and opportunities. How can public sector leaders leverage SWANA’s advocacy/voice and network or members to face these challenges and capitalize on opportunities?

Speaker forthcoming.

Harris Equipment
SSI Shredding Systems
Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc.
TBI Roll-off Covers
Ruble Truck Sales

Hotel Info

SWANA has negotiated discounted hotel rates for WASTECON® 2019 attendees. Hotel reservations are taken on a first-come, first-served, space available basis. Submit your request as soon as possible for the best opportunity of receiving your hotel choice.

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