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John Trotti Receives SWANA Life Member Award

November 28, 2023

This past summer, John Trotti received the Life Member Award presented by SWANA’s Board of Directors. Congratulations on this achievement. We sincerely thank you for your dedication and service to our industry!

“Prior to becoming editor of MSW Management Magazine, I was involved in a number of very different work experiences, beginning with a 12-year stint in the US Marine Corps as an officer and aviator, in which I performed two 13-month tours in combat flying the F-4 Phantom. Following that I participated in what proved to be the seminal large-scale environmental impact study on basing modes for the USAF’s Mobile Missile system. Working at Tracor/Lucas Aviation in Santa Barbara, CA, I came to work one Friday to find the the doors shut. The next day I answered an ad about an editorship that led to the final 25 years of my working life,” Trotti said.

“The next day I answered an ad about an editorship that led to the final 25 years of my working life.”

What does this award mean to you?

The award came as a complete surprise. I found an email one morning informing me of the incredible honor SWANA had bestowed on me. The award of Life Member was totally unexpected, leaving me speechless, proud, and feeling… well… a bit undeserving.


Why do you believe you received this award?

During the 25 years I was editor of MSW Management Magazine, I was in frequent contact with people at SWANA. Of the original Advisory Board for the magazine, seven of its 12 members belonged to SWANA, and when the Association chose the magazine to be its Official Publication, I found myself in almost constant contact with members. The relationship proved to be to our mutual benefit: me and the magazine for the status it provided, and SWANA for the impetus we supplied in membership expansion. Additionally, I had the opportunity to serve the Association as a member of its International Board.

What advice to you have for young professionals (or other industry professionals)?

I’m not certain mine is the proper vision for this, but after 25 years looking at the waste industry I am convince of the importance of their stepping forward and volunteering to accept leadership roles in both the Association and the industry at large. Waste management needs strong advocates, partly for the tasks it’s called upon to perform today, but also—maybe more so—to meet the long term needs of the society it serves.

What would you like to say to those who gave you this honor?

During my tenure, I attended every WASTECON® and all but a handful of Technical Division events, opportunities that allowed me to rub elbows with the people who have made our industry great. To paraphrase Will Rogers, I am blessed to be able to say, “I never met a garbage man or woman I didn’t like.” Though I have been on the sidelines for the last five years, I have kept touch with many of the people I met through the Association and feel particularly honored they are still a part of my life.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? Anyone you would like to thank, future of the industry, advice, greatest thing you ever accomplished, things you learned, etc. 

Yes, and it has to do with the challenges we face in meeting the needs of the future.

Currently, our efforts in waste management are constrained by what I will call the “two-, four- six-year hopscotch approach” by politicians (and thus by default the public at large) to issues of critical importance that do not—cannot—respond to such narrow thinking. These are matters that must be addressed by ‘process thinking’ whose horizons must reach beyond the lifespans of those of us now living. For SWANA members this means engaging the public and its elected representatives at the street level and on a continuous basis.

We need to reach out to both industry and academic communities to share our endeavors and concerns if we are to have the impact we must in developing need for genuine stewardship of the materials placed at our disposal.

Congratulations to John Trotti, SWANA’s newest Life Member!

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