SWANA Announces 2019 Award Winners

SWANA Announces 2019 Award Winners

Honorees to be recognized in February at SWANApalooza in Boston

Silver Spring, MD – February 11, 2019 – The Technical Divisions of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) have voted to recognize two outstanding members and a company for achievement, volunteer efforts and leadership in 2019. Distinguished Individual Achievement Awards are being presented to Michelle Leonard and Ivan Cooper. Interior Removal Specialists Inc. will receive the Sustainable Materials Management Award.

The presentations will be made on February 26th during the SWANApalooza conference in Boston.

“SWANA Awards recipients represent the best the solid waste profession in North America has to offer,” said David Biderman, SWANA Executive Director and CEO. “Community leaders should be very proud of the valuable contributions that these professionals provide to their citizens,” he added.

More than 5,000 of SWANA’s 10,200 members participate in SWANA’s seven Technical Divisions. The volunteer leaders of those divisions annually consider nominations to recognize outstanding individuals and solid waste programs and facilities that demonstrate a commitment to the highest practices of the industry. The individuals selected must show commitment through professional achievement, volunteerism in SWANA and leadership in the appropriate Technical Division.

Solid waste programs receiving recognition submit confirmation that they have met a set of specific criteria in using effective technologies and processes in system design and operations, advancing worker and community health and safety, and implementing successful public education and outreach programs. These programs also must exhibit that they are fiscally and environmentally responsible and are in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local regulations.

2019 SWANApalooza Awards

The Landfill Management Technical Division will present its Distinguished Individual Achievement award to Ivan Cooper, P.E., BCEE, Principal, Civic and Environmental Consultants, Inc. Drawing on 47 years of technical and management experience, Cooper oversees water and wastewater consulting activities for landfill leachate and other industrial facilities at CEC. He chairs the Landfill Management Division’s Leachate and Landfill Liquids Committee and is a frequent speaker and session curator for sessions on leachate topics. Under his leadership, the committee conducted a survey of landfill leachate management practices in North America and presented the findings at many events. Through SWANA, Cooper was invited by the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem to participate in a public diplomacy program on public-private partnerships (P3s), infrastructure management, and water/wastewater management, distribution, and regulation in the PA territories regarding the sale and reuse of treated wastewater. He was the sole U.S. representative for the program. He will be talking about this experience on February 26 at SWANApalooza.

The Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Technical Division presents two awards at SWANApalooza.

The SMM Division presents its Distinguished Individual Achievement award to Michelle Leonard, Vice President at SCS Engineers. Michelle Leonard began her career in the solid waste industry in the 1990s with SCS Engineers. At the time, attending a Southern California SWANA chapter event meant she might meet only a handful of women. She was nominated for the SWANA Executive Board, where she served as treasurer, secretary, vice-president and finally International President in 2016. She is always available to present, moderate, sit on panels, work with clients on the latest programming and—most importantly—to learn new things. Her passion for her work and her depth of knowledge in our industry are unsurpassable.

The Sustainable Materials Management Award to an organization goes to Interior Removal Specialist, Inc. (IRS Demo), South Gate, California, where doing things differently has been a long-standing tradition. From hybrid vehicles for the estimating staff to a fleet of CNG roll off trucks for their hauling, IRS Demo has always treated minimum regulations as simply a starting point. They work to raise the bar for the industry, in quality of work, as well as in diversion. IRS Demo has completely changed the way they perform demolition to prove that greater diversion can be achieved. Their recycling yard was designed to deal with what most consider to be problematic materials. This facility now boasts a diversion rate in excess of 80 percent, with no material going to be used as SDC. A video of the program can be found at here.

For more information on the SWANA Technical Division Awards, visit

For more information on SWANA, visit