SWANA recognizes outstanding professionals

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has announced the recipients of its annual Professional Achievement Awards.

SWANA recognizes members annually for valuable and distinguished contributions to the Association, the individual’s employing organization and the public. The length of continuous contributions and services by an individual are also considered in the selection. The International Awards Committee in 2021 recognizes four members across SWANA’s more than 10,500 members for their contributions.

Felipe Moreno, Deputy Public Works Director, City of Phoenix, Arizona 

Moreno has championed the growth and advancement of the workforce within the solid waste industry through the creation of the City of Phoenix’s Solid Waste Equipment Operator (SWEO) Apprenticeship Program, a state-certified apprentice program that helps individuals begin a career as a City Solid Waste Equipment Operator. The program gives special focus on outreach to potential youth, veteran and female drivers. Moreno has also embraced the use of data analytics in operation decision-making, leading to him being highlighted as a “Data Conviction Rebuilder” in a podcast by Rebuilders author Paul Shoemaker.

As a member of the Arizona Chapter Board since 2014 and its current president, Moreno champions both professional and personal growth for members. He is a safety advocate and when question about COVID-19 testing and vaccines and impact on essential workers surfaced in 2020, he quickly developed a healthcare professional-led webinar series about the pandemic and the vaccine for chapter members of SWANA.

Constance Hornig, Esquire – Attorney at Law, Los Angeles, California

Constance Hornig is an attorney and solid waste management legal specialist who focuses on the representing public entities on municipal solid waste issues. She works in the United States and globally, as well as participating in professional organizations such as the National Stewardship Advisory Council, where she is a Board member, and the California Resource Recovery Association.

For SWANA, Hornig served for many years on SWANA’s Executive Committee and International Board. She continues to serve on SWANA’s Advisory Board representing private sector members engaged in legal matters, and on the Policy Committee where she has been a leader in technical policy development and review.

Hornig was nominated by SWANA General Counsel, who wrote with respect of her professional achievements, then concluded, “Although this award recognizes professional achievement – sometimes referred to as résumé virtues – I think it’s also important to consider an individual’s humanity.  Constance is remarkable for her unswerving generosity, loyalty and compassion. It’s rare to find someone who has achieved her level of success yet has been able to stay humble and true to themselves. A quality that should be celebrated on its own merits.”

James Skora, Materials Management and Sustainability Business Unit Manager, GT Environmental, Columbus, Ohio

Solid waste industry veteran Jim Skora has dedicated his career to solid waste management, sustainability, and environmental compliance. His resume accomplishments include developing and operating Ohio’s first permanent household hazardous waste (HHW) collection facility; serving as the Executive Director of the Summit/Akron Solid Waste Management Authority where he also worked with Ohio’s Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections to develop a statewide electronics recycling program. At GT Environmental, he continues to support clients with solid waste management needs in the areas of provide efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and planning for the future.

Skora is a long-time member and officer of the Ohio Buckeye Chapter Board and currently serves as Region 9 Director on the SWANA Board of Directors. He is also a SWANA faculty member, teaching the Integrated Solid Waste Management and Collections certification courses.

Zachary Hansen, Retired Environmental Health Director, Ransey County, Minnesota, Public Health

As Environmental Health Director at Ramsey County, the second most populous county in Minnesota, Zack Hansen had an outstanding career of public service in environmental health. He worked with both Ramsey and Washington counties on resource recovery issues, including the joint effort to purchase the privately-owned waste processing facility located in Newport, MN, and engaging in research of new technologies (e.g., gasification, anaerobic digestion, and chemical recycling) and waste management system changes in a way that influenced waste management in the Twin Cities area and statewide.

Hansen has also been committed to centering issues of equity and environmental justice in decision-making processes for programs and services, which has helped ensure access to resources for health and safety for all community members. He has been committed to the counties’ goals to protecting public health and the environment and championed the vision of vibrant, health communities without waste. 

Hansen served as Minnesota SWANA chapter president from 1992 – 1993, and has been an active member ever since.