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Richard I. Stessel Waste Management Award

Richard I. Stessel (19562001) was a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida and an avid A&WMA enthusiast. He influenced A&WMA’s Technical Council to include greener, energy-efficient, and integrated engineering solutions in solid and hazardous waste management, using materials science and engineering together with industrial ecology, environmental, and subsurface engineering, along with geological science in innovative solid and hazardous waste management. His vision of the environmental engineering cycle always considered recyclable materials, resource recovery in the matrix of pollution abatement, remediation, restoration, and disposal. Established in 2012, the Richard I. Stessel Award is presented annually by the Association for outstanding achievement in the engineering and science of waste management excellence. The recipient of this award must demonstrate technical accomplishments considered to be major contributions in innovative strategies, treatment, recycling, reuse, or engineering/scientific excellence in the principles of resource recovery engineering and waste processing waste management.
 
A&WMA presents the 2019 Richard I. Stessel Waste Management Award to Stephan B. Smith.
 
Smith started his solid waste career as a helper on a rear loader, eventually being a driver and then as a landfill operator during his time in college. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering from Colorado State University and a master’s in Sanitary Engineering from University of Colorado, he started a professional career spanning more than 40 years in the solid and hazardous waste business. He has been involved in the permitting, design, and construction of over 500 landfill projects in the United States and 12 foreign countries. While many of these projects were Subtitle D facilities, several included bioreactor designs, liquids stabilization, and special and hazardous waste facilities.
 
Smith co-founded and developed eight different companies in the waste industry, including a large rail-haul landfill, several integrated solid waste companies serving niche markets, a composting facility located in Arizona that accepted rail-hauled municipal sewage sludge from New York City, integrated construction debris companies and a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle C facility for recycling and recovery of spent solvents. All of these companies were consolidated into larger market waste management entities.
 
In recent years, Smith has been involved in the design, permitting, construction, and operation of numerous landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) projects. While some projects have produced electrical power or medium Btu gas for use in boilers, most of these projects have involved optimizing well field practices, design/build of upgrading/treatment facilities to produce pipeline quality natural gas, commonly called renewable natural, and injection to the natural gas pipe grid system for use as vehicle fuel. He has dealt with the sale of the renewable natural gas, as well as documenting the environmental attributes associated with the use of the renewable natural gas.
 
Smith’s expertise in the combination of hauling/transfer operations, landfill management, landfill operations, engineering, and LFGTE projects has allowed him to apply these credentials to the waste industry through the development of numerous training programs that have been conducted in many foreign countries. He worked with Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) and International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) to develop self-audit and training programs to address technical, environmental, and safety issues in countries such as Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Columbia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Egypt and Israel.
 
Smith has served on the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA), Board of Governors for over 25 years, served on the NWRA, Board of Trustees for six years and many other committees within NWRA over the past 30 years. He has served on numerous committees within the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA). He currently serves as a voting member on the ANSI/Canadian Standards Association B149.6 committee on utilization of biogas and is the United States voting member on the ISO TC255 committee for developing international standards for the use of biogas.
 
Smith was inducted into the NWRA Hall of Fame in 2012 and has received the Solid Waste Professional Achievement Award 


Stephan B. Smith