Change Makers

Companies that Make a Difference

We are excited to announce the Waste & Recycling Workers Week - Change Makers! Here we celebrate the companies, large and small, making a difference and providing an excellent service at the local level. These waste management providers, serving our communities day in and day out, deserve to be recognized and thanked for their contribution to keeping our world clean.

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Louis E. Wagner – Earthwatch Waste Systems, Inc.

Louis E. Wagner Lou Wagner helped design and develop the first professional hazardous waste treatment and disposal facility in the U.S. in the 1970s.  His patented concept of the secure landfill system using a synthetic membrane liner for safe disposal of hazardous waste is now used throughout the world.  Looking for alternative uses for hazardous … Read more

Tom Van Weelden – Environmental Development Corp.

Tom Van Weelden Tom Van Weelden started working for his father’s garbage company in 1968 at the age of 14, washing trucks and collecting trash.  He was a college student when the company was sold to Waste Management, Inc., which then hired him to help during summers and breaks.  As a junior in college, in … Read more

Edward Vogel – Vogel Disposal Service.

Edward Vogel Edward Vogel began his waste industry career in 1958 as a driver, thrower, mechanic, equipment operator, and salesman for his own company, Vogel Disposal Service.  Today, Vogel Holding, Inc. includes nearly 400 employees, 200 trucks, two hauling companies, two landfills, and one recycling facility.  He was a founding member of NSWMA and served … Read more

Donald Galbreath – Galfab, Inc.

Donald Galbreath Donald Galbreath is known for his inventions – the Galbreath Roll-Off Hoist, casted swivel eye and HH receivers for roll-off containers, automatic container locks for roll-off hoists, and the controlled gasketed rear door on self-contained compactors.  In 1964, he became President and CEO of Galbreath, Inc. and since 1992, the President and CEO … Read more

Royal Coulter – Peoria Disposal Co

Royal Coulter After a decade of truck driving, dispatching, and sales, in 1979, after his father’s death and at the age of 31, Royal Coulter became CEO and President of Peoria Disposal Co.  During his tenure, he built the company from 50 employees, 35 trucks, and one landfill to an award winning company of over … Read more

Robert P. Stearns – SCS Engineers

Robert P. Stearns Bob Stearns worked as a sanitary engineer for the City of Los Angeles in 1960 and ten years later co-founded SCS Engineers.  He is widely recognized over his 43-year career for applying engineering principles to support and improve waste industry business practices and has authored numerous technical articles and received major awards … Read more

Frederick E. Leach – Leach Company

Frederick E. Leach Fred Leach began his career with the Leach Company in 1976 and worked his way up to become the president in 1992.  During his tenure, Leach moved his company into the computer age and became known as the “King of the Rear Loaders.”  He served for three years as chairman of the … Read more

Harry Kletter – Industrial Services of America

Harry Kletter Harry Kletter entered the waste business as a child working in his family’s one-truck junk business collecting recyclables.  By 1952, he was the co-owner of a small junkyard in southern Indiana; 1961, a maker of stationary compactors; and a waste hauler by 1962.  In 1969, his two-year-old company, Industrial Services of America , became … Read more

Harris W. Hudson – Hudson Capital Management

Harris W. Hudson Harris Hudson entered the waste business in 1964 as a helper on the back of a truck for Southern Sanitation.  When Southern Sanitation merged into the original Waste Management, Inc. in 1972, Hudson became instrumental in acquisitions and operations.  Today, he is the vice-chairman of Republic Services, Inc. and chairman of Hudson … Read more

Edward A. Furnari – WASTEC

Edward A. Furnari Edward Furnari began his career in the waste business in 1977 by becoming the controller of Marathon Equipment Company, Inc.  Working his way up, in 1995, Furnari became president of the company.  He played a critical role in the development of large transfer packers and helped build the company from $3 million … Read more