Featured Speakers & Personalities

Introductions & Overview

Conference Moderator: Ms. Mary Babbitt, Co-anchor for KNTV News, Channel 11 in San Jose

State Senator Byron Sher, author of California’s Integrated Waste Management Act (which established the state’s solid waste diversion goals), discusses the Act’s background and California’s progress toward meeting its goals.

Panel 1: “Innovative Systems Case Studies”

Topic: “Government Recycling Plans & Policies”

Ms. Cara Morgan, Program Manager
Targeted Implementation Assistance Program
California Integrated Waste Management Board

Morgan oversees the Board’s “Targeted Implementation Assistance Program” to assist jurisdictions in meeting the year 2000 goal. Her team works with jurisdictions throughout California in evaluating their programs, identifying program gaps, and developing customized assistance plans in collaboration with those jurisdictions.

Topic: “Construction & Demolition (C&D) Debris Recycling Programs”

Ms. Wendy Sommer, Program Manager
Alameda County Waste Management Authority

Sommer has been with the Alameda County Waste Management Authority and the Alameda County Source Reduction & Recycling Board since 1991. She manages programs focusing on construction and demolition recycling, green building practices, and public education.   Sommer also serves as the liaison to the agency’s “Technical Advisory Committee.” Sommer’s educational background includes a degree in “Environmental Planning.” She brings to her work a decade of public and private sector experience in the fields of planning and urban design.

Topic: “Commercial Innovations & Challenges in Recycling”

Ms. Kathy Cote, Environmental Services Manager
City of Fremont, CA–Environmental Services Dept.

As Environmental Services Manager, Cote oversees the City’s solid waste and recycling programs. These programs have contributed to Fremont’s 53% diversion rate and serve approximately 3,000 commercial customers and 45,000 single-family homes. For eight years prior to joining the City of Fremont in 1998, Cote worked in Market Development at Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI), where she provided financial analysis on acquisitions, divestitures, solid waste development projects, and municipal contracts. Her education includes a Bachelor’s Degree from Rivier College in Nashua, NH and an M.B.A. from Babson College in Wellesley, MA.

Topic: “Organics Recycling and Composting”

Mr. Jack Macy, Program Manager
City & County of San Francisco–Environmental Services Dept.

Panel 2: “Community-Wide Recycling Programs”

Topic: “Regional Model–Sonoma County”

Mr. Ken Wells, Director
Sonoma County Waste Management Agency

In addition to his duties as Agency Director for the past eight years, Wells is the “Integrated Waste Manager” for the Sonoma County Public Works Department.   In this capacity, he is responsible for the county’s landfill and five transfer stations, which serve 450,000 residents.  He also regulates eight private refuse collection companies, and supervises the preparation of a $22 million annual operating budget. His professional background includes 12 years of environmental management with consulting and solid waste companies. Wells’ educational background includes degrees in “Environmental Engineering” and “Economics” from California State University, Humboldt.

Topic: “Rural Model–Tehama County”

Mr. Robert Kohn, Director
Tehama County / Red Bluff Landfill Management Agency

Kohn has been involved with integrated solid waste management for 23 years. His experience includes the administration and management of all operations involving collections, recycling, materials recovery, composting, and landfill operations for a city of approximately 80,000 people, a rural Northern California county, and a regional “Joint Powers Agency” consisting of three incorporated cities and one county. As director of this agency, Kohn administers contracts, landfill operations, transfer stations and collections.

Topic: “Urban Model–City of Riverside”

Mr. Harold Duffy, Environmental Coordinator
City of Riverside

Duffy has more than 12 years experience in Public Works and Solid Waste Management programs. In his current role as a Senior Administrative Analyst, his duties include coordination of refuse operations and code compliance, equipment procurement, activity planning and scheduling, as well as development of an innovative strategic plan to streamline operations and cut personnel costs through implementation of automated trash, green waste, and comprehensive recycling programs. Duffy is responsible for the development and implementation of Riverside’s automated curbside recycling program and has developed agreements with private haulers for curbside recycling.  He successfully initiated a newspaper drop-off program which utilized drop-off sites constructed from recycled plastic lumber.

Topic: “Suburban Model–City of Thousand Oaks”

Mr. Grahame Watts, Senior Management Analyst
City of Thousand Oaks – Public Works Dept.

Watts has been employed by the City of Thousand Oaks for 10 years and has 14 years experience in municipal government. In his present position as Senior Management Analyst, Mr. Watts coordinates the city’s hazardous and solid waste, stormwater, electric vehicle, and emergency preparedness programs. Additionally, Watts has extensive experience in coordinating state agency grants, and has served as Director of the California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA). During Watts’ tenure with the City of Thousand Oaks, it has received numerous awards for its waste reduction and recycling programs, and has achieved full compliance with AB 939 goals. Watts holds a B.A. in Communication Arts and is pursuing his M.B.A.