Brenda A. Haney, P.E.
Solid Waste Services Director City of Irving, Texas
How long have you been in the industry?: More than 25 years.
How did you get involved? What was your first job?: I began my career as a design engineer at a major consulting firm. I had the opportunity to work on designs in the water, wastewater and hazardous waste remediation. I had finished up my part on some projects and our company had been awarded several projects. These projects were solid waste management plans for several regional councils of government. I had the opportunity to work on these projects and they were the beginning of my career in solid waste.
Who/What was your biggest influence?: I have had a number of people throughout my professional life that have influenced me but I would have to say the person that influenced me most was my father. He was the Director of Public Services at a municipality and I was introduced to the public works field early in my childhood. I would spend days at his work learning and seeing what he did and when I was 12, I declared that I wanted to be an engineer.
What has been your most unique/interesting experience over the years?: The most unique experience I had was as the design engineer on a landfill cell design project. We were under construction and near the end of the project when a slope failure occurred. The analysis of the cause of the failure, the design of the repair and the responsibility of communicating all of this was a tremendous learning experience for me. It is never a good thing as an engineer to have some type of failure in your project, but I grew so much through that project.
What do you see as the biggest challenges to the industry today?: I think that there are several challenges ahead of our industry—the adaptation and restructuring of our recycling programs and the end markets of those materials; the analysis of landfill designs with more than 30 years of history under the Subtitle D regulations and managing the closure of those landfills that stopped operating with the adoption of those rules; and, for me personally, building and growing the next generation of solid waste professionals. Regardless of the position in the industry—driver, engineer, regulator, educator, etc.— bringing people into the industry and keeping them in the industry is a significant challenge.
What do you like most about being in the industry/your job?: The solid waste profession is a fascinating study of human nature and people, but the best thing about my job is the day-to-day impact we have on our community.
Hobbies: Volunteering for several organizations, working out and watching my favorite sports teams.
Last vacation: Backpacking, camping and fishing in Colorado.
Words to live by: Believe.