Richard McHale was appointed Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) Director by Austin Interim City Manager Jesús Garza on September 8, 2023. McHale has been serving as Interim Director for the department since former Director Ken Snipes was reassigned to the City’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) in March. Snipes was later appointed as the Director of HSEM.
As the Director of ARR, McHale reports to Assistant City Manager Stephanie Hayden-Howard. He is responsible for planning, directing, coordinating, and maintaining economical and efficient resource recovery, recycling and reuse services for the City of Austin. This includes working closely with the Zero Waste Advisory Commission to continue the department’s mission to provide essential services that protect people and our planet and to support the City of Austin’s sustainability efforts. The City of Austin has a goal to reach zero waste by 2040, which means reducing the amount of trash sent to landfills by 90%.
McHale has more than 30 years of experience with ARR and most recently served as Deputy Director, helping to lead the storm debris collection efforts during Winter Storm Mara. He was instrumental in the rollouts of the City’s single-stream recycling and curbside composting programs. He also led the development of the Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center.
In addition, McHale is a director of the Texas chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America (TxSWANA), a member of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) Municipal Solid Waste Management and Resource Recovery Advisory Council and serves on the Solid Waste Advisory Commission for the Capital Area Planning Council of Governments. He served as a past President of both TxSWANA and the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Municipal Waste Management Association. While President of TxSWANA, he spearheaded the efforts that resulted in Slow Down to Get Around legislation.
“This is an incredible honor, and I am humbled to have the opportunity to serve in this capacity. As I step into this new role, I am committed to upholding the values, principles and high standards that have been the foundation of ARR’s success,” McHale said.