Blending in-person events with virtual options and social networking, became necessary during the pandemic, and helped NAHMMA expand the options for members to connect and build relationships.
By Kenneth Miller

Welcome to the NAHMMA Corner! Networking:it is one of the core values of NAHMMA as an organization, it is right there in our tagline: Network, Train, Transform. In a post-pandemic world, connecting with others has evolved. However, the pandemic also highlighted the value of in-person events, such as our annual conference and regional chapter workshops. Blending these in-person events with virtual options and social networking, which became necessary during the pandemic, helped NAHMMA expand the options for our members to connect and build relationships, which benefit them on both a professional and personal level.

In-Person Networking
For many of us, in-person events where we can connect with colleagues, are still the preferred way to connect and build relationships. To meet this expectation, NAHMMA offers several ways for our members to connect in-person.

Each year, except for the pandemic, NAHMMA holds an annual conference. This year the conference will be held in sunny Tempe, AZ from September 17 – 22. This event provides attendees with the opportunity to connect with colleagues from across North America while having the opportunity to engage in training, listen to, and participate in presentations, meet with vendors, and have a little fun (HHW Olympics). The value of the event to attendees cannot be overstated.

For my organization, attendance at the annual conference has provided connections that have transformed how our facility performs public outreach and engagement, material intake, and has led to reduced operational costs through connections to vendors networks when issuing a request for proposals. On a personal level, I have also developed friendships that would not have been possible otherwise.

The annual conference, however, is just one form of in-person networking available to our members. Our regional chapters also hold in-person workshops throughout the year, which offers all members a chance to engage on a more “local” level with colleagues. These chapter workshops serve as a mini-conference and offer a streamlined set of training, presentation, and vendor engagement opportunities. So far this year our chapters have held or have plans to hold at least three in-person workshops from March through May, which you can learn more about at


NAHMMA Heartland Chapter members tour the Columbia Missouri Household Hazardous Materials Collection Facility.


NAHMMA members attend a virtual networking event.


NAHMMA members mingle at the 2022 Conference held in Fort Myers, FL.

Virtual Networking
Prior to the pandemic, networking opportunities being held virtually were few and for many of us seemed to be an awkward way to engage with others. However, when faced with no access to in-person opportunities we all had to learn how to engage virtually to continue to grow and expand our networks.

For NAHMMA, this meant taking our annual conference online, with short notice, in 2020 and with a little more lead time in 2021. It also brought about a virtual networking series first called NAHMMA Teatime, then called NAHMMA Happy hour, which was held later in the day to allow members from across North America then chance to engage virtually. These virtual networking events allowed members to showcase their local facility, discuss current trends in hazardous materials management and sometimes wander off into unique “rabbit hole” conversations. From these events, members were able to network and connect outside the events to inquire more about what was discussed during the virtual event. During the pandemic, these were a perfect solution to an imperfect time.

In 2023 and moving forward, NAHMMA plans to blend events worked during the pandemic with pre-pandemic type events to continue to build out the network available to our members. As mentioned, we already have several in-person networking events planned for this year.

We have also debuted a new virtual networking series, which replaces the Teatime/Happy Hour series, called NAHMMA Connect. This series, held during normal working hours, offers members a chance to engage at both the association and chapter levels and a chance to share and solicit solutions when needed. This series aims to build on the success of the virtual events held during the pandemic and provide a value-added networking opportunity moving forward.

Social Networking
Another tool in the toolbox, professional social networking, via LinkedIn, offers our members a chance to connect, develop, and curate their network. Via our business page, North American Hazardous Materials Management Association, our members can engage with posted topics, learn about available resources, and connect with others who engage in those posts to grow their network. This tool also allows members attending in-person and virtual events an easy way to connect during and after the event.

The pandemic taught us many things and made us reflect on what we value. As an organization, we learned how valuable our in-person events are to our members, but we also learned new ways to engage our membership, which spans North America and its multiple time zones; we also continue to grow both our members and their organizations available resources. As the ways to network continue to evolve, NAHMMA will continue to add to our networking toolbox to help our members Network, Train, and Transform. I look forward to seeing our current members this year at one of our many events. If you are not currently a member, stop over at to learn more about our association, connect with NAHMMA on LinkedIn, or connect with me via LinkedIn, or e-mail to learn more about all the ways you can Network, Train, Transform with us. | WA

Kenneth Miller currently serves as on the NAHMMA Board of Directors as Board President and the NAHMMA Heartland Chapter President. He is the current Solid Waste Agency Administrator at the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency (DMASWA). In addition to his involvement with NAHMMA, Ken is also a member of several other professional organizations, including SWANA, the Iowa Society of Solid Waste Operator (ISOSWO – Board Member), the Iowa Recycling Association (IRA), , the United States Composting Council, and the Iowa Composting Council (Board Member). He can be reached at (563) 581-2874, e-mail [email protected] or visit