Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy (R&E) announces that after a competitive process attracting a large group of strong candidates from across the country, Trista Martinson has accepted the position of R&E’s first executive director. “I am thrilled for Ms. Martinson and R&E as we embark on this new opportunity to advance Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy’s mission together,” said Washington County District 1 Commissioner and R&E Board Chair Fran Miron. “Her strategic vision, unwavering commitment to public service, and collaborative spirit make her an exceptional choice as our first executive director.”

R&E is a partnership between Ramsey and Washington counties to manage waste responsibly. The counties have worked collaboratively since the 1980s, and in 2016 purchased the R&E Center in Newport to further work towards the shared goal of promoting waste reduction, material reuse, recycling and landfill diversion, as well as meeting the state’s 75 percent recycling goal by 2030.

R&E is governed by a joint powers R&E Board, which is comprised of commissioners from both counties. The organization serves over 800,000 residents and 70,000 businesses. R&E views waste as a resource stream and works to extract maximum value from discarded materials.

Martinson brings over 30 years of military, nonprofit, and government leadership experience to R&E. Since 2019, she has served as a Ramsey County Commissioner representing district 3. She has also served as the Ramsey County Board Chair since 2022. Prior to that she served in a variety of leadership, advocacy and lobbying roles including positions at the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, Minnesota Humanities Center and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. She also served, for a combined 16 years, in the U.S Navy, U.S Marine Corps Reserve and MN National Guard. She completed her last five years of military service as a Company Commander.  

A lifelong community advocate, Martinson founded the Women Veterans Initiative, a nonprofit organization that advocates to build equity in services to develop innovative programs to address the needs of women Veterans. She also has served as a Ramsey County Veterans Court Advocate.

During her time as Ramsey County Commissioner, Martinson has worked closely with her colleagues to make climate resiliency a countywide strategic priority. She has been a vocal advocate for environmental and climate justice, knowing that we all depend on the physical environment for our health and wellbeing. She is particularly proud of the work she has done with her colleagues and R&E staff to support the rollout of the Food Scraps Pickup Program which is working to divert up to 20 percent of our waste. Along with other commissioners, she has also been a vocal advocate for investing in an anaerobic digestion facility to process food scraps and other organic material into clean energy.

“I am excited to take on this new leadership opportunity,” said Trista Martinson. “I am deeply committed to environmental initiatives and am eager to continue to collaborate with county commissioners, staff, partners and community to fulfill the board’s vision for moving R&E beyond waste processing to leveraging the latest technologies for clean energy production.” Martinson will begin with R&E in early August.

For more information, visit www.recyclingandenergy.org.