With exceptional tours, educational programs, and the annual HHW Olympics, NAHMMA delivered a great conference and enjoyed re-connecting with attendees.
By Kenneth Miller

Welcome to the NAHMMA Corner! NAHMMA held its 37th Annual Conference in Ft. Myers, FL at the Luminary Hotel from July 17 – 22, 2022, and we want to share with you some of the exciting networking, training, and transformative energy that occurred during our first in-person conference since 2019 (the 2020 and 2021 conferences were held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic). It felt good to connect and re-connect with our attendees who were able to join us in person.

Putting together an annual conference, which draws attendees from across North America, never comes without a few hiccups along the way. Planning for the 2022 conference began in the shadow of the pandemic, with the possibility of pandemic-related restrictions posing obstacles the committee had to plan around. The conference planning committee never let any of the challenges
deter them from delivering what one of our attendees called “the best conference ever!” and we cannot thank the committee enough for ensuring that all of our attendees, speakers, sponsors, and
vendors had a valuable conference experience.

This year, the conference kicked off as it always does with trainings on Sunday. This year’s trainings were highlighted by the new and updated 24-hour HAZWOPER/VSQG training. There were also training sessions for:
• Identifications of Unknowns
• Explosive and Highly Reactive Chemicals
• DOT Hazardous Materials
• Chemistry for Non-Chemists
• Disaster Debris Management for HHW Managers
• SQG New Inspector Training
• HHW New Technician Training
• 8-Hour HAZWOPER Refresher
• HHW Collection Facility Best Practices

One of our trainees commented, “The explosive and highly reactive chemical training was very informative. I enjoyed the conversations during the class and all the real-life situations we were shown in pictures. Even though the class was geared more towards the HHWs, other fields, such as mine with enforcement, could completely relate. Thank you!” Comments like these are why our trainers do what they do and why we cannot thank them enough for giving their time to our organization.

The trainings and tours always unofficially kick of the conference. This year’s schedule included a tour of Diversified Yacht Services, Inc. and a tour of Lee County’s household chemical waste facility, waste-to-energy plant, and their recycling facility. One attendee commented that, “The scale and impact of the waste-to-energy plant cannot be understated. Seeing the facility was an eye-opening experience to alternatives to landfilling waste and energy generation.”

The membership mixer on Monday night was the first chance for many of our attendees to mingle with each other. It did not take long for our members to show us that they had missed seeing each other in person.

NAHMAA Board members Ken Miller & Donald Hardee celebrating the first in-person conference since 2019.

Things officially kicked of on Tuesday with the opening Keynote Address from Dr. David E. Guggenheim, Ph.D.: “Lessons from the Deep: What the Oceans are Telling Us and Why it Matters.” One of our attendees commented, “Exceptional! One of the best keynote speakers I’ve heard. His presentation skills were great, and the message delivered hit home. It’s nice to see and be a part of a group of likeminded individuals.”

From there it was off to the races, both figuratively and literally. Our sessions committee put together an amazing program for our attendees covering everything from, “The State of the ERP Movement” and “The Promise of ERP for Managing HHM” to the “Impacts of COVID-19”, the “Lens Manufacturing Industry”, and so much more. Comments like these from an attendee in the Lens Manufacturing Industry session really show how much our members value the presentations and the presenters: “Outstanding work. She researched her subject deeply and shared her knowledge in a digestible entertaining manner. Best of Show!”

NAHMMA members touring Lee County’s Household Chemical Waste Facility.

No NAHMMA conference would be complete without the annual NAHMMA HHW Olympics. All attendees are invited to create teams of four to compete in a series of HHM themed events including barrel rolling, the barrel dolly slalom and more. As a two-time medalist, I can tell you the competition is fierce (some teams train months in advance), yet fun. There is always good-natured heckling and encouragement among the participants.

Conference attendees showcasing their skills with an eye on the Golden Bung!

All the networking, trainings and transformative energy of our conference could not happen without all of our conference vendors, sponsors, and attendees. All attendees had the opportunity to visit with the vendors and sponsors during the vendor reception and in between the trainings, the sessions, the keynotes.

So, where will the next “Best Conference Ever” be held next year? The Southwest Chapter will be hosting next year’s conference in Tempe, AZ from September 17 – 22. Carmelita Nichols (Southwest Chapter) summed up the value of attending a NAHMMA conference best, “The 2022 NAHMMA conference was an amazing opportunity to collaborate with experts in hazardous waste management from all around the country. The activities and presentations covered a wide range of topics, and the socializing events allowed me to form connections in our rare field, that I would otherwise not have had the opportunity to do. The program was well organized, and the planning committee was fantastic at keeping the whole event interesting and entertaining. I am excited to use my experience to plan the conference next year in Arizona. Thank you for a wonderful conference!”



NAHMMA Board. Photos courtesy of NAHMMA.

Operating as a volunteer-run, non-profit organization, committedto pollution prevention, product stewardship, and the safe and effective handling of hazardous materials from households and small businesses,
NAHMMA supports its members with exclusive training opportunities, relevant industry news, and access to a diverse and experienced multi-national network of people involved in the hazardous waste management industry.


The NAHMMA Board of Directors would like to thank our Florida Chapter and Lee County/Ft. Myers for hosting this year annual conference. We would also like to thank all the members of our conference planning committee:Michelle Dunsford, Debra Boothe, Doug Divers, Pam McRoy, Rita Perini, Rita Crouch, Jean Richards, Gerry Javier, Jessica Lopez, Jim Reece, Richard Lobinske, Glen Perrigan, Miranda Rothenberger, Sarah Keith Valentine, Tiffaney Noland, Becky Alexander, David Pears, Richard Avila, Rick Gilbert, Donald Hardee, Victoria Hodge, Brody Horan, Dan King, Kelley Mazur, Kari Meyer, Kenneth Miller, Kelby Neal, Stephanie Noren, Andrea Stermer, Alicia Hacker, Catherine Eichner, Kevin Lynch, Hondo Judd, Rick Neiner, Carmelita Nichols, Frank Sanchez, David Tavares, Bob Madden, Jack Price, Bob Fletcher, Sondra McCulloch.
This is the third and final article in the first part of our NAHMMA Corner series, which is designed to tell you, the reader, more about who we are. Future article themes will cover Mobile Collection, Materials Management, and Collection Facilities. | WA

Kenneth Miller began his duties as a scale operator with Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency (DMASWA) in May 2011. Prior to that, he served as a Logistics Team Leader with the Target Corporation. In his role as the Solid Waste Agency Administrator, Ken is a member or multiple professional organizations, including SWANA, the Iowa Society of Solid Waste Operator (ISOSWO), the Iowa Recycling Association (IRA), the North American Hazardous Materials Management Association (NAHMMA) – National Board Member, NAHMMA Heartland Chapter President, the US Composting Council, and the Iowa Composting Council – Board Member. He can be reached at (563) 581-2874, e-mail [email protected], or visit www.NAHMMA.org.