Annual Conference & Exhibit November 8, 2017

The Annual Waste Management Conference and Exhibit is the highlight of The Forum’s regularly scheduled events.

A Planning Committee is hard at work developing a timely and informative program and an impressive roster of speakers.
A program announcement and registration flier will be e-mailed to those on the Forum’s mailing list.
If you wish to be on the Conference mailing list, please go to the Contact Us page and fill out an E-mail comment.
Include your name and e-mail address. Be sure to indicate that you want to receive the flier.

Anyone interested in exhibiting their products or services at the conference, or contributing, should
complete and send an exhibit order form to the Forum. If you have questions about exhibiting at the
conference, or contributing, send an E-mail to: Forum Exhibit.
This year’s conference will be held at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel and Conference Center located at
601 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona CA  91768


Conference Schedule

5:00am – 7:00am Vendor Set up
7:30-8:00 Registration and Meeting Time with Vendors
8:00-8:15 Welcoming Remarks – SCWMF Chair, Susanne Passantino
8:15-8:40 Breakfast Keynote Speaker – Scott Smithline
8:45-10:15 Session 1 – Tracks 1 & 2
10:30 -12:00  Session 2 – Tracks 1 & 2

12:00 – 1:30 Buffet Lunch, Luncheon Speaker and Meeting Time with Vendors
1:30 – 3:00 Afternoon Round-table
3:00-3:30 Wrap Up and Door Prizes

Keynote Speaker: Scott Smithline, Calrecycle

Luncheon Speaker: California Senator Jeff Stone

Track 1 Session 1
8:45am – 10:15am

“Organics: Composting and Processing Solutions”

Isabel Rios-Kahn & Teri Cohan Link


“The fundamentals the Puente Hills project and how food waste will be received and processed into a slurry for digestion”
Jim Miller, J.R. Miller & Associates

Mary Matava, President of Agri Service, will present on their private/public partnership of their El Corazon Composting Operation.

“Turning Organics Into Truck Fuel”
Mike Silva, CR&R

Refreshment Break & Exhibits 10:15am – 10:30am

Track 1 Session 2
10:30am – 12:00pm

“International Perspectives on Solid Waste Management”

Nick Morell & Hans Kernkamp

Speakers and topics:

“International Advances in Organics Processing Technologies”
Andrew Benedek, CEO, Anaergia

“How Can I Help? Asked the 1st World to the 3rd World”
Constance Hornig, Law Office of Constance Hornig

“Updates on Best Management  Practices in MSW Management”
Eugene Tseng, E. Tseng & Associates

12:00 Luncheon Speaker Senator Jeff Stone

1:30 – 3:00 Afternoon Round-table
“The Long Term Future of our Environment”

Panel includes:
Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director of So. California Assoc. of Governments
Blake Gasca, Founder and CEO of MUHU
Andrew Benedek, CEO of Anaergia

3:00 – 3:30 Wrap Up and Door Prizes

Track 2 Session 1
8:45am – 10:15am

“Organics: Education and Compliance”

Olivia Sanchez & Ray Huff


“Compliance with AB 1826 and Best Practices for Business Organics Collection and Addressing Clean Material”
Tracie Bills, SCS Engineers

“County of Orange Project Zero Waste Educational Outreach Program”
Lori Kiesser, Inside the Outdoors

“Ending Hunger and Reducing Food Waste Outreach Program”
Mike Learakos, Waste Not OC Coaltion

Refreshment Break & Exhibits 10:15am – 10:30am

Track 2 Session 2
10:30am – 12:00pm

“Energy Recovery from Solid Waste”

Bahman Hajialiakbar & Mark Patti


“Policy Drivers and Opportunities for Bioenergy from Organic Waste”
Julia Levin, Bioenergy Association of California (BAC)

“Food Waste Recycling: LACSD Program Update”
Mark McDannel, Sanitation Districts of LA County

“Renewable Chemicals and Biofuels from Post Recycled Waste to Close the Loop of the Circular Economy”
im Cesarek, Enerkem

To register please click on the links below:
pdf-logo2 Conference Attendee Form
pdf-logo2 Conference Exhibitor Form
pdf-logo2 Conference Scholarship Form
pdf-logo2 Conference Sponsor/Contributor Form

pdf-logo2PARKING MAP
(Depending on your computer speed, please allow a minute for the download)

Speaker Bio’s

Dr. Andrew Benedek is the Chairman and CEO for Anaergia Inc. He is actively involved in the development and management of technology related to biogas and other value recovery from waste organics, and has over 30 years of experience in wastewater treatment and breakthrough technology development.
A highly respected international authority in the field of water and wastewater treatment technology, Dr. Benedek is recognized by his colleagues as a visionary engineer, global leader and philanthropist.
Dr. Benedek was a professor of Chemical and Civil Engineering, specializing in water treatment, at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario for 10 years until he founded ZENON Environmental Inc. in 1980. Under Dr. Benedek’s leadership, many of the key membrane technologies used for water and wastewater treatment were developed, and ZENON became the global leader in this field. In 2006 the company was sold to General Electric, becoming a subsidiary of GE Water & Process Technologies.
Dr. Benedek graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering and receiving a PhD in the same field from the University of Washington. He has also been awarded 3 honorary doctorates from North American Universities.


Tracie Bills is the Northern California Director of Sustainable Materials Management for SCS Engineers.  She has over 20 years of materials management experience, which includes working for a waste hauler, a county government, and a non-profit; she also has over 10 years with materials management consulting firms. She has provided commercial sector materials flow assessments, green events project management, construction and demolition (C&D) research, and recycling and waste management technical support to government agencies and businesses throughout Northern California. A skilled communicator, Ms. Bills specializes in managing technical and outreach projects, conducting research and analysis, and evaluating customer service for municipalities, businesses, and waste haulers throughout the Bay Area. She is an expert in the regulatory environment affecting management decision-making, and a strong believer in transparency; she takes pride in her ability to engage stakeholders in meaningful, action-oriented ways to drive higher levels of customer service. Her recent projects include completion of a residential survey for the City of Santa Clara Cleanup Campaign; researching and writing the AB 1826 Organics Management Plan and advising on commercial technical assistance for Los Angeles County; researching grants, loans, and funding for an alternative energy client, a climate inventory submission, public space recycling, and the commercial recycling permit process; auditing customer service and scale house operations for RethinkWaste; preparing an organics study for multi-family dwellings in San Francisco; mandatory organics research for the cities of Alameda, Fremont, and Union City; mandatory recycling technical assistance for StopWaste; anti-scavenging research for RethinkWaste; and project management for 15,000 visual characterization audits in the cities of San Jose, Fremont, and Richmond for Republic Services.


Tim Cesarek is the Senior Vice President of Business Development at Enerkem Inc., an advanced green technology company.  Enerkem produces clean fuels and green chemicals from waste with better economics and greater sustainability than other technologies relying on fossil sources. Mr. Cesarek has over 25 years of private equity and business development experience; he has participated in over $500 million of direct investments and strategic collaborations, and has served on sixteen corporate boards over the last fifteen years.  His specialties include: capital formation, strategic partnering, and direct investments as well as business, commercial/project development and open innovation.  Mr. Cesarek’s industry specialties include: clean energy, alternative fuels, advanced materials, renewable chemicals, waste to energy, waste to fuels, waste to chemicals, industrial biotechnology, chemicals, resins, polymers, consumer products and oil and gas.  Mr. Cesarek is a graduate of the George L. Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University.


Blake Gasca is CEO of MuHu. A co-founder of MuHu’s predecessor, Convoy Technologies, he guided the company from a nimble startup to an award-winning, high-growth organization. He now drives success for MuHu, where he brings a zealous passion to innovate, save lives, lower total client cost of operations, and deliver high quality solutions. Blake earned his business degree at Loyola Marymount University, where he majored in information system quantitative management and international business. He has experience in operations management, mobile technology, strategic planning, and IT solutions.


Constance Hornig is an attorney who exclusively represents public entities in municipal solid waste contract procurements.  She has approximately 40 years of experience, including 25 years representing public entities and NGOs on the full scope of matters related to integrated waste management.  She has drafted, procured and negotiated many solid waste collection proposals and contracts for entities ranging from the County of Los Angeles (population 10 million) to the City of Wasco (population 25,000).  Her client engagements extend from Kodiak, Alaska to the island of Barbados; the City of Santa Barbara to Azerbaijan.  She is an International Board Corporate Director for the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), and the legal member representative to the SWANA Executive Committee.
Hornig graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Since Harvard, she has become a member of the New York and California bars in the Environmental Law Section, as well as the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. Hornig’s federal government experience includes work in the Department of Justice and the former Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Currently, she is the owner of the Law Offices of Constance Hornig located in Los Angeles, California.


Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director SCAG…Considered one of the preeminent transportation planning experts in the nation, Hasan Ikhrata is the Executive Director of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the largest metropolitan planning organization in the United States. Appointed in January 2008, Mr. Ikhrata has over 25 years of public and private sector experience in Transportation Planning in Southern California. At SCAG Mr. Ikhrata implements the policies of an 86-member Regional Council and directs day-to-day operations of the agency. He is credited with being a transformational and unifying leader who has enhanced SCAG’s value to member agencies and fostered unprecedented levels of public input and participation in the development of regional transportation plans.

Prior to joining SCAG in 1994, Mr. Ikhrata worked for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD).

Mr. Ikhrata has received several awards and honors from various organizations and agencies including MOVE LA, for Outstanding Leadership as Executive Director of SCAG in preparation of the 2012 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy. He has also been recognized by the American Society of Public Administration (ASPA), Southern California Leadership Council (SCLC), Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), Orange County Council of Governments (OCCOG), Orange County Business Council, Orange County Division, League of California Cities, California Legislature 49th District Assembly Resolution by Hon. Mike Eng, City of Los Angeles, State of California Certificate of Recognition, Association of the San Bernardino County Special Districts, Four Corners Transportation Summit, City of Big Bear Lake and numerous others.

Mr. Ikhrata holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Civil and Industrial Engineering from Zaporozhye University in the former Soviet Union; a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from UCLA and a PhD Candidacy in Urban Planning and Transportation from USC.


Lori Kiesser has been with the Orange County Department of Education for 10 years and currently leads the Strategy and Development team at Inside the Outdoors. Lori is responsible for creating community partnerships that integrate State and Local environmental priorities into Inside the Outdoors’ hands-on field trips, Traveling Scientist, and community action programs. Through partnerships with organizations such as OC Waste & Recycling, Inside the Outdoors connects over 120,000 students each year to educational action projects that generate measurable progress toward environmental goals.


Julia Levin is the Executive Director of the Bioenergy Association of California.  The Bioenergy Association of California (BAC) is an association of companies, agencies and local governments working to promote sustainable bioenergy development including renewable and low carbon fuels, and electricity and gas made from organic waste.  The BAC focuses on policy advocacy, communications and outreach, research, and industry best practices.  Ms. Levin previously served as the Deputy Secretary for Climate Change and Energy at the California Resources Agency.  In that position, she chaired the Governor’s Inter-Agency Bioenergy Working Group and led development of California’s 2012 Bioenergy Action Plan.  She has also served as a Commissioner on the California Energy Commission, where she was the presiding Commissioner on renewable energy and the Associate Commissioner on energy efficiency.  She presided over the adoption of renewables portfolio standard (RPS) eligibility rules, power plant siting cases and other issues.  Ms. Levin earned a degree in international relations from Brown University in 1985, and earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in 1991.


Mike Learakos is the Executive Director of the OC Waste Not Coalition.  The mission of the OC Waste Not Coalition is to meet the nutritional needs of our community and protect the environment by facilitating the donation and distribution of wholesome surplus food.  The Coalition’s ultimate goal is to end hunger in Orange County.  The Coalition connects grocers and restaurants with food recovery agencies, connects those in need with pantries that provide wholesome food, and trains and educates potential donors to safely handle donated food.  Mr. Learakos is also the President of TJM, Inc./Katella Grill.  The Katella Grill is located in the City of Orange and provides quality homemade food, a personal, friendly atmosphere, and a wide variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner selections as well as freshly baked pies, gourmet coffees, and private reserve Napa Valley wines.


Mary Matava is an agronomist and the owner of Agri Service, which operates compost facilities in Southern California. With more than 35 years of experience assessing the agronomic suitability of Southern California soils and over 20 years of experience recycling organics, Mary is a leading expert in soil assessment, sustainable soil amendment practices, greenwaste recycling, and facility management. To date, Agri Service has processed over 1 million tons of greenwaste and continues to advocate for improving Zero-Waste practices.


Mark McDannel is Manager of the Solid Waste Department’s Energy Recovery Section at the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts. The section operates landfill gas-to-energy and waste-to-energy plants that generate over 80 MW of electricity, buys and sells energy and related attributes for the agency, and is developing the Districts food waste recycling program.
Prior to joining the Districts, Mr. McDannel worked in air quality and combustion consulting for the energy industry. He holds an M.S. in Environmental and Mechanical Engineering and a B.S. in Biological Sciences, both from UC Irvine.


Jim Miller has been a leading design professional and technical advisor in the solid waste management industry for more than 30 years. His work demonstrates a focus on integrating process and non-process requirements with overall plant layout and site configuration. He brings a wealth of expertize in designing facilities to maximize functionality and efficiency and to minimize life-cycle costs. Jim has been a frequent contributor at WASTECON, Waste Expo and a number of SWANA regional events. He is also a guest lecturer for the Solid Waste Extension Program at UCLA on the subject of the history and design of solid waste facilities.


Mike Silva, CR&R, more than thirty three years senior level solid waste management experience with responsibility for increasing revenues, efficiencies and profits while maximizing customer service, safety and employee morale. Expertise in technology development and construction management. His team developed the 3 cart fully automated collection system for the City of Temecula, which has since become the “gold standard”. Help design and construct the first solid waste processing facility in the country, back in 1992. Has since built several transfer stations and material recovery facilities.

Currently in charge of CR&R’s anaerobic digestion projects. Building the largest anaerobic digestion plant in the country, handling some 335,000 tons per year and generating in excess of 4 million gallons of renewable carbon negative natural gas.

MS, Civil Engineering (Construction Management/Geotechnical), STANFORD UNIVERSITY, 1986

BS, Civil Engineering (Cum Laude), UNIVERSITY OF THE PACIFIC, 1985

BS, Engineering Management (Cum Laude), UNIVERSITY OF THE PACIFIC, 1985


Scott Smithline is the Director of the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).  Prior to being appointed in July 2015, he served in the Department as Assistant Director for Policy Development.  Mr. Smithline was a consultant at the Smithline Group from 2008 to 2011, served as Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs at Californians Against Waste from 2003 to 2008, and was an attorney at Lawyers for Clean Water in 2001. He was a fellow at the Golden Gate University School of Law’s Environmental Law and Justice Clinic from 2000 to 2001. Mr. Smithline earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Golden Gate University School of Law.


Senator Jeff Stone was elected to represent California’s 28th State Senate District in 2014.  The 28th District extends from southwest Riverside County to the Arizona border.  Senator Stone has lived in Southern California his entire life.  In 1983, he opened his first small pharmacy business the City of Temecula and began building strong ties in the community.  In 1992, he was elected to the Temecula City Council, and went on to serve three terms.  Senator Stone served as Mayor of Temecula until being elected to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors in 2004.  He was re-elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2008 and 2012, and went on to serve as Chairman of the Board.
As a State Senator, he embraces the philosophy of a fiscally responsible and more efficient government that is less intrusive and more productive for its citizens.  Senator Stone has had important bills signed into law including the new prescription drug take back law which went into effect on January 1, 2016.  This law allows anyone to go into a participating pharmacy at no charge and drop off their unused pharmaceuticals.  He also drafted a new law to help with the restoration of the Salton Sea.
In addition to his work in government, Senator Stone continues to own and operate his local business, Innovative Compounding Pharmacy.  He has served as an assistant pharmacology professor at Cal State Dominguez Hills, and as an externship professor for the USC School of Pharmacy.  Senator Stone earned his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Southern California.

Dr. Eugene Tseng, J. D. – E. Tseng & Associates – Dr. Tseng is an environmental engineer and a licensed California attorney specializing in environmental law.  He has over 44 years of engineering experience in the municipal solid waste and hazardous waste management fields.  Dr. Tseng is primarily involved with helping cities become more sustainable.  He works with the CalRecycle, various cities, and waste haulers in training their staff on AB 939 programs and issues. Dr. Tseng designed the technical approach and developed the regulatory compliance measurement scheme used by jurisdictions to measure their progress toward their AB 939 waste diversion goals. Dr. Tseng has been assessing conversion technologies on behalf of the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, and is also the lead engineer in charge of the Federal task force evaluating conversion technologies and designing the national blueprint for an integrated materials recovery facility with conversion technologies.   Dr. Tseng has also served as the legal and technical adviser to the City of Los Angeles Local Enforcement Agency to assess the technical feasibility of solid waste processing facilities (including conversion technologies).   Dr. Tseng served on the US EPA National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology, and specifically served on the “Technology Transfer Subcommittee”, and has represented the US EPA in international projects with US Agency for International Development (US AID) and the United Nations Environmental Program in developing the solid waste infrastructure for developing countries.  Dr. Tseng developed and co-taught the very first “Business and the Environment” course designed for MBA program at the request of the US EPA and the United Nations Environmental Program.

Nick Lapis, CAW
Betsey Landis, Los Angeles Solid Waste Management Committee
Pat Proano, Los Angeles County DPW

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