Research Grants Program

The EREF is the only private, grant making institution with a national and international scope whose sole mission is to support solid waste research and education initiatives. Our research grants program is led by our Research Council, a body of volunteers consisting of technical experts in industry, academia and consulting. The work of the Council is guided by a long range strategic plan with the goal to achieve greater sustainability, good environmental stewardship, higher process efficiency and increased knowledge. Council recommended projects are then reviewed by our Board’s Projects Committee for a final review and funding allocation. Non-research oriented projects are reviewed and recommended to the Projects Committee by technical staff.

EREF Research Council

The EREF Board of Directors (BOD) has recognized that while Board members are very familiar with the solid waste industry, many may not necessarily be technical experts. Thus, the Research Council was formed as a sub-committee of technical experts to assist the BOD in funding high quality research projects and identify industry research needs. Although the Research Council has technically been in existence since 2007, Council members have noted previous attempts at organization had a number of apparent issues, specifically:

  • a lack of definitive structure
  • over burdening Council members with too many proposals over too short a review period
  • an inefficient or vague review format and proposal rating system

During the December 2008 Board of Directors meeting, the EREF technical staff was asked to prepare a report proposing how the Research Council would function. In consideration of this, it quickly became evident that the Research Council should be a primary and integral component of the entire research program if it were to be successful and have the necessary structure desired by the Board.

Thus, re-structuring the Research Council also required re-structuring the EREF research program. As a result, a framework was established with the Board of Directors providing strategic guidance and the Research Council providing technical guidance. The goal of this framework was to provide a detailed protocol for proposal submission, review, recommendation and funding. In addition, appropriate mechanisms were established for ongoing project review and assessment of completed projects and the structure and governance of the Research Council were materialized. All primary elements of the proposed structure were reviewed and approved by the Research Council and the EREF Board of Directors in mid-2009.

Current Research Council Members

Current Research Council members are listed below.

  • Morton Barlaz (North Carolina State University) – Chair
  • Craig Benson (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • Garth Bowers (Tetra-Tech)
  • Jennifer Bowyer (Tetra-Tech)
  • Greg Cekander (Waste Management)
  • Eric Chiado (Civil & Environmental Consultants)
  • David Cieply (Interstate Waste Services)
  • Kirk Ellison (EPRI)
  • Marcos Elizondo (GFL Environmental)
  • Jeff Fantell (LaBella Associates)
  • Jim Frey (RRS)
  • Ben Gallagher (EPRI)
  • Bob Gardner (SCS Engineers)
  • Tej Gidda (GHD)
  • Roger Green (Waste Management)
  • Rob Holmes (Tetra-Tech)
  • Rutu Joshi (Watershed Geosynthetics LLC)
  • Alan Kirschner (Brown and Caldwell)
  • Bryan Largent (Interstate Waste Services)
  • Brian Martz (Republic Services)
  • Tony Maxon (Weaver Consultants Group)
  • Steve Menoff (Civil & Environmental Consultants)
  • Jeremy Morris (Geosyntec)
  • Andy Nickodem (Civil & Environmental Consultants)
  • Samuel Nicolai (Casella Waste Systems)
  • George Paturalski (Environmental Solutions Group)
  • Jeffrey Palutis (Casella Waste Systems)
  • David Pepper (GFL Environmental)
  • Debbie Reinhart (University of Central Florida)
  • Mark Santella (WIN Waste Innovations)
  • Allia Saydjari (WIN Waste Innovations)
  • Pieter Scheer (Smith Gardner, Inc.) – Vice Chair
  • Kurt Shaner (Waste Connections)
  • Stacey Smith (Smith Gardner, Inc.)
  • Bryan Staley (EREF)
  • Kevin Torrens (Brown and Caldwell)
  • Nevzat Turan (Weaver Consultants Group)
  • Michael Van Brunt (Covanta)
  • Steven Wilsey (GHD)
  • Jeff Young (Weaver Consultants Group)
  • Ming Zhu (Watershed Geosynthetics LLC)