Our Board Members
The Board of Directors for the Recycling Association of Minnesota is filled with some of the finest members of Minnesota’s environmental community. Meet them below!
Paul Gardner: Clean Water Council – Chair
Paul Gardner is the Administrator of the Clean Water Council at the State of Minnesota. From 1997 to 2006 he served as the Executive Director of RAM before serving two terms with Brita Sailer in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Paul worked with a major consumer brand to advocate for extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging in several states, leading industry to invest more than $100 million into recycling infrastructure. In recent years, he set up curbside textile collection in the Chicago and Twin Cities markets before coming to the State in early 2019. Paul is a volunteer Minnesota Water Steward and Water Conservation Adviser through the nonprofit organization Freshwater and his local watershed district.
Pam Hove: City of Hopkins – Vice Chair
Pam has been employed by the City of Hopkins since 2007. For the last five years, she has been the Solid Waste Coordinator. She is responsible for managing all residential waste, recycling, organics, yard waste and brush programs for nearly 3,000 accounts. She is at her best when she can educate residents in managing their discards properly in a way that works for them. Pam is a graduate of the Hennepin County Master Recycler/Composter Program. Pam received her Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from Luther College in Decorah, IA. She is active in Twin Cities Big Brothers Big Sisters and Habitat for Humanity.
Martin Bergstedt: Amazon Environmental, Inc. – Treasurer
Martin Bergstedt obtained a Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Minnesota and joined Economics Laboratory (now Ecolab) at their pilot plant in Eagan performing organic synthesis process development studies and plant start-ups. From there he held positions of progressively increasing scope and responsibility at ETD Technology and DuPont Electronics, and then spent ten years in General Manager positions with Aptus Environmental in Lakeville, and USFilter (Veolia) at their Recovery Services facility in Roseville. He then went to U.S. Water Services as Director of Engineering and Project Management, overseeing the design, specification and installation of water treatment systems for 60 new ethanol plants. Since 2012 he has been with Amazon Environmental in Fridley, the nation’s largest consumer latex paint recycler and is currently President and responsible for four locations across the mid-west and west.
Lori Blais: Western Lake Superior Sanitary District – Secretary
Lori Blais has been employed by the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) in Duluth, MN since 1994. She has worked in the Household Hazardous Waste department and operated the Clean Shop program for Very Small Quantity Generators of hazardous waste, providing services in the 7-county northeast region of MN. Lori is currently a member of the Environmental Programs Team, which is responsible for environmental education, community relations and related activities covering waste reduction, resource recovery, recycling, composting, hazardous waste, pollution prevention, wastewater treatment and biosolids land application within the WLSSD service area.
Jodi Taitt: EcoConsilium, Inc. – Member at Large
Jodi Taitt is a mission-driven economist. With over 30 years of industry experience and a passion for diverting waste from landfills and incinerators, she has no greater joy than to help organizations save money, achieve their sustainability goals and reduce their environmental footprint. As founder and principal consultant of EcoConsilium, she partners with business and government to lean their operations, decrease fixed costs, increase profits and comply with ever-increasing regulations using cutting edge waste prevention, reuse, recycling and organic waste recovery strategies. Prior to consulting, she was the State of Minnesota Recycling Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Administration’s Resource Recovery Office. Jodi currently serves as a founding board member and secretary of the Meadow Lake Watershed Association.
Robert Craggs: Burns & McDonnell
Robert leads the Solid Waste and Resource Recovery consulting group and is a National Market Sector Leader for Burns & McDonnell’s Environmental Services Global Practice. He has worked in the environmental consulting field for more than 28 years providing planning, financial, and technical consulting assistance to public and private clients throughout North America in the areas of solid waste, recycling, water resources, and renewable energy.
Robert has a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning and a Juris Doctorate of Law. He is presently SWANA’s International Board Director for the Planning and Management Technical Division. He resides in Lakeland, Minnesota where he previously served as both mayor and a City Council member.
John Curry: University of Minnesota
John Curry is a Development Officer at the University of Minnesota’s College of Biological Sciences. He helped the College raise $27 million for scholarships, research and strategic initiatives in it’s recently completed ‘Driven’ Campaign. Prior to that, John worked for environmental and wildlife focused non-profit organizations including the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the National Audubon society. In addition, he spent over a decade working for the Minnesota House of Representatives, primarily for the committee overseeing the Judiciary and the Department of Corrections.
John has been active on a number of boards and community organizations. He is a Master Naturalist who loves the outdoors, especially hiking, biking, boating and xc skiing.
Zach Fjestad: Otter Tail County
Zach is the Assistant Solid Waste Director for Otter Tail, Wadena, and Todd counties and is the Assistant Director for the Prairie Lakes Municipal Solid Waste Authority all located in west-central Minnesota. Prior to that, Zach was the Public Information and Education Officer for Otter Tail County where he promoted and educated the public on solid waste, recycling, and household hazardous waste topics. Zach has nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, and environmental science. Zach is also a member of SWAA (Solid Waste Administrators Association), SWANA (Solid Waste Association of North America), and MRRA (Minnesota Resource Recovery Association), and serves as a board member on the Perham Boys & Girls Club Re-Use-It Store board.
Stephen Haugh: Central State Wire Products
Stephen is the Director of Sales & Marketing of Central States Wire Products. He has been in the recycling industry for over 18 years serving first as a Sourcing Manager with the Peltz Group out of Milwaukee, then the Director of Sourcing for Recycle American Alliance throughout the West and Midwest and now with CSWP in the Twin Cities. He is passionate about recycling and continues to work with the public and private sectors to stress the importance and benefits of recycling. He is also a standing member of the North and South Dakota Recycling Associations and a member of the Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin (AROW).
Susan Heffron: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Susan Heffron is a 30-year veteran of the MPCA. She currently works in Recycling Market Development. Susan helps to create and maintain the demand for recyclable material by working with a number of different stakeholders – businesses, haulers, processors, end markets, universities and local governments. She connects people with resources to overcome barriers to using recycled material. Susan also administers the newly started recycling markets development grant program with funding from the legislature. Susan received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Minnesota. Her first professional job was for the MPCA and she never left! She has worked in Solid Waste, Air Quality, and Environmental Review. Susan is also a 23-year volunteer at the Minnesota Zoo and a hockey mom.
Matt Herman: Randy’s Environmental Services, A Republic Services Company
Matt has worked in the solid waste industry for almost 20 years as a policy maker, regulator, compliance professional, waste processing facility manager, hauling business manager and now works as the Municipal Sales Manager for Randy’s/Republic in Delano, Minnesota. In this role Matt helps over 30 Twin Cities municipalities meet their waste, recycling and composting needs. Matt received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from Bemidji State University with a double major in Political Science.
Bill Keegan: Dem-Con Companies
Bill Keegan is a registered professional engineer and president of Dem-Con Companies, a third-generation family-owned solid waste management and processing company. Bill is actively involved in the management of the Dem-Con facilities and operations which include a C&D Material Recovery Facility (MRF), Single Stream MRF, Shingle and metals Processing, and C&D and Industrial Waste disposal facilities and roll-off dumpster services throughout Minnesota. He has been in the solid waste industry for over 24 years and is active in several solid waste organizations including a current position as the chair of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA), board member of the Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM), Board Member for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Vice Chair of the Minnesota Waste Wise Board; SWANA MOLO Instructor, and an instructor for the Minnesota Landfill Operator Training program.
Tim Oswald: Tri-County North
Bio and photo coming soon!
Michael Reed: Ramsey County Environmental Health Division
Michael Reed has over 28 years of combined public and private sector experience in environmental management, recycling, composting, landfill operations, permit review, project management, public involvement, policy development, deconstruction and building material salvage and legislative advocacy. He currently supervises the Ramsey County Solid & Hazardous Waste Compliance Program. He has served as RAM Chair for the past 4 years and served as Vice Chair for the preceding 3 years.
Steve Schiefelbein: Republic Services
Steve Schiefelbein is Republic Services’ Recycling Sales Representative for their Upper Midwest Region. He is responsible for acquiring and then the marketing of 3rd Party recycling volume. He has held this position with Republic Services’ for the past 5 years and has been in the Recycling Industry for 8 years. He has successfully spearheaded numerous recycling initiatives which have diverted a significant amount of volume from either being landfilled or illegally burned; one of the most notable projects being the recycling of Boat Wrap. Over 200,000 lbs. of boat wrap was recycled in 2018 alone. He also spends a great deal of time working with and educating the Public and Private Sector on “Best Recycling Practices.” Steve received his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN. He is active in youth coaching and was a Board Member of the Valley Athletic Association.
Elizabeth Walsh: Minnesota Waste Wise
Elizabeth is a Sustainability Specialist at the Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation. She works with businesses and multi-unit properties in Minnesota to improve their recycling programs. She provides technical assistance, recommendations, trainings, and grant assistance to facilitate waste reduction. Prior to working with Waste Wise, Elizabeth worked with St. Paul Parks and Recreation, serving the public of St. Paul by developing and implementing environmentally focused community programs. Elizabeth has a BS in Environmental Science from Creighton University.