Member Highlight – Sam Lobby, Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD)

Sam Lobby, Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD)
What brought you to SWANA?
I have been in the wastewater industry for a few years and about four months ago, accepted a position with the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) in Duluth, Minnesota. While I am still largely involved in wastewater services, my new position has afforded me the opportunity to learn more about the solid waste industry. Several of my co-workers are involved with SWANA and they encouraged me to join.
What do they see as the benefits of the organization?
As someone who is newer to solid waste, I see SWANA as an excellent organization to connect with other industry professionals. In my experience, you learn a lot more going out and engaging with people in the industry, particularly if they are working in a different but cooperative function. For example, as a public servant, I enjoy opportunities to network with engineers, consultants, operators, and all sorts of other folks who are involved with different parts of the same industry. I learn much faster that way and having professional outlets like SWANA helps make it much easier for young professionals like myself.
Any fun or interesting projects that you are currently working on?
Being fairly new to WLSSD and solid waste, I am still gaining my bearings. That said, a very big solid waste project is currently underway for the district – our current landfill is nearing capacity and plans are in the works for future solid waste management once the current landfill closes. Although it’s not my project, I’ve had a chance to learn about the process and other considerations in coming up with a new solid waste plan. It is a fascinating process and a great opportunity to learn from folks I have the pleasure of working with here at WLSSD.
Anything you are looking forward to in the future with SWANA or working in solid waste in general?
The 2018 RAM/SWANA conference in Minneapolis was my first time attending an event for SWANA and it was a great experience. I learned a lot, networked with many other professionals, and got my first glimpse into the interesting and complex world of recycling and solid waste, so I will be looking very forward to attending SWANA conferences in the future. As for future solid waste projects here at WLSSD, I am mostly just excited to be working for a nationally recognized organization with lots of great employees dedicated to serving our communities and protecting Lake Superior. Being at the beginning of my career, I am sure I will have many great opportunities with the organization and all of our dedicated staff.