Denali Water Solutions recently announced the promotion of Todd Mathes to CEO, effective immediately, as previous CEO Andy McNeill transitions to chairman of the board.
Mathes was hired as president and chief operations officer in 2021 after holding executives roles at other companies involved in organics recycling and waste management, such as Darling Ingredients and Terra Renewal Services.
Arkansas-based Denali was acquired by private equity firm TPG Growth in 2020. In the years since, Denali has made 13 acquisitions — including deals such as Organix Recycling and Imperial Western Products.
“It’s an honor to become CEO at such an exciting time in Denali’s growth journey, and I look forward to working closely with the leadership team, board, and our partners at TPG to execute on the company’s mission,” said Mathes in a statement. “I also want to recognize Andy, who founded Denali and has led the company’s evolution to become a national player.”
In his own statement, McNeill said he was “incredibly proud of all that Denali has accomplished over the past decade” and said it was “the right time for me to transition to the chairman role, in which I will continue to focus on our long-term strategy and acquisition roadmap.”
Denali’s current incarnation was formed by McNeill in 2014, though traces its roots back to the 1990s through various assets. The company is among the largest operators of composting assets in the U.S. through its WeCare division, which was acquired in 2016. It also provides beneficial use options for organic waste streams such as biosolids from wastewater treatment plants and byproducts from food processing facilities, among other clients, to create a range of products including biodiesel, animal feed and fertilizer.
During the recent Corporate Growth Conference in Chicago, McNeill estimated that Denali was working with around 25% of the nation’s grocery stores to handle organic waste. He said demand for these services is only growing as major companies look to make progress on their ESG goals.
"Our client base — which is big box retailers, food processors, restaurants and the like — they all have corporate edicts about avoiding landfills,” he said at the November event. He cited a recent example of Denali taking unsold lawn and garden products from 1,000 retail locations as a sign of ongoing volume growth for his company.
At the same time, McNeill said, Denali is focused on finding ways to make these services competitive with landfill tip fees. "It's incumbent on us to continue to drive down the cost of what we do in order to earn the right to do it the next day.”