David Biderman has departed from his role as executive director and CEO of the Solid Waste Association of North America, a group he led for nearly eight years, effective Monday.
The Maryland-based nonprofit represents more than 10,000 public and private sector waste and recycling professionals, with 47 chapters in the U.S., Canada and the Carribbean. The group announced the news in a Tuesday email to members, citing a shifting focus as part of its long-term planning efforts.
“At a juncture like this, in many organizations, change is inevitable,” read a message signed by the group’s board of directors. “With an evolving industry and changing vision, SWANA and David agree that it is an opportune time for new leadership to guide us toward achieving the goals in our new strategic plan and for him to pursue other opportunities. We wish David all the best in the future.”
According to its latest strategic plan, finalized in June 2022, SWANA is focused on four key objectives in the 2023-2027 period. Those goals include getting waste collection off the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the U.S.; becoming “climate champions;” “reframing the perception of the industry as employers of choice including engaging young professionals and improving industry conditions through diversity, equity, and inclusion;” and continuing to strengthen the group’s “infrastructure and financial viability.”
SWANA was not available for comment.
The news caught multiple observers by surprise, as Biderman was involved in industry events and discussions throughout last week.
Biderman joined SWANA as CEO and executive director in April 2015. He previously worked at the National Waste & Recycling Association for 18 years, most recently as general counsel and vice president of government affairs and chapter operations.
“I am very proud of my successful tenure at SWANA over the past 8 years, leading the association’s 34% membership growth, spearheading the rapid expansion of its safety program, and positioning SWANA as a leader on a wide range of federal policy issues in Washington D.C.,” said Biderman in a statement, adding that he thanked SWANA’s members and staff for their “terrific” work as well as the “incredibly rewarding” opportunity.
“I look forward to continuing to work in this great industry, focusing on safety, advocacy, and sustainability issues, and helping local governmental agencies and solid waste companies achieve their operational goals,” said Biderman, who plans to attend WasteExpo in May
According to SWANA’s email, the group has started its search for an interim executive director/CEO and will also begin a longer-term search for a permanent hire. “We hope to have our new ED/CEO selected prior to WASTECON in September, but we are not rushing the process,” said the email.
This story has been updated to reflect the status of SWANA’s reply and to include additional comments from Biderman.