Jim started his career in waste management in 1980 when he got tired of being away from home for months on end to work on municipal construction projects. He applied for a job with Alberta Environment with no idea what he was getting into. As it turned out, waste management became Jim’s life-long passion. He was fortunate to be involved at the beginning of Alberta’s move to regional waste management systems and travelled to all corners of Alberta and probably visited 90% of the 600 or so old dump sites that used to dot the Alberta Landscape. In the 1980s, the focus in Alberta was to close the old dump sites and replace them with engineered facilities. In his early years, Jim got out and hand-bombed garbage on collection routes, rode along in transfer trucks, jumped on landfill equipment and gave it a good try. He jumped off the government gravy train in the later part of the 1990s and went into the consulting world until 2001, when he moved on to the City of Edmonton. There he worked at the Edmonton Compost Facility for 15 years and spent his last 2 years at the City working on environmental issues at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre. Jim retired from the City in June of this year. His retirement lasted for 5 days. He is now working in the consulting field again for TetraTech.
Over the 38 years that Jim has worked in this industry, he has seen waste management change from litter trails and smoke plumes that led him to the old dump sites to facilities that are continually more sophisticated in design and operation. In his early years, recycling and composting in Alberta was not much more that words in a dictionary and something we talked about once in a while. That is a far cry from what we have now with a different attitude of Albertans, including local municipal leaders and entrepreneurs with a focus on waste diversion instead of just landfills. Even so, when we look at the Canadian statistics, Alberta still has a lot of catching up to do.