Virtual Event – December 1, 2021

SWANA Pacific Chapter is pleased to once again host SWANA Day, to be held virtually, on December 1, 2021.

This annual event creates a virtual collaborative environment where a diverse array of waste professionals can gather, learn and network.

SWANA Day 2020 was a successful online event with representation from all stakeholders in the solid waste industry with more professionals able to attend the presentations due to the online format. Help SWANA close out 2021 with crucial waste-related content and virtual networking opportunities provided by SWANA Days!

SWANA Day Agenda

08:30 – 8:50 AM – Registration

8:50 – 8:55 AM – Networking

9:00 – 9:05 AM – Welcome and Opening Remarks

9:05 – 10:35 AM – Session 1: Looking at Organics – The Big Picture

Moderator: Heidi Gerlach, Dillon Consulting

10:35 – 10:45 – Stretch Break

10:45 – 11:30 AM – Session 2: EPR Near and Far

Moderator: Mark Kurschner, Product Care Recycling

11:30 – 11:55 AM – Session 3: Moving Forward

Moderator: Scott Hoekstra, City of Kelowna

11:55 AM – 12:00 PM – Closing Remarks

12:00 PM – 12:05 pm – Stretch Break

12:05 PM – 12:45 PM – SWANA Pacific – BC & Yukon AGM

Big Thanks to our Sponsors

Presenter Bios

Session 1 – Looking at Organics – the Big Picture!

Vivian De Giovanni, City of Guelph

Vivian De Giovanni is the Circular Economy Specialist in Solid Waste at the City of Guelph.  She is working with the Our Food Future office, under the Smart Cities initiative to reimagine the value of food loss & waste.  Vivian has worked in the waste management field for over 30 years in both the municipal and non-profit sectors, with experience in both program and policy development.


Betsy Varghese, Dillon Consulting

Betsy Varghese is an Associate and the Technical Strategist for Dillon’s national waste management group which consists of over two dozen solid waste practitioners. She has contributed to a range of waste management planning, permits and EA approval assignments for public and private sector clients across Canada. Many of her projects have incorporated extensive public and stakeholder consultation including the use of community-based social marketing tactics. Her love of garbage began at the age of 10 when she was asked to attend the opening of the City of Kingston’s recycling facility on behalf of her school and write an article about recycling for the school newspaper. Those first impressions changed her and now she is a self declared Garbage Enthusiast.


Carla Pellegrini, Food Stash Foundation

Carla Pellegrini is the Executive Director of Food Stash Foundation in Vancouver, BC and has over ten years of experience in non-profit and for-profit community development, social finance and operations management. Before moving to Canada 6 years ago, she worked abroad in Kenya, Zambia and Nicaragua. She holds an MPA from Columbia University and a BA from Boston College. When she’s not working, she volunteers with her two rescue dogs through a pet therapy organization called BC Pets and Friends. Her presentation will highlight the challenges with food waste and food insecurity in Canada and what Food Stash is doing to get food out of the landfill and to those who need it most.


Wilbert Yang, Tetra Tech

Wilbert Yang is an environmental engineer with 30 years of experience in the environmental and waste management field.  His experience can be summarized in the following manner:

  • As a regulator, he assessed waste discharges and developed regulations and guidelines for the waste management industry.
  • As a municipal planning engineer, he developed waste diversion programs and worked with cities to implement and improve those programs.
  • As a consultant, he works with cities across North America developing solid waste master plans, implementing organic waste management programs and benchmarking solid waste management systems.

Wilbert loves solid waste planning because it influences the way we live – hopefully for the better. He also recognizes that in the world of solid waste management “one size does not fit all” and the best system is one that suit the community’s values and ultimately something that its members would use”.


Aaron Joe, Salish Soils

Aaron Joe is an entrepreneur and a proud member of the Sechelt Nation and the broader business community on the Sunshine Coast. As a committed steward of our environment, Aaron has developed a broad-based business, Salish Environmental, that started with a vision that has transformed his pre-2010 business model from one of “Resource Extraction” to “Resource Recovery. The three main business segments include a Gore Cover Composting facility, a trucking and transportation fleet, and the Sechelt Recycling Center. Today Aaron is the CEO and majority shareholder of Salish Soils. He collaborated with the local governments to transition waste collection programs from the “Tip and Dump” mentality of the 20th Century to a Resource Recovery model for Organics and Recyclables for the 21st Century.


Wes Muir, Veolia North America

Wes Muir is a Business Development Manager with Veolia North America, a global environmental services provider in the waste, water and energy sectors. For the past 20 year, he has held senior positions with leading private waste services companies throughout North America with extensive experience in the collection, transfer, recycling, disposal and marketing of waste services including organics.  Growing up in Kitimat, Wes became an avid fisherman who enjoys fresh and saltwater fishing.


Session 2 – EPR Near and Far

Calvin Jameson, IZWTAG

Calvin Jameson is from Lil’wat Nation (Mount Currie) but originally hails from the Vernon, BC area. He is the President of the Indigenous Zero Waste Technical Advisory Group (IZWTAG) and the first Indigenous Zero Waste Operations trainer.

When he’s not in the office or in the field, he and his wife Jaclyn are parents to 3 boys and 3 foster daughters. He’s a part time coach to 2 of his boys’ ice hockey teams in Whistler (WMHA).  His goal is to use his skills, knowledge and experience to improve the water and solid waste systems for all nations.


Cynthia Coates, Regional District of Central Okanagan

Cynthia Coates has been a Waste Reduction Facilitator for the Regional District of Central Okanagan for the past 10 years.  A job at a compost demonstration garden while in college sparked her passion for all things waste reduction and led her to Alberta working as a Waste Coordinator for the City of Airdrie and then Environmental Services Manager at the City of Lethbridge.  Her and her husband have two teenage boys who love to camp and travel when they can, otherwise Cynthia spends her time in a variety of creative outlets such as painting, sculpting, bird photography and cake decorating to name a few.

Taaj Daliran, City of Nanaimo

Taaj Daliran has over twenty-five years’ experience in Construction, Energy, and Utility in the private sector, working in the Middle East and Europe, and Toronto and Halifax in Canada. His experience is Managing Solid Waste Management Programs since 2015 in the city of Victoria and Nanaimo.


Session 3 – Moving Forward – Updates from the Ministry of Environment

Gwendolyn Lohbrunner, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy

Gwendolyn Lohbrunner first worked for the Ministry in 1995 and has since rejoined in 2014. She has over 25 years of experience in environmental protection. Her current position is Director of the Clean Communities section at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, where she leads a team of specialists developing policy for circular economy, solid waste and landfill management, plastics, and organic waste. Current projects include the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan, organics infrastructure funding programs, and economic stimulus funding programs for recycled plastics and marine debris clean-up. In her spare time, Gwendolyn is kept busy raising her three sons and enjoying the outdoors.


Maureen O’Connell, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy

Maureen O’Connell is an Environmental Management Officer and professional engineer at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. She came to B.C. from Ontario by catching a ride on an empty coach sent to work at the Vancouver Olympics (driven by her husband), and landed a consulting job in Burnaby and never returned. She later discovered the beauty of Victoria and joined the Ministry in 2017. Her work focuses primarily on organic waste management.