Iowa- Nebraska Chapter of GRCDA to Nebraska Cornhusker Chapter of SWANA –

Happy 25th Anniversary



Twenty-five years ago, on February 10, 1981, provisional chapter status was granted to the Iowa-Nebraska Chapter of the Governmental Refuse Collection and Disposal Association (GRCDA) in a letter addressed to Mr. Mike Hanrahan, then Director of Sanitation for the City of Omaha.  Full chapter status of our Iowa-Nebraska Chapter was granted later that year at the annual [GRCDA] convention in Salt Lake City on September 3, 1981.  Through the commitment of Hanrahan, Menke, Bonham, Johnston and many other individuals dedicated to professional excellence in solid waste management, a unified and formal professional service organization was formed to serve Iowa and Nebraska.


The Iowa-Nebraska Chapter continued to develop and grow for seven years until 1988 when the chapter officially separated into two duly-installed chapters of GRCDA – the Nebraska Chapter and Iowa Chapter (ISOSWA).  Our Nebraska Chapter charter shows August 25, 1988 as the date of our installation; however, a new Affiliation Agreement with GRCDA was not completed until two years later – it was approved in August 1990 and signed by chapter president at the time, John Dempsey.  Instrumental in the development of our newly single Nebraska Chapter, the officers and directors in 1988 and 1989 included Elwin Larson, John Dempsey, Steve Owen, Steve Houston, Debbie Bonacci, Gene Hanson, Hugh Johnston, and Rita Parris.  Other members helping to chair committees included Jon Kemp, Crystal Lenzen, Gary Brandt, Kathy Kendall, Art Beccard, and Jack Sukovaty.  Eventually GRCDA became the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) and through the efforts of dedicated members we became the Nebraska Cornhusker Chapter.  From our beginnings as an Iowa-Nebraska and then Nebraska GRCDA chapter to a Nebraska SWANA chapter in August 1995 and finally to the Nebraska Cornhusker Chapter of SWANA in July 1999, we have grown to more than 80 members in 2006.    


Did you know in 1981 that annual dues for regular and sustaining member were $25.00?


First Officers and Directors, February 6, 1981

  • Mike Hanrahan, President
  • Hugh Johnston, Vice President
  • Terry Bonham, Secretary
  • Russ Menke, Treasurer
  • Marie Adair, Director
  • Gary Rowe, Director
  • Fred Sebesta, Director
  • Stan Harris, Director (Corporate)

Great Plains Waste Management Conference


Almost 50 years and going strong, each year SWANA representatives from Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota join in Omaha, Nebraska or Council Bluffs, Iowa to discuss current trends in solid waste management.  Typically held in the Spring, speakers from across the country come to impart information, new technologies, experiences, and new or proposed regulations.  Tours of nearby solid waste facilities have been a big hit with conference attendees.  Some of the facilities visited include recycling, composting, HHW, landfills, active landfill gas collection, and LFG-to-energy.

Fall Conference & Annual Business Meeting

Typically held in August or September, the Fall Conference and Annual Business Meeting rotates between cities located within central and western Nebraska. This is another opportunity for continuing education and networking with fellow solid waste industry members. Planned recreational activities are also available after conference hours.

Operator Certification Training


SWANA's Nebraska Cornhusker Chapter and the Nebraska League of Municipalities jointly sponsor and offer several Hazardous Waste Screening Classes across the state.  Our Cornhusker Chapter has also provided Health and Safety Training for Municipal Solid Waste Operators and Training of Sanitary Landfill Operating Personnel Course in conjunction with past conferences.  Continuing Education Units are available for training courses, facility tours, and conferences.

Semi-Annual Newsletter & Chapter Website

SWANA-Nebraska Cornhusker Chapter now publishes a newsletter twice a year – Winter and Summer issues. The newsletter covers upcoming conferences, activities and events, announces awards, and provides legislative information applicable to Nebraska. The newsletter also serves as a forum for members to share experience and needs. As the newsletter develops it can also convey technical information to Nebraska’a solid waste managers, recyclers and operators. This Chapter website is linked directly to International SWANA and gives our members another resource for current industry information.

Landfill Equipment Road-E-O

Talented equipment operators from one end of the state to the other spend a day competing and displaying their skills. Operators are challenged to manipulate large equipment, i.e. front wheel loader, dozer, compactor, and scraper, through operational obstacle courses. Trophies and cash prizes are awarded to the top three performers in each division. The Nebraska Equipment Road-E-O is typically held in late Spring or early Summer. The first and second place winners from each division qualify to compete in SWANA’s Annual International Road-E-O.


The Chapter offers a local scholarship, under the Grant H. Flint International Scholarship Awards Program, for graduating high school seniors or undergraduate students pursuing a degree in environmental science, engineering, or other suitable major related to the field of solid waste management. Applications are due to the Chapter Scholarship Committee by May 1st of each year. The Chapter winners are forwarded to the SWANA International Scholarship Committee for their consideration.

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