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2023 Speaker Bios

Charlotte Pitt, Director of Grant Development 

Recycling Partnership

Charlotte has been working to grow and improve public recycling for almost three decades with experience at both the state and municipal level. She spent the past two decades with the City and County of Denver leading their residential waste services with constant efforts to improve waste diversion programs and policies.  She is credited with standardizing automated residential collection services citywide, rolling out single stream recycling, developing robust organics diversion services, and advocating for pay as you throw policy. In her role at The Recycling Partnership, Charlotte is working closely with communities to develop and fund projects that helps them improve their recycling systems. You’ll find Charlotte with her family in Colorado where she likes being outside on a trail, on her bike or in the garden.

Fran Trautmann

Glass Half Full, CEO

Fran was born and raised in Carencro, Louisiana, where she witnessed Louisiana's coastal erosion crisis and lack of recycling options. While a senior at Tulane University, she co-founded Glass Half Full alongside Max Steitz to tackle these two issues. Glass Half Full's mission is to recycle glass into sand for coastal restoration, construction, disaster relief, and more. After graduating with honors in Chemical Engineering in 2020, she continued to pursue Glass Half Full full-time. She now serves as the CEO, forging new partnerships, expanding operations, and leading coastal restoration efforts.

Richard T. Kelsey, Chief

Alabama Department of Environmental Management

Materials Management Section, Solid Waste Branch

Rick Kelsey graduated from Troy State University with a BS in Environmental Science and is currently the Manager of the Materials Management Section for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. Rick has 28 years of experience with ADEM where he served in various capacities, including with the Hazardous Waste Program (Compliance and Enforcement), NPDES Program (Permitting, Compliance, and Enforcement), the Air Program (Permitting, Compliance, Enforcement, and Supervisory), and for the past four years assumed responsibility for the Recycling Compliance and Grants Programs, Scrap Tire Compliance and Marketing Grants Programs, and the Beneficial Use Program.

Leigh Shaffer

Birmingham Recycling and Recovery

Leigh has worked as the sales manager at Birmingham Recycling and Recovery since November 2015.  She is also currently serving as the vice president on the Alabama Recycling Coalition's executive board.  Leigh worked previously for Auburn University as the recycling coordinator for the Waste Reduction and Recycling Department.  Auburn is also her alma mater where she earned a bachelor's degree before leaving the south after college to explore living and working in national parks in California and Hawaii.  From there she spent seven years in Seattle as an office manager, yoga instructor, pet sitter and nature lover.  After taking a year off to travel the US and Ireland, Leigh returned to Alabama in 2008 and is happy to be warm again and nearer to family in her hometown, Mobile.

Barbara Alfano

Environmental Protection Agency Region 4

PCB & Sustainability Section Manager ,Land, Chemicals and Redevelopment Division

Barbara Alfano joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 in 1988, after working as a national wetland specialist in St. Petersburg, Florida. Most of her EPA experience includes site assessment and cleanup under the Superfund and Brownfields programs . For five years, she served as the EPA Brownfields Coordinator for the southeast. She currently manages a mix of regulatory, voluntary and grant programs in the PCB & Sustainability Section. Her background includes growing up in Pennsylvania and graduating from the University of South Florida in Tampa. Barbara feels privileged to collaborate with diverse communities in the southeast to protect human health and the environment. 

Terri Graham

Baldwin County, Solid Waste Director
Terri is currently the Director of The Solid Waste Disposal Authority of Baldwin County,
Alabama. Previously, Terri served as the Development Environmental Director for the
Solid Waste Department of the Baldwin County Commission since 2013. She has been
employed with the Department since 2007. Terri led all aspects of the Solid Waste
Department, including the new innovative Material Recovery Facility that will be
opening in 2024. She serves on many different boards, including SWANA (Solid Waste
Association of North America). Terri received her BSBA in Finance from Auburn
University. She is the wife of John Graham, and the mom to three beautiful daughters:
Taylor, Maddie and Jordyn.

April Carlock 

Greif, Inc, 

Career began with Greif (legacy Caraustar) in Dalton, GA in 1999. I have worked in various positions including shipping/receiving, office manager, sales, Regional Sales Manager and currently buyer for the PCA Jackson, AL mill. Over the last 24 years I have been a board member for the Tennessee Recycling Coalition, sat on the Ex-com Board with the South East Recycling Development Council. (SERDC) and a member of Women in Manufacturing I have been married for 25 years and have two children, son 24 and daughter 20. We live on a 90 acre family farm and when I am not recycling we raise chickens commercially for Koch’s food. We enjoy camping and being outdoors.

Lauren Grace Johnson

Alabama Department of Environmental Management

Lauren Grace Johnson is an Environmental Scientist in the Materials Management Section at the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM). Lauren Grace attended Huntingdon College and graduated with a BS in Biochemistry. She has worked as a project manager in the State's Brownfield Redevelopment Program and Voluntary Cleanup Program. She has recently transitioned from the Scrap Tire Compliance Program to Recycling Compliance and Grants Program.

Phil Davis

LaBella Associates

Phillip Davis is a Senior Engineer and Director of Regulatory Affairs for LaBella
Associates. Phil became a part of the LaBella team when it acquired Highland
Technical Services Inc. in October 2020. Phil joined HTSI in September 2017 following
his retirement from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
During his ADEM career of nearly 30 years, Phil served in various roles, including with
the Water Division, the Air Division, in the Solid and Hazardous Wastes programs and
for the final five years of his ADEM career, as the Chief of the Land Division. As Division
Chief, Phil oversaw an operating budget of nearly $30 million and was responsible for
more than 140 employees who implemented Alabama’s regulations governing all
aspects of waste management and remediation, including solid and hazardous wastes,
underground storage tanks, and brownfields/voluntary cleanup program site
redevelopment. During his ADEM career, Phil authored numerous regulations and
drafted the 2008 and 2011 amendments to the State’s Solid Wastes and Recyclable
Materials Management Act. In 2016, Phil was appointed to the Governor’s Solid Waste
Management Task Force and participated in the development of new, statutory landfill
siting requirements which were signed into law in 2017.
Phil graduated from Auburn University in 1988 with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering. He
is a registered Professional Engineer in Alabama and a Certified Public Manager. Phil is
active in a number of professional organizations including the North Alabama
Environmental Professionals’ Association, the Alabama Chapter of the Solid Waste
Association of North America and the Manufacture Alabama Environmental Committee.
Phil is a past Chairman of both the Southern Section, and the Alabama Chapter, of the
Air & Waste Management Association.
A native of Kingsport, Tennessee, Phil has been a resident of Prattville, Alabama, for
nearly 30 years, where he actively serves in his Church. Phil and his wife Nichole have
four children.

Dr. Shenghua Wu

University of South Alabama
Dr. Shenghua Wu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil, Coastal, and
Environmental Engineering at the University of South Alabama. He is also a registered
professional engineer in Alabama and LEED AP. He is the director for the Solid Waste
Sustainability Hub, Sustainable Asphalt Materials Lab, and the Gulf Coast Center for Addressing
Microplastics Pollution (GC-CAMP). Previously, he worked as a Senior Sustainability Research
Engineer at the Illinois Center for Transportation. His research interests include recycling and
sustainability, materials characterization, and utilization of a multidisciplinary approach to
address emerging environmental issues. He has secured funding of over 3.6 million from various
agencies, including EPA, NOAA, DOT, and industries. He has published 58 peer-reviewed
journal articles and 11 technical reports, and has delivered numerous tal
ks at international
conferences and forums. At the South, Dr. Wu teaches a mixture of undergraduate and graduate
engineering courses, and serves as a founding faculty advisor for the Society of Sustainable
Engineering. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), holds
memberships in the Transportation Research Board (TRB) AJE35 and AKM 90 committees, and
is affiliated with the Academy of Pavement Science and Engineering (APSE). Additionally, he
serves as an editorial board member for several journals. He has served panel member for several
NCHRP and ACRP projects.

Stephanie Baker
KW Plastics Recycling Division Troy, AL |

As the Director of Market Development for KW Plastics Recycling Division, Stephanie speaks to the economic advantages and opportunities for plastics recycling. A hometown girl from KW Plastics’ headquarter operations in Troy, Alabama, Stephanie represents the world’s largest plastics recycler of HDPE and PP in projects surrounding sustainability, packaging design and increasing quality supply throughout North America. Stephanie’s experience includes establishing closed loop recycling programs, beyond bottle expansion initiatives, policy, communications, economic development, strategic planning and community affairs. Professionally, Stephanie is a member ISRI, serves on APR’s Communications and Public Affairs Committee. Stephanie was named a “Woman Breaking the Mold” by Plastics News and was selected in 2020 as user advocate for U.S. Census Bureau’s The Opportunity Project (TOP). Previously, she served as Chairman of the Southeast Recycling Development Council (SERDC) Board of Directors and SERDC 120: a voluntary initiative to explore public-private partnerships and strategic investments to boost recovery in the Southeast, which resulted in The Recycling Partnership. She is a member of the Alabama Leadership Initiative Class II and was named a “Mover and Shaper” by Business Alabama magazine. Stephanie is serving in her second term on the Troy City Council and was recently elected President Pro Tempore.

Don Bates

Osprey Initiative

Don Bates is the owner/founder of Osprey Initiative, LLC and the inventor of the Litter Gitter. A graduate of Millsaps College (B.S. Geology 1992), he has over 25 years of experience in the environmental consulting business. Prior to starting Osprey Initiative, LLC, he was an Executive Vice President for a Southeast Regional Civil Engineering firm where he managed operations for 250 people in 12 offices in 7 states.  

Born in Hammond, Louisiana, he grew up in the swamps around Manchac, Louisiana and still gets back to the Galva Club fish camp whenever he can. He has spent most of his life in and around waterways and has a passion for maintaining and improving our natural resources.  Married with 4 children, he feels that the best legacy he can leave to future generations is access to wild places un-marred by human impacts.  When not removing litter from our waterways, he can usually be found working on an old boat.

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