2007 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
John G. Waffenschmidt
Vice president, business development, Covanta Energy Corporation
John G. Waffenschmidt is a man on a mission. As vice president of business development at Covanta Energy Corporation -- the largest waste-to-energy facility owner-operator in the U.S. -- he knows a thing or two about the environment. And now thanks to a number of his initiatives, young Long Islanders are learning about the preservation of our unique local environment and the impact of our actions on the future of our planet.
A firm believer that “children are our future,” Waffenschmidt has partnered with various education centers to develop an innovative, waste-to-energy curriculum for use in the classroom. In addition, he regularly invites students to the Covanta recycling facility in Hempstead for instructional tours on the benefits of waste-to-energy recycling.
At Covanta, he takes the lead in sponsoring an annual poster contest open to all grade schools in the Town of Hempstead as a way to encourage students to think about recycling. And recently, he partnered with the Center for Science Teaching and Learning in Rockville Centre to develop the Covanta Teacher’s Challenge, the first competition of its kind relating to energy for K-12 teachers. The competition recognizes teachers for their contribution to environmental excellence and helps to create the “science literate workforce” needed for tomorrow.
Raised in Queens, N.Y., Waffenschmidt attended Public School 151 from kindergarten through fourth-grade; then transferred to Trinity Lutheran School and upon graduation to Bryant High School. By the time he reached college, love for the environment was in his blood resulting in a bachelor’s degree in Social Ecology from the State University of New York at New Paltz and, later, a master’s degree in Environmental Biology from Queens College.
When away from the office, Waffenschmidt continues his environmental activities serving as chairman of the Solid Waste Subcommittee of the Long Island Association, and as a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Ecological Society of America, and York Academy of Sciences.
The author of numerous reports and “impact analyses” -- relating to emissions from resource recovery facilities, dewatering of dredged material, solid waste planning and transportation systems -- Waffenschmidt routinely provides testimony, commentary and technical presentation to organizations concerned about solid waste management and disposal. With his love for the environment, it is no surprise, then, that he is a self-described outdoorsman, who enjoys mountaineering, cycling and skiing.