Tetra Tech’s Solid Waste Solutions Executive Vice President, Michael Michels, was awarded the 2020 Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Management’s Legacy Award for his 40 years of service in the solid waste solutions industry. He was recognized in the June 2020 edition of MSW Management Magazine, a leading trade publication, for significant contributions to advancements in the industry.

Michael began his career as a surveyor and drafter in west Texas, staking and contouring landfills before becoming a licensed professional engineer—and is now licensed in five states. Since then, he has worked on innovative solid waste solutions projects across the United States.

When Tetra Tech asked Michael which projects made the biggest impact on his career, he reflected on some of his work over his 40-year—and counting—career. Michael has managed more than 50 projects that addressed landfill gas (LFG) collection in compliance with New Source Performance Standards air quality rules. While managing one of those projects for the Waste Industry Air Collation to modify the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Pollutant Emissions Factors, his team successfully performed emission estimates, which include the allowance for cap attenuation, reduction in estimates of hydrochloric acid emissions, and reductions in estimates of other hazardous air pollutants in LFG.

One project that particularly stood out in his memory was the time he managed an emergency gas collection system at the Milwaukee County Landfill in Wisconsin in response to a home that exploded 100 feet from the limit of waste. Of course, traveling around the United States for work has its perks. He was fortunate to spend time managing two biogas projects on the islands of Maui and Kauai in Hawaii. Currently, Michael is working on a $3 million dollar design-build project converting wastewater treatment plant digester gas to vehicle fuel.

His extensive history has made Michael a leader in siting and designing landfills and implementing biogas-to-energy beneficial use projects. He now serves Tetra Tech as an expert in the solid waste solutions industry and is working with clients on complex environmental energy projects. Thank you, Michael, for your valuable and ongoing service to Tetra Tech and our clients.