Executive Director

Agency Humboldt Waste Management Authority



SALARY RANGE $114,500 - $139,212

Humboldt Waste Management Authority (HWMA) is excited to announce this unique opportunity for their next Executive Director.  HWMA is looking for a leader who is enthusiastic about meeting challenges and can work independently, yet efficiently, with minimal direction to replace their outgoing Executive Director who is retiring after an 8-year tenure.  If you are a dynamic, entrepreneurial leader who enjoys being hands-on, this is great opportunity for you.


Humboldt County is nestled along the coast in northern California’s coastal redwood region, approximately 275 miles north of San Francisco. With a population of about 135,500 residents spread throughout seven cities and multiple small unincorporated communities, one can find their perfect home in town or a rural setting, with ocean views or amongst the redwoods. Humboldt County offers a welcoming and peaceful environment with reasonably priced housing, renowned pre-kindergarten through 12th grade schools,  College of the Redwoods junior college, Humboldt State University, vibrant cultural arts and entertainment, and engaging outdoor activities that all combine to make for a wonderful place to live and work.

Rich in natural beauty, biologic diversity and history, the Redwood Coast offers breathtaking views, hiking, biking, fishing, paddling, and many year-round outdoor adventurer opportunities. Over 4,000 square miles large, the County has over two million acres that include hundreds of streams and lakes and local, County, state, national parks, forests, beaches, and campgrounds.

Eureka, the County seat and site of the HWMA office, overlooks historic Humboldt Bay, California’s second largest bay, home to the largest oyster production operations on the West Coast and several commercial and recreational marinas.


Established in 1999, the HWMA is a joint powers authority formed to provide cost effective waste management services for its member agencies, comprised of the cities of Arcata, Blue Lake, Eureka, Ferndale, Rio Dell, and the County of Humboldt. HWMA is governed by a six (6) member Board of Directors composed of elected officials appointed annually by each of the member agencies. As stated in its Strategic Plan, the HWMA mission is:   

“…to implement a sustainable, regional materials management system in order to protect and preserve the social, environmental and economical health of our community by supporting, developing and/or promoting policies, programs and facilities that cost effectively, eliminate solid waste generation, reduce disposal and increase diversion to achieve a state-reported diversion rate of 75 percent and a 14,800 ton reduction in landfilled materials by 2020.”

HWMA operates a large volume municipal solid waste (MSW) transfer station that receives approximately 75,000 tons annually (170 tons per day) of solid waste. It also operates a recycling center that receives about 4,000 tons annually of e-waste, used appliances and other recyclable materials; a regional household hazardous waste collection facility that receives approximately 259 tons of household hazardous waste annually; and numerous other material diversion services such as green waste, carpet, mattress recycling, and tire programs. HWMA owns and oversees post-closure maintenance and monitoring obligations for a closed MSW landfill with approximately 400-acres of surrounding productive forest lands. The complete fulfillment of HWMA programs and services requires overseeing numerous agreements, including the following:

  • A 10-year contract for long-distance transportation and solid waste disposal at an out-of-state landfill.
  • A 10-year contract for regional processing of curbside collected recyclable materials.
  • Multi-year contracts with satellite facilities to load MSW for transportation to the Authority’s designated landfill.
  • A Non-Industrial Timberland Management Plan (NTMP) for the timber production from forest properties.
  • On-going contracts with several member agencies to provide reports to the State required by the California Integrated Waste Management Act (AB 939) reports.

HWMA currently employs 36.5 staff, including the Executive Director.  The Fiscal Year 2020-21 Budget is $14.4 million, with $2 million held in designated and undesignated reserves.


Under the general policy direction of the HWMA Board, the Executive Director plans, organizes, coordinates, and directs the programs and activities of HWMA. Some of these varied programs and activities include annual budget development, long-range planning, personnel functions, facility operations, landfill management, contract negotiations and management, risk management including environmental health and safety, environmental compliance, member agency support on waste and recycling issues, capital project management, and representation of HWMA in meetings with public officials, staff from other public agencies, civic groups, media and various contractors.

The next Executive Director must possess the political and business acumen to manage and direct a large, multi-faceted operation serving multiple jurisdictional entities. They can expect to work closely with the community, contractors, franchise haulers, Board of Directors, and staff on various issues and projects. Current key tasks include:

  • Building upon regionalization efforts and regional-based activities and projects with ongoing participation and support of Member Agencies, and non-member agencies, to implement goals identified in the “2013-2023 Strategic Plan”.
  • Assisting Member Agencies in meeting State mandates associated with SB 1383 (Short-Lived Climate Pollutants) and AB 1826 (Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling).
  • Assisting the Solid Waste Local Task Force
  • Developing Facilities Planning and Improvements necessary to meet the increased demand for diversion services, climate change, and regulatory compliance.
  • Coordinating an educational campaign to improve the quality of residential curbside recyclables collection and reduction of contaminants.
  • Developing a forest properties management plan.
  • Providing presentations and information to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, City Councils and other interested organizations.


Minimum qualifications include the following:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, Engineering, Environmental Science, or a combination of education and 5 years experience in these or a related field.
  • Management experience in a public agency, including experience working with public policy and program development.
  • A minimum of 5 years of successful experience in progressively responsible supervisorial, administrative or managerial positions in the public sector, preferably in a comparable sized organization.
  • Knowledge of California solid waste, environmental, and safety laws and regulations, and experience in maintaining excellent relations with regulators.
  • Fiscal management experience and demonstrated success in developing and managing budgets.
  • Experience in evaluating staffing and operations relative to the agency’s organizational structure in order to promote a highly responsive, reliable, productive, high morale staff and workforce.
  • Demonstrated ability and experience in assisting a governing Board of Directors with planning and ongoing efforts to be as effective and efficient as possible in the exercise of their policy development and oversight responsibilities.


The successful candidate should have strong organizational skills, provide steady and strategic leadership, be a creative thinker, and an advocate for awareness of and commitment to materials management, diversion, and education. In addition, the ideal candidate will have demonstrated experience in the following:

  • Interacting with stakeholders comfortably and professionally in a fair, straightforward, and responsive manner. 
  • Maintaining transparent communications with a board of directors to avoid surprises and assist individual board members in navigating potentially controversial issues or decisions.
  • Providing prompt, thorough, and responsive implementation and follow-through on board-level policy decisions and direction.
  • Leading and motivating by personal example to encourage high standards of performance, productivity, and ethical conduct from all staff.
  • Forming a strategic “big picture” perspective while retaining the capacity to delve into details.
  • Using consensus-building skills in governing body relations and, when appropriate, in discussions/negotiations with public and private sector representatives.
  • Prioritizing work effectively in a demanding environment, and completing tasks on time, both thoroughly and impartially.
  • Collaborating frequently with regulators, contractors, consultants, and other stakeholders to ensure services continue during emergencies such as extreme weather events, scheduled/unscheduled power outages, and the pandemic.
  • Evaluating and understanding an organizational staff and operations structure in order to promote a highly responsive, reliable, productive, and high morale staff.
  • Gathering necessary data and support of stakeholders for successful problem-solving.
  • Managing and delegating responsibility while holding staff accountable and responsible for achieving goals and objectives. 
  • Being patient, accessible, and a good listener with a sincere and mentoring attitude toward staff and promoting a positive customer service-oriented approach by all employees.


The salary range is $114,500 – $139,212 depending on qualifications with an excellent benefits package including:

  • Retirement: Membership in the CalPERS 2% at 55 for classic/legacy members and 2% at 62 for new members.  HWMA does not participate in Social Security.
  • Deferred Compensation: Employees may voluntarily enroll in HWMA’s deferred compensation plan.
  • Insurance: HWMA provides low-cost medical, dental and vision care insurance, where employees pay their portion of the medical premiums.  Current medical plans include Anthem Blue Cross.  Other insurance paid by HWMA includes Employee Assistance Program, $25,000 life insurance and long-term disability insurance. 
  • Paid Leave:
    • Holiday: 14 days per year
    • Vacation: 12 days per year, with established increase based on years of service.
    • Sick Leave: 12 days per year
    • Management Leave: 12 days per year.


If you are interested in applying for this opportunity, submit a cover letter, resume and six-related work references to Koff & Associates job portal at: https://forms.zohopublic.com/koffassociatesrecruiting/form/ExecutiveDirectorHumboldtWasteManagementAuthority/formperma/KCQEPrTFfB5eMuDyXZIkS3g_55cqqIvpjHBsqmnyPqs?utm_source=KA%20Career%20Site

This recruitment is open until filled, however for first consideration, application packets must be in the possession of HWMA no later than Friday, February 12, 2021, and may be submitted either in hard-copy or electronic copy to the address(es) below.  Incomplete application packets may be disqualified from consideration.

Koff & Associates

c/o golbou ghassemieh or Richard O’Donnell, Recruitment Managers

2835 Seventh Street

Berkeley, CA  94710

gghassemieh@koffassociates.com or rodonnell@koffassociates.com


Candidates will be kept confidential until the selected candidates are notified that they will be invited to the interview process.

Applications will be initially screened by Koff & Associates and top candidates will be presented to the Executive Recruitment Subcommittee for review.  First panel interviews, held virtually, are tentatively scheduled for the week of March 8, 2021. The top candidates will be invited to a virtual Meet and Greet interview with internal stakeholders and the final interview panel will be held with the full Board of Directors.  Candidates will be advised of the status of the recruitment following finalist selection. References will be contacted only following candidate approval. Any offers of employment will be based upon the successful completion of a comprehensive reference and background check.

HWMA is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer.

Koff & Associates