The Washington Refuse and Recycling Association recently honored Kirkland resident Mike Weinstein with a lifetime achievement award.
Weinstein, who currently works as a senior pricing manager for Waste Management, has been in the waste and recycling industry for 35 years.
“It was very surprising,” Weinstein said. “I’m humbled and I’m very grateful.”
Weinstein noted that in the industry, finance-focused employees don’t often get recognized for their work, which added to his initial shock.
“Usually, we’re the unsung heroes of most of the businesses that we deal with,” he said.
Before becoming a fixture in the local waste industry, Weinstein worked for an accounting firm based in downtown Seattle, where he stayed from the late 1970s through the early 1980s.
Before that, he served in the military. From 1972-73, he was a U.S. Air Force medic based in Thailand and was in the National Guard until 1978.
When Weinstein was at the accounting firm, one of its clients was Bayside Disposal, a regional company located and headquartered in Seattle. Bayside eventually hired him in 1985 as a controller.
In 1987, Waste Management purchased Bayside. Weinstein has been with the company ever since.
As a senior pricing manager, Weinstein is responsible for determining waste management prices in Kirkland and where contracts are awarded in the request for proposal process. Weinstein also collaborates frequently with the state’s transportation commission to assess waste and recycling rates in the area.
“Mike sets a tone of accuracy and accountability in the state rate-making process,” Jason Rose, Waste Management’s vice president for the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, said in a press release. “This lifetime achievement award recognizes how important his work has been for the industry in Washington.”
Weinstein has lived in Kirkland’s Finn Hill neighborhood with his wife Benay for the last 38 years. They have three sons and three grandchildren. Weinstein said the bulk of his family lives in the city.
“Our entire family — our extended family — we’re all Kirklandites…Kirklanders,” he said with a laugh.
At 67, Weinstein hopes that, once he retires, he’ll have more opportunities to spend quality time with his family and travel.
He has already covered much ground (recently, he visited Great Britain, Scotland and Italy) but would like to explore Spain, Germany and Portugal. He’s also curious about going back to Southeast Asia to see how it’s changed since he spent time there in his military days.
“Actually, I want to go back to all these places,” Weinstein said of the areas he’s journeyed through before.
Still, Weinstein loves living in and serving his community.
“It’s a great place to live, and I have plans of living here until I can’t live here anymore, which hopefully will be a long time,” Weinstein said.