Smith steps down as WRIQ CEO

Mark Smith

Mark Smith is stepping down as Chief Executive Officer of the Waste Recycling Industry Association Queensland (WRIQ).

Smith announced his resignation from the position in an association newsletter late last week.

He said despite the COVID-19 pandemic creating the most difficult two years in recent decades, he was proud of what has been delivered for WRIQ and its members.

“Our association has bucked the trend of other associations nationally over the last few years: expanding our member numbers, increasing our revenue, expanding our member services, increasing our presence and profile across a range of communication and media channels and most importantly changed our profile with key stakeholders in government and the private sector.

“This has enabled further opportunities for WRIQ to represent the interests of the sector to governments (local, state and federal) and even drive national discussion with recent examples including our review into how state governments collect waste levies and deliver grant programs (with the raw datasets we’ve collected now shared with all our partner associations,) and the national intern program launched by Hon Trevor Evans MP last year.”

Smith highlighted three key indicators that were endorsed early in his tenure at WRIQ that have been achieved – increased member benefits and increased members, increasing the WRIQ brand and profile and Increasing revenue.

Another highlight was bringing together councils, state governments and industry to discuss new projects, including WRIQ leading an initiative about improving outcomes for the community in Ipswich.

He said that before the end of Q3, WRIQ will have several new services that will provide more support and benefits to members.

“I believe the successes over probably the most difficult two years in recent decades are a win for our industry and for our members,” Smith said.

“WRIQ has been elevated while similar organisations have plateaued or even shrunk. I believe the Association is stronger and more specific to the needs of our members today and into tomorrow.”

He said the past two years had also produced some personal milestones including relocating from Melbourne and a severe cycling injury which left him one-armed for more than five months while continuing to run the industry body in Queensland.

“Rounding out about two years in the CEO chair has been an enriching journey filled with ‘Aha’ moments, IT issues, technology changes, far too much fast food, not enough exercise, repeated shouts of ‘you’re on mute’ and over-explaining to anyone outside Queensland that we have a 105 per cent waste levy rebate for councils,” Smith said.

“The whole experience has provided me great experiences, achievements, and learnings. I’d like to thank all the new people and organisations that have come on board with our Association over the last few years.

“Our sector is changing and changing rapidly. We can’t always wait for government to respond to our needs and challenges. If we don’t tackle those issues, much of the incoming change will be forced upon us as opposed to be influenced and created by us. WRIQ is the best vehicle for the industry to create that future.”

Smith will work with the WRIQ Executive Committee in the transition to a new CEO during the next few months.

He plans to continue working in the sector and stay in Queensland.


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