Ship’s Steering Wheel
The tradition of presenting a
steering wheel to the incoming chairman of the Steering Committee began as a private joke
between 1996 Conference Chairman Ed Taylor of Minute Maid and 1997 Conference
Chairman Stephanie Richardson of Preventative Environmental Management. At the beginning of the 1997 conference,
Stephanie presented Ed, then the Steering Committee chairman, with an old car
steering wheel dug out from a salvage yard, the idea being the Steering
Committee Chairman needed something to steer. Ed had the last laugh as he took
great pride in ceremoniously presenting the old steering wheel back to
Stephanie at the end of the 1997 conference.
The old car steering wheel has since graduated to a ship’s wheel as a
gift from Ted Weller of B&A Health and Safety Consultants. This steering
wheel has been handed from the outgoing Steering Committee Chairman to the
incoming Steering Committee Chairman since 1998. It is the responsibility of the outgoing
Steering Committee Chairman to keep the wheel during the year of their service,
engrave the name of the incoming Steering Committee Chairman on the next plate
prior to the next conference and to present the ship’s wheel to the next
Steering Committee Chair at the Wednesday evening awards dinner.
This conference tradition began in 1970 when the most important
environmental issue was wastewater. One of the traditional slang terms used to discuss wastewater
is ”honey wagon,” which refers to pumper trucks used for septic tank pump outs.
In 1977, the chairman of this conference
was presented with the Honey Dipper, which recognizes the origins of the
conference. To this day the conference chair
receives the Honey Dipper from the outgoing conference chair and it is worn
around the neck throughout the entire conference.
The Talking Stick
In 2002, the conference left the U.S. for the first time and
landed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with Gottfried Haase of Kraft as
the chairman. On Sunday evening the entertainment with dinner was performed by
members of a native Canadian tribe. The chief of the tribe presented Gottfried
with a Talking Stick, which is a native tribe tradition that recognizes who has
the right to speak. The Talking Stick is
displayed throughout the conference next the speaker’s podium.
Try as we may, some folks never get the message: don’t wear ties.
The conference dress code is business casual.
In 2005, in Savannah, Ga., Bruce Wright of Basic American Foods made the
mistake of wearing a tie. The portion of the tie that encircled his neck now travels
with the Talking Stick, and is hung over the base as a reminder.
The Big Dog Award
The Big Dog Awards were created at the 1997 Conference by Quentin
Davis of Fehr-Graham & Associates. They were originally called the MC-T awards,
owing to the fact that McDonald’s had sent some “Environmental T-Shirts” to the
conference that were given away as prizes. The idea was borne from the 1997
conference, when several presenters added humor and uniqueness to their
Three nominees are chosen for each award and the idea is to select
unique and funny comments from presentations and create categories based off
the comments. The winner is announced
after the category is explained. The
awards are presented at the Wednesday evening awards dinner, and past
categories have included: Best Lawyer Joke, Best Technical Term and Best
Technical Lie. In 1998, the name was
changed to the Big Dog Awards. Awards
have been given every year since 1997.
Award recipients receive Big Dog t-shirts.
The Little Kitten Award
Little Kitten Award was created by Carol Kenfield, of Pillsbury in 2000. She recognized that this is more than a conference;
it is a venue where life-long friendships and caring relationships are
developed. The recipient of the award
receives a little kitten and a certificate.
The recipient is responsible for the care and upkeep of the kitten for 1
full year and for selecting the next recipient