Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist has dedicated his career to solving problems, and ISRI and the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) recognized that commitment by naming him the 2022 Recycling Impact Award recipient.

Presented by NLGA and sponsored by ISRI, this award is given annually to an NLGA member who is committed to working within a state, region, or community to positively affect resource conservation and recycling. Gilchrist was nominated by ISRI’s Michigan Chapter, and Kari Bliss, Sustainability Principal at PADNOS, presented the award to him at the 2022 NLGA Annual Meeting in Chicago, Ill. on Wednesday, July 20.

Gilchrist began solving problems early in his career as a software engineer at Microsoft, helping build SharePoint into the fastest growing product in the company’s history. For the next several years, he served as a social entrepreneur and community organizer, working with communities across the U.S. to realize their full economic and political potential. When he returned to Detroit to work in local government, he helped build systems that made the government more responsive, transparent, and accountable to city residents.

As part of the Whitmer Administration, Gilchrist has worked to address injustice and inequity across the state. His efforts co-chairing the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration and helming the Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities have led to actions that saved lives and protect Michigan’s vulnerable populations.

Committed to finding sustainable solutions for Michigan’s recycling program, Gilchrist has made himself available to the state’s recyclers. Not only does he afford time for one-on-one meetings with recyclers at the ISRI Michigan Chapter’s Capital Luncheons, but he’s also taken a boots-on-the-ground approach to understanding the industry by visiting ISRI member facilities.

In February, he toured the Holland, Mich.-based PADNOS Grand Rapids facility to learn more about the company’s work in sustainability and the circular economy. The chapter has found that in meetings he makes a point of asking ISRI members about their interests and concerns and stays engaged to make sure the industry’s issues are addressed.

“I am honored and grateful to accept the National Lieutenant Governor’s Association Recycling Impact Award,” Gilchrist says. “Since the beginning of our administration, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and I have worked hard to boost Michigan’s recycling rate and protect our environment. Through our partnership with [the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy] EGLE on initiatives like NextCycle and ambitious investments in local communities, we are committed to making recycling affordable, accessible, and easy for every Michigander. We will continue building a circular economy in Michigan, creating jobs, and passing our natural resources on to future generations.”

“Lt. Governor Gilchrist is a valued champion of the environment, sustainability, and the recycling industry in Michigan,” says ISRI President Robin Wiener. “His background in engineering and innovation enables him to see sustainable solutions in the state’s recycling structure. The State of Michigan is fortunate to have his visionary leadership and ISRI congratulates him on this well-deserved honor.”

Photo Caption: Michigan Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II accepts ISRI’s 2022 Recycling Impact Award from ISRI presenter Kari Bliss, PADNOS Sustainability Principal.


Hannah Zuckerman

Hannah Zuckerman

Hannah is a Writer & Editor for ISRI's Scrap News. She's interested in a wide range of topics in the recycling industry and is always eager to learn more. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in History and a minored in Creative Writing. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband.