Waste agency hires new COO

Jeff Feser leaving current position as Menards general manager to take on landfill, recycling center

FORT DODGE – Jeff Feser is the new chief operating officer at the regional waste agency south of Fort Dodge, which has been without a director for about a year.

Feser was hired in a special meeting of the North Central Iowa Regional Solid Waste Agency executive board Tuesday night. He was formerly general manager at Menards in Fort Dodge.

The agency includes the landfill, the recycling center and the new Household Hazardous Materials collection site, which is located next to the recycling center and will open to the public in March.

Feser said he’s looking forward to doing something different, and to encouraging more recycling.

Executive Board Chair Mark Campbell said the board narrowed down the field from numerous applicants, and has gone through the process of interviewing people and giving tours of the facility over the last eight weeks.

The waste agency had an interim director from February 2013 to January 2016. Before that, there were two co-directors for the landfill and recycling center.

A COO will have different responsibilities than a director, Campbell said, and will help with multiple ways in which the waste agency wants to grow.

“We definitely wanted someone with more of a business background. We found that in Jeff,” Campbell said. “He’s going to bring a new environment, new direction of safety, continue our development and building of our household hazardous waste facility, to build relationships with our businesses, to work on more recycling for the businesses and households, start working with some of our smaller communities and maybe look at some single-stream recycling in the small communities, and work with our local small haulers to see what we can do to help them provide that. We’ve got a lot of great local haulers for smaller communities that we need to figure out how we can work with them.”

The executive board voted 7-1 to hire Feser at a salary of $95,000 a year and three weeks of paid vacation, with board member Donovan Adsen voting no.

“For the salary and vacation we are offering, I think we are getting a highly qualified person for that position,” board member Jeff Halter said. “He was willing to take a pretty considerable cut to come here.”

Feser said the board was looking for someone with a management background.

“For 14 years I’ve been in a management position,” he said. “I managed 200 employees out at Menards. I’ve been part of hiring. … Training the staff out there. Working with contractors, and dealing with the vendors.”

Much of that work will be the same at the waste agency, Feser said.

“One of the things I want to say — I want to thank everyone out at Menards,” he said.

He said it is a big change after working for one company for 22 years.

“I’m excited,” he said.