Recycle Utah promotes from within for new director
Organization’s secretary rises to top position
Whenever Carolyn Wawra goes trail running or takes her border collie, Penguin, for a walk around her Jeremy Ranch neighborhood, she picks up trash that she finds along the way.
“I want to leave this place better than how I found it,” Wawra said.
Wawra said her passion for recycling and conservation will go hand-in-hand with her new position as executive director of the nonprofit organization Recycle Utah. Her first day will be April 4.
Wawra was recently selected to replace longtime director Insa Riepen. In January, Riepen announced her retirement after 17 years with the organization. Her last day will be April 1.
‘This job is who I am, in a sense, because I grew up recycling,” Wawra said. “My mom used to recycle and she would say she did it because ‘I want the Earth to be nice for you’ and I feel like a lot of things we use will outlive us.”
Recycle Utah is one of the community’s leading sustainable partners. The organization prevents 200 tons of materials from being sent to the Summit County’s landfill. Recycle Utah also regularly provides hazardous waste collection options and reaches more than 3,000 students in Summit and Wasatch County through its environmental education programs.
When Wawra graduated from the Leadership Park City class two years ago, she said the program inspired her to become more involved in the community. She added, “Recycle Utah was the nonprofit I went after first.”
“I grew up as a kid knowing that conserving our environment is important and I feel like that is important to raise the next generation to do the same,” Wawra said. “We want to provide support for community and staff as we continue to protect our water sources. That’s who we are and those are the things that are really important to us.”
Wawra serves on the organization’s advisory board and was promoted to secretary last year. She currently works for Vail Resorts in the marketing department for Park City Mountain Resort.
Wawra will soon be responsible for overseeing Recycle Utah’s education and outreach programs, along with five full-time and two part-time employees. The organization has outgrown its current location at 1951 Woodbine Way and Wawra admitted a new site will also be needed soon.
“Change is inevitable and we will relocate, but it is too soon for me to decide what that correct change is. I think it is good to continue where Insa has directed us for so long,” Wawra said. “Recycle Utah would not be what it is today without Insa’s role over the past 20 years.
“I am very grateful to have something that is so established in this community and I admire where it has gone in her time,” she said.
Riepen, who was part of the selection process, said the organization needs “new energy and knowledge.” Riepen cited Wawra’s marketing background as proof of her capabilities.
“Social media is where we get our message out and I think that is where she will excel,” Riepen said. “There will be a learning curve for Carolyn, but she has a lot of support. That is what is really needed to make sure we have a smooth transition and continue our programs. She has the energy and the background knowledge and I expect nothing but great things from her.”
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Summit County’s sales taxes are beating 2019 levels, with an estimated additional $1.2 million in revenue. Councilors debated using the money to hire more employees.