New Wastebusters GM
Wānaka's Wastebusters is opening a new chapter with long-tenured zero waste inspiration Gina Dempster appointed new general manager.
Current GM Tony Pfeiffer is stepping down from the role today, 15 November, with his three-year contract coming to an end.
"I am exceptionally pleased for Gina and for the wider organisation as I know that I am passing the baton to a person with the skills, knowledge and passion to take the business to even greater heights," he says.
Dempster has been an integral part of the senior management team since 2007. During her time as communications manager, she helped elevate Wastebusters as a locally and nationally-renowned leader and educator in the zero waste space.
More recently, she has expanded her skill set across Wastebusters’ reuse and recycling operations in the role of Resource Recovery Manager.
She's also on the board of Lake Wānaka Tourism, a founding member of Plastic Free Wānaka, and a strategic communications advisor for the Zero Waste Network Aotearoa.
"I’m really excited about stepping into the general manager role," Dempster says.
"Wastebusters was set up by our community 23 years ago and remains a well-loved treasure and environmental leader. I’m following in the giant footsteps of all the leaders who have taken Wastebusters to the nationally recognised zero waste hub that it is today.
"As the GM of a community-owned social enterprise, I feel a lot of responsibility to do my best for Wastebusters, our community and our mission to lead the way to zero waste. I’m also really excited because there’s so many opportunities to move towards zero waste and make resources more circular.
"At the heart of Wastebusters are the people, and we’ve got so many great people in the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle teams. I feel we’re in a great place to take Wastebusters to the next level as a circular economy hub which can help change the way we use resources."
Wastebusters officially welcomed Pfeiffer to the whānau at their 20th birthday party, and he fit right in with his sparkly red hat and wonderful party shoes.
In his time at Wastebusters, he and the leadership team successfully led the company through a multitude of challenges, including the Covid-19 pandemic where the organisation was able to keep paying all of their staff through extended lockdowns.
"I'll walk away with the knowledge that I’m leaving the business in a better position than it was, so that’s what I’m proud of. I was here to help guide the ship as general manager, that’s how I saw my role," he says.
Even though Pfeiffer is retiring, he will continue his work in the sustainability sector as a community representative with QLDC’s Climate Reference Group, as well as staying on as the chair of Challenge Wanaka. On top of that, he’s looking forward to spending time with his whānau, has a trip to Europe booked and has got the band back together.
Wastebusters Board of Trustees chair Sally Battson says the board is very pleased to welcome Dempster as the next GM of Wastebusters Ltd.
"Gina brings a wealth of experience from her years of work in the Wastebusters business, so we feel confident that her familiarity with our team, the council, and our range of business partners will help ensure a smooth transition into her new role," Battson says.
"She also has a national reputation in the zero waste sphere and her extensive networks across the motu will provide valuable connections and opportunities. She is strongly aligned to the Board's strategic goals and we look forward to working with her."