Born in Baltimore, Maryland, David Leonard Wagger grew up from the age of five in Palo Alto, California, where recycling was common by the 1970s, and was interested in “green” at an early age. After graduating from Palo Alto High School, he attended the University of California, Berkeley and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. After UC Berkeley, he attended MIT with a Fannie & John Hertz Foundation Fellowship and intended to conduct waste-to-energy research. However, that (as well as all federal synthetic fuel research) was canceled when oil prices dropped from $30 to $10 per barrel during his first year. He graduated from MIT with a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and a minor in political science. Dr. Wagger moved to Washington, D.C., on a Diplomacy Fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to work on energy/electricity issues in developing countries with the U.S. Agency for International Development. Following the AAAS Fellowship, he worked at a small engineering consulting firm for about 10 years and was involved there in a large number of environmental projects involving contaminated industrial and commercial properties (including brownfields) and groundwater and surface-water contamination. After that, he had a short stint at a small nonprofit to manage the Mid-Atlantic Byproduct Synergy Project, an EPA-supported project that examined the benefits of and barriers to “ad hoc” material re-use and recycling between industrial entities. That work, a chance interaction unknowingly with ISRI’s President and an ISRI vacancy announcement a week later led to his seeking and eventually becoming Director of Environmental Management at ISRI nearly 10 years ago.

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