First name: Derek
Last Name: Veenhof
Hometown: Clifford, Ontario
Current Residence: New Jersey
Birth Year: 1966
OAC Grad Year(s): B.Sc. (Agr.) 1989, M.Sc. 1993
OAC Pillar: Environment
After graduating from the University of Guelph, Derek Veenhof didn’t envision a lifelong career in turning garbage into energy, but that is exactly what he has built his unique career on. He is now executive vice president at Covanta, North America’s largest energy from waste company.
“The business in which I work in is extremely complex. We are running very capital intensive plants that combust solid waste, while balancing concerns from the community about environmental impacts and costs. I would describe myself as a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ as I am able to understand, communicate and move through the different channels with the various stakeholders” – Derek Veenhof
Derek has worked at Covanta since 1996. Over the years he has held various business positions in the company and is currently the executive vice president of sustainable solutions. Derek oversees management and growth of Covanta’s public sector service agreements, residential and commercial waste procurement, and the manufacturing and industrial waste disposal and recycling services businesses. Derek manages a team of 95 people with $1 billion of revenue responsibility in their portfolio.
He gives his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree in resource management credit for providing him with a solid technical background combined with enhanced communication capability. He also feels his undergraduate degree strengthened his teamwork and team based problem solving skills. A big part of his current job is helping his team coordinate business activity as they manage new market opportunities, existing long term contracts and company operating assets. His team interacts with a variety of groups, from city councils and municipal agencies, private sector waste generators and service providers, through to engaging outreach with community groups, environmental and non-government organizations. He attributes his master’s degree with providing him the confidence to tackle the complexity of the business.
To balance his workload he enjoys as much time as possible with his wife Chantal Chrétien, whom he met at and also graduated from the University of Guelph, and his two daughters.
Posted on September 18, 2014