Michael Yacyshyn Takes Over as Corporate Waste Management Lead

October 7, 2021

For more than 30 years, CEC has consistently prided itself on its small-firm environment and providing a fun, fulfilling workplace for its employee owners. Even as the firm has grown from coast to coast with more than 1,100 employees, the firm remains highly invested in its professionals and their technical expertise.

The focus on its employees and the overall culture attracted Michael Yacyshyn to the firm in November 2020 after he had spent more than 40 years with consulting firms in California. Michael has now taken over as CEC’s corporate Waste Management practice lead.

Michael Yacyshyn

“CEC reminds me of the really good consulting firms I worked for when I started in consulting in the late 1970s; very collaborative, collegial and employee-focused, which isn’t necessarily the norm anymore,” Michael says. “As some firms get larger and consolidate with or are acquired by other firms, in many cases, the people are sometimes forgotten. Because our people are our No. 1 resource, our business is not well-suited to short-term pressures typical in publicly traded consulting firms.

“At CEC, people are invested and rewarded for their efforts because we know our clients’ success is all of our success. You know you’re part of the team, not just making money for the ownership. That investment pays off in our commitment to our clients.”


Michael takes over the Waste Management practice at a time when CEC’s landfill clients are facing regulatory, permitting and operational challenges. One such challenge is managing the slope stability issues that have become increasingly prevalent. If not mitigated, those slope stability issues can lead to landslides that significantly disrupt landfill operations and can cost millions of dollars to repair.

He says that years of owners and operators perhaps not giving liquids in landfills the attention they deserved has led to stability concerns at some sites. That has manifested in major waste companies having to invest more money right now, burdened by the need to drain landfills and come up with systems during design and construction that will facilitate the removal of liquids.

“These are things that you just didn’t do 20 years ago, even 10 years ago,” Michael says. “We’re learning more and more. Each landfill is a living organism, and they’re all slightly different. We have a number of sites we’re working on now where we’re trying to understand past waste acceptance practices and the percentage of liquids and other low-strength wastes that were taken over time. That all affects the stability.”

Michael is currently working as part of a CEC team to analyze the stability of a landfill in the southeast that’s seeing issues related to liquids accumulation and old cells that employed a smooth geomembrane base liner system. This very low strength interface at the bottom of the landfill is presenting slope stability concerns.

“You rarely see smooth geomembrane at the bottom of landfills anymore, if at all, and the very low strength interface and resulting lower factors of safety against sliding is the reason why,” he explains.

Utilizing cone penetrometer tests (CPT), CEC’s team assessed subsurface strength and liquid conditions at the site to gather detailed information about liquid levels and the strength of the waste materials. CEC also installed vibrating wire piezometers (VWP) adjacent to each CPT location in the landfill to further evaluate liquid levels.

The information at this site is gathered by cloud-based remote sensing devices that pull liquid-level data from each of the VWP locations around the landfill in real time.

That system provides real-time updates that enable CEC to adjust input parameters for slope stability analysis that, in turn, can help clients make informed decisions. In this case, the client was seeking to expand laterally, but because of delays, they’ve been forced to place waste in areas they didn’t necessarily want to, which can lead to reduced factors of safety. These analyses will help them assess the most cost-effective way of dealing with potential instability caused by that and how to proceed with expansion.

“If you’re truly trying to help your client, you’re going to innovate when you can. You want to do things within regulations but maybe take a different approach and help save the client money, and I think that’s key to being an effective consultant,” Michael says. “If you look at companies on paper, we all have people with advanced degrees. So how do you differentiate yourself? Our innovations go a long way to making us stand out among our competitors.”

“At CEC, people are invested and rewarded for their efforts because we know our clients’ success is all of our success. You know you’re part of the team, not just making money for the ownership. That investment pays off in our commitment to our clients.” 


Michael will aim to enhance quality and risk management guidelines as the practice lead so clients seeking waste management services are receiving the top-notch service they expect. He also will aim to leverage the variety of experts throughout the waste management practice to ensure clients understand the full scope of services CEC provides.

With professionals who have expertise in industrial waste, liquid waste, hazardous waste, coal combustion residue waste, and numerous others, CEC can provide services that benefit clients across all of the market sectors the firm serves, not just solid waste.

The solid waste market and waste management practice often go hand in hand, but Michael hopes the practice can also facilitate opportunities outside of the solid waste world and capitalize on the versatility of CEC’s waste experts to further expand the firm’s client base.

“We have a unique opportunity at CEC to leverage our breadth of waste management services because our technical experts are put in position to be the business developers and bring in work,” he says. “Ensuring we’re doing that, managing risk, and developing technical guidelines for certain aspects of our practice will be my major focuses in this role.”

Michael is based in our Nashville office. He can be reached at 615.577.9338 or via email at myacyshyn@cecinc.com.

About our Waste Management Practice

With a full range of services related to the management, recycling, reuse, and disposal of municipal, industrial, construction/demolition, hazardous, and gas exploration wastes, as well as coal combustion residuals, the private and public sectors rely on us for processing, treatment, or disposal facility projects. Many of our engineers and technical staff are former waste industry professionals. We develop designs for waste disposal facilities; prepare plans to extend the life of existing facilities; assist with permitting and regulatory compliance; provide construction support and construction quality assurance (CQA); and design leachate and landfill gas management systems.


About the Author

CEC Staff

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. (CEC) provides comprehensive market-oriented consulting services to advance client strategic business objectives. CEC is recognized for delivering innovative design solutions and integrated expertise in air quality, civil engineering, ecological sciences, environmental engineering and sciences, manufacturing infrastructure services, survey/geospatial, waste management, and water resources.

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