Executive Leadership Team
The ten members of Synagro’s leadership team bring the company deep subject-matter expertise in their respective disciplines. Each of them have long-standing, demonstrated track records of driving rapid and sustainable revenue and profitability growth in both public and private equity-owned businesses, building world-class teams and taking companies to successful exit.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Bob Preston is Synagro’s chief executive officer and chairman of Synagro’s Board of Directors. He is an experienced business leader, having helmed multibillion-dollar regional and global businesses for U.S. multinationals, and served as a private-equity CEO twice before joining Synagro. He began his career at DuPont, and rapidly moved into senior operating positions at Allied-Signal, Johnson Electric and Honeywell before becoming Eastman Chemical Company’s Asia president. Bob then moved to J.B. Poindexter, Inc., where he tripled operating income in his two years as chief operating officer. He was recruited as CEO of Davis-Standard, LLC for ONCAP, where he spearheaded the company’s expansion into Asia and development of Davis’ DSX extrusion coating technology. From 2014 to 2018, Bob led GSE Environmental to a successful exit from ownership by Littlejohn & Co. after growing EBITDA 240% in just three years.
Bob has a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Northeastern University and a master’s degree in Engineering from Rutgers University. He is a Six Sigma Black Belt.
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Floyd Backes is Synagro’s chief operating officer. He has served in operations leadership and continuous improvement roles of increasing responsibility in public, private and private-equity-owned firms for the last 25 years. Prior to Synagro, he was the vice president of Operations at Schneider Packaging Equipment Company, Inc., where he was responsible for design, build, installation and commissioning of custom, highly engineered robotics and automated production lines. Prior to Schneider, he was vice president of Global Operations for the $600M PPC Broadband, Inc. division of Belden Incorporated, responsible for leading more than 1,200 engineering, logistics, procurement, production and quality colleagues at 12 global sites in 10 countries. Floyd has also served as director of operations for Davis-Standard, LLC’s converting equipment business and as a global Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt for GE’s aviation, oil and gas, energy and sensing businesses. Floyd started his career as an active-duty Metals Technology specialist in the United States Air Force, where he served four years as an aircraft-certified welder and machinist.
Floyd has a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree in Business Administration from State University of New York, Oswego.
CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER
Matt Robertson is Synagro’s chief commercial officer. As such, he is responsible for Synagro’s business development, rail and services sales, product marketing, communications and strategy functions. He joined Synagro from Axalta, a successful carve out and subsequent IPO of four DuPont coatings businesses by the Carlyle Group. While at Axalta and DuPont, he was the general manager of a $400M automotive aftermarket business, global marketing director for a $1.8B coatings SBU and sales lead for a set of businesses with $1.4B in annual turnover. He was a founding member of Deloitte’s pricing and enterprise marketing transformation practices. Matt started his career by serving a decade as a U.S. Air Force officer, pilot and military member of the George W. Bush and Clinton White House traveling staffs.
Matt holds a bachelor’s degree in Math and Economics from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Duke University.
Kaivan Desai is Synagro’s chief financial officer (CFO). He is an experienced financial executive with a successful record in public and private equity-backed companies across a diverse set of industries and business cycles.
He began his career at GE Capital, where he was a financial analyst. Kaivan later spent more than 20 years at GE, in a series of finance leadership roles at GE Aviation, GE Water & Process Technologies, GE Oil & Gas and GE Power. He then moved to CFO roles at NCR Corporation, Hardware and Artera Services, before joining Synagro.
Kaivan holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance & International Studies from Indiana University Bloomington in Bloomington, Indiana.
VICE PRESIDENT, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Pam Racey is Synagro’s vice president, Business Development. She leads the team which helps municipalities site and operate Class A biosolids recycling facilities, and the group that manages more than 150 municipal contracts taking biosolids into our compost and thermal reduction facilities. She has more than 30 years of experience in the implementation and operation of municipal biosolids management projects. Pam’s career has been dedicated to many different facets of biosolids management including permitting, public outreach, regulatory and legislative affairs, utilization of biosolids products, and solution development. For the past 15 years, she has focused specifically on developing and implementing public private partnerships for Synagro’s biosolids management facilities. Pam has led the company’s efforts on eleven heat-drying and pelletization projects, five biosolids compost projects, two thermal conversion projects, one digestion project, and dozens of dewatering and multi-faceted land application projects. These projects include two Canadian P3 projects – one in Hamilton Ontario and the other with the Capital Region District in Victoria, British Columbia. In addition, she pioneered the company’s initiative to utilize biosolids pellets as a renewable energy source with Lehigh Cement in Union Bridge, Maryland.
Pam holds a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from Pennsylvania State University. She is a member of the Water Environment Federation and an affiliate member of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.
Vice President, Mergers & Acquisitions
Dan is responsible for Synagro’s inorganic growth strategy and execution. He joined Synagro in June 2021 from WCA Waste Corporation, a $400M solid waste company owned by Macquarie Infrastructure Partners and acquired by GFL Environmental in late 2020. While at WCA, Dan served at the vice president of Business Development. As a member of WCA’s executive leadership team and working with its board of directors, he refined the corporate development process and completed 10 acquisitions in solid waste hauling and disposal. He added millions of dollars of EBITDA to the bottom line and assisted Macquarie in their successful sale process to GFL.
Prior to WCA, Dan spent 13 years at Stericycle, the world’s leading medical waste disposal company. He held various roles at Stericycle, including leading the global strategic sourcing team managing more than $200M in annual spend. Dan spent the latter part of his tenure as vice president of Mergers & Acquisitions, completing 22 deals in medical waste, hazardous waste and document destruction.
Dan has a master’s degree in Business Administration and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
VICE PRESIDENT, HUMAN RESOURCES
Angela Dicke is Synagro’s vice president of Human Resources. She has served in people management and leadership roles for more than 15 years. Prior to Synagro, she led multiple Maryland Department Of Health and Mental Hygiene-based programs for the Anne Arundel County Department of Health. There, she managed program employees and leveraged her contract knowledge, business acumen and people skills to implement a new, highly successful cancer screening program. Angela joined Synagro as part of a shared services team in 2016 demonstrating her vast human resources knowledge and ability to remain malleable given the Synagro’s evolving landscape. Angela’s leadership skills were quickly recognized as she moved to human resources roles in project management and regional management, before becoming a director. Through her leadership, Angela has assembled an extremely skilled team dedicated to supporting Synagro’s employees.
Angela is member of the Society for Human Resources Management as well as the Chesapeake Human Resources Association.
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, ENGINEERING, AND CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER
John Goodwin is Synagro’s senior vice president of Engineering and Chief Technology Officer. He leads the development of partnerships with technology suppliers, design engineers and general contractors to facilitate the design, construction and optimization of our facilities portfolio. With 30 years of biosolids project delivery, operations and environmental permitting experience, John is one of the industry’s leading technology authorities in delivering sustainable biosolids solutions. He began his career with the Bio Gro Division of Wheelabrator Technologies as an environmental engineer, moving quickly into a plant manager role. Over the next 20+ years with Synagro, John put his stamp on our entire facilities footprint, helping to design, commission, operate and optimize dozens of facilities. During that time, he served in leadership roles as general manager of multiple regions and of Synagro’s engineering and facilities development group. Most recently he has led the technical development, design and construction of Synagro’s newest facilities at Hamilton, Ontario and Victoria, British Columbia in Canada, and Fort Worth, Texas.
John has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering Technology from Norwich University.
General counsel, Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer
Al Slepian is Synagro’s general counsel, Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer. In this role, he is responsible for the group providing Synagro’s legal and advisory services, including mergers and acquisitions, contract support, litigation, and Federal and State compliance monitoring and reporting. He has specific subject matter expertise in municipal contracting and deal negotiation, in addition to M&A, having supported Synagro’s Nursery Products, Old Line Environmental and Pace Dewatering Systems due diligence and acquisitions. Al has been with Synagro since 2014, when he joined as Senior Counsel, Commercial Transactions. He moved into the General Counsel role in 2015. Al started his in-house career as Assistant General Counsel at PG&E National Energy Group, before moving to a role as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Argos Utilities Corporation. In both of these roles, Al developed deep subject matter expertise in the power generation industry and legal support for large-scale construction projects. Al later served as Associate General Counsel at USEC, Inc. (now Centrus Energy) before joining Synagro.
Al holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History from Duke University and a juris doctorate degree from Columbia University. He is admitted to the bar in New York.
Chief Information Officer
Norman Whitelaw is Synagro’s chief information officer. He has more than 30 years of recognized Information Technology leadership experience with specific subject matter expertise in enterprise security, systems architecture, and cloud solutions. Norman came to Synagro from Solmax/ GSE Environmental where he was the Chief Information Officer. Norman led several key IT initiatives during his eight-year tenure, contributing to a successful sale of the company. Prior to that, he held a variety of IT leadership positions for large multinational, multi-billion dollar corporations such as LyondellBasell, KBR and Halliburton. He played a key IT role in the merger of Lyondell and Basell, spin-off of KBR from Halliburton, and eventual IPO of KBR. Norman designed and deployed the IT support infrastructure supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom for a large government contractor and has participated in numerous Microsoft case studies where he was recognized as a pioneer in the IT industry. He is also a Certified Information Systems Security Professional.