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Prior to founding BlueBridge, I spent 25 years in the water and sewer industry overseeing regulatory compliance programs for Safe Drinking Water and Clean Water. My observations as a state regulator and then utility leader led me to four conclusions:

1) regulators and regulated entities share the common end goals of clean and safe water;

2) regulatory relationships are overly-adversarial considering those common goals, and are perpetuated by a win-lose myth;

3) that myth causes us to entrench in our positions, lose sight of our common goals, and to fail to achieve those goals at great cost to our collective communities; and

4) innovative and collaborative partnership structures that have been long used in the private sector can be effectively used to bind regulatory agencies and regulated businesses under common goals in a way that both achieves those goals, and also supports business growth and success.

The City of Tempe Arizona gave us the perfect community, and fats, oils and grease (FOG) gave us the perfect challenge, to prove that business advocacy and partnership can be the engines for achieving community sustainability goals for clean and safe water, and for resource recovery. In 2012, I launched the nation’s first compliance and resource recovery cooperative, the Tempe Grease Cooperative.

The program partnered the municipal utility with its community restaurants to establish a purchasing cooperative for 3rd-party FOG management services at bulk discount rates, resulting in lower costs for restaurants, effective FOG management at the source, and security of FOG as a feedstock for the city’s future renewable energy goals. We called that a win-win-win.

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Resource recovery cooperatives are now emerging as a best practice in the sewer industry. The concept was recognized twice by Arizona’s Environmental Stewardship program, twice in Arizona Forward’s Environmental Excellence Awards, awarded the AZ Governor’s Award for Arizona’s Future, and the Alliance for Innovation’s prestigious Havlick Award for local government innovation. I truly believe resource recovery cooperatives will be the primary way that the sewer industry manages and recovers FOG within the next ten years.

I founded BlueBridge, because I believe that FOG cooperatives are simply a microcosm of how collaboration, partnership, connecting people and processes, and deploying innovative business delivery models, can best achieve our collective sustainability and regulatory goals.

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I founded BlueBridge because cooperative structures can be effective whenever clean water and resource recovery is influenced by customer behavior - examples include food waste collection, distributed water conservation practices, gray water programs, lead service line programs, and premise legionella programs, among others.

I founded BlueBridge to connect regulatory agencies and regulated entities, to connect utilities with their customers and stakeholders, and to connect clean water and clean energy.

I founded BlueBridge because waste management, resource recovery, and economic development thrive as a common continent, but fail as separate islands.

David McNeil

BlueBridge Founder & CEO