If you weren’t invited – don’t feel bad because the Insite wasn’t either. But there was a big celebration and salute last week to Houston’s former head of Solid Waste. Thomas ‘Buck’ Buchanan spent more than two decades working for the city of Houston. He was honored by a long list of guests. Here’s more about the man people know as Buck:

Mr. Thomas Buchanan was unanimously approved by City Council on January 17, 2001 to serve as Director of the City of Houston’s Solid Waste Management Department where he has oversight of approximately 600 employees. Buchanan, more affectionately known by department employees as “Buck,” is a 24-year veteran of the City.

Before becoming director of the 4th largest City’s solid waste activities, Buchanan served as deputy director where he was directly responsible for administration and finance issues, maintenance of facilities and rolling stock. He had supervisory responsibility for residential waste collection, heavy trash/brush collection, special collection services and recycling and environmental services. Buchanan has also served as Past President of the Lone Star Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA).

Buck holds a BBA in Personnel Management from the University of Texas at Austin and a Masters of Public Administration degree from the University of Houston. Buchanan, a Vietnam veteran, also holds the rank of a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Reserves, and is a graduate of the Air War College, Command and General Staff College, Logistics Development Executive Course, and the Defense Procurement Management Course.

The combined military and solid waste experience that Buck possesses was instrumental in strategizing and executing the City of Houston’s Disaster Debris Removal Plan. The foresight of having these legal contracts in place with contingency private haulers provided Houston with a rapid response to the devastating effect caused by Tropical Storm Allison. In less than 24 hours after City Council appropriated the funds for emergency debris removal, contractors had already begun to tackle the most severely hit areas. Under Buchanan’s leadership, the City’s Solid Waste Management Department maintained its regular collections schedule while simultaneously collecting one year’s worth of debris volume in 2 months.

Buck is married to lovely Karen Buchanan and has two children and 4 grandchildren.