JoAnn Gemenden Brings More than 30 Years of Experience in Litter Abatement

Following a nationwide search, the New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC) has found its next executive director right in the backyard – naming NJCCC Board Member JoAnn Gemenden to run the non-profit organization beginning March 1, 2021.

Gemenden, of Rahway, was selected following detailed interviews with the final round of candidates over the past two months.

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NJCCC President Linda Doherty, who represents the New Jersey Food Council, said the Selection Committee was impressed with Gemenden’s vast experience in litter abatement in Union County, where she served as its recycling and planning coordinator since 1986. Gemenden also has a strong understanding of the NJCCC mission and its network of coordinators around the state over two decades of voluntary involvement, she said.

“We have known for a long time that JoAnn is a capable, experienced, hard-working administrator,” said Bill Dressel, a NJCCC board member who chaired the Selection Committee. “She is a gifted communicator who builds strong, lasting relationships within our targeted constituencies. JoAnn is also a very creative person, leading and and implementing Best Practices strategies for our clean communities coordinators across New Jersey. She is a perfect fit for this elevated role.”

Gemenden replaced Sandy Huber, who, with 17 years of service, is the only executive director in the history of the NJCCC. Huber worked closely with Gemenden over the years and believes she is the ideal replacement.

“There is no doubt in my mind that JoAnn is perfect for this challenging position,” Huber said. “Although I am retiring, I will still be available for whenever she may need me. It is important that we have seamless continuity.”

Gemenden is also president of the Association of New Jersey Household Hazardous Waste Coordinators and is a member of the Association of New Jersey Recyclers and the Elizabeth Green Team. She is also a member of the state and national chapters of the Solid Waste Association of North America.

“I understand the NJCCC mission, as well as the needs of the local governments across the state that we serve,” Gemenden said. “I believe my hands-on experience, leadership ability and the business and government relationships I have cultivated over more than 30 years will move the Clean Communities program forward. I’m eager to get started.”

Doherty said Gemenden follows the high standard that Huber established over her 17 years of service as NJCCC’s first executive director. “We are more than confident that JoAnn, with her specific experience and leadership skills, can take the program to the next level. Sandy planted the seeds, now it is up to JoAnn to ensure that NJCCC can flourish.”

The NJCCC, a comprehensive, litter-abatement program funded through a litter tax paid by the business community that does produce litter-generating products, reaches every municipality in New Jersey, providing grants to combat litter on the local level. The non-profit organization also coordinates statewide education events, focusing many of its initiatives on children. 

The NJCCC oversees the implementation of litter abatement programs in 558 municipalities and 21 counties, collects statistical reports, maintains a database of information that tracks local programs, and implements a statewide program of public information and education that targets Clean Communities coordinators, schools, and the general public.

The NJCCC also coordinates such well-known statewide programs as “Adopt a Beach” and “Adopt a Highway,” as well its current campaign known as “Choose to Reuse New Jersey.” The program encourages people to bring their own shopping bags to the store in an effort to greatly reduce single-use plastic and paper bags.

Learn more about the NJCCC at njclean.org.