Based in Houston, Waste Management Inc. is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management environmental services in North America. Through its subsidiaries, the company provides collection, transfer, disposal, recycling and resource recovery.
Waste Management has more than 21 million customers in North America and more than 42,000 employees. It owns and/or operates 244 active landfills, 127 landfill-gas-to-energy facilities and 104 recycling facilities, and deploys 17,000 collection trucks on the roadways every day.
Those numbers add up to plenty of business and legal duties for Charles Boettcher, Waste Management’s senior vice president and chief legal officer.
The Waste Management legal department consists of 60 legal professionals, including 30 attorneys. The department is led by Boettcher through his direct reports, including three field leads who manage legal teams that provide advice to discrete portions of the company’s 17 field market areas. He supervises five corporate leads whose teams provide legal expertise in particular disciplines.
Boettcher also oversees ethics and compliance, as well as government affairs. Waste Management’s chief compliance officer reports to Boettcher and leads a group of 15, including an internal environmental health and safety audit team.
The company’s government affairs leader reports to Boettcher and is responsible for a core group of 10 employees who weigh in on national, state and local policy issues and help lead even more field employees who do the same.
“Waste Management is a national company that provides services at regional and local levels,” Boettcher says. “Based on the business structure, outside counsel support corporate as well as regional/local functions.”
Boettcher is responsible for Waste Management’s legal, ethics and compliance, government affairs and security and real estate functions. He also is a member of the company’s senior leadership team and the company’s corporate secretary.
“What I love best about my job is that every day is truly different, with a diversity of challenges keeping me on my toes and fully engaged,” he says, adding that he spends “a good amount” of time supporting the company’s CEO, fellow senior leadership team members and the board.
Boettcher continues: “Our legal, compliance and government affairs teams are the best in the business, and I am very thankful for the excellent work they do to support our company, employees and communities.”
Route to the Top
After graduating from Texas Tech University School of Law, Boettcher spent eight years, the last two as partner, as a corporate, securities and mergers and acquisitions attorney in the Dallas office of Thompson & Knight.
He then spent another eight years as senior vice president, general counsel, chief compliance officer and corporate secretary at Houston-based Eagle Rock Energy Partners.
Prior to joining Waste Management as VP and GC in September 2016, Boettcher was executive VP, chief financial officer and GC at Dallas-based Oilfield Water Logistics, a produced water gathering, transportation and disposal company backed by private equity sponsor Natural Gas Partners.
He was promoted to his current position in January 2017.
Boettcher and his wife have two boys, ages 13 and 15. They enjoy watching their children participate in school activities, including track, theater, basketball and football. The CLO also likes to run, golf — and sneak in some reading for fun when he has the time.
He’s also focused, along with his family, in giving back to the community. Boettcher currently is a Farber Fund board member at the University of South Dakota and a member of the Energy Law Advisory Board for Texas Tech University School of Law.
He also is part of the Corporate Work Study Committee for Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory of Houston, which helps provide real-world work experiences to Cristo Rey students.
Boettcher says his most recent read was “Ready Player One,” by Ernest Cline, a novel set in the year 2045 that a colleague recommended a few years ago as a means to connect him to the worldview of his sons’ generation.
“The book was a terrific read in its own right,” he says of the novel, which was adapted into a film released earlier this year. “It was also great to see how Spielberg portrayed it on the big screen,” Boettcher added. “Interesting view of what the future could hold.”