Cal Cunningham is Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of WasteZero, Inc., a nationally-recognized environmental services and waste reduction company based in Raleigh. At WasteZero, Cal has championed efforts to increase recycling and reduce landfilled municipal waste with innovative policy solutions. His efforts have led WasteZero to be ranked in the top 10% of certified “B Corps” as “Best for the Environment” by using private business as a force for public good.
In 2017, Governor Roy Cooper named Cal as Vice Chair of the Governor’s Crime Commission where he has been leading efforts to reform North Carolina prisons and direct funds to comprehensive efforts to curb the opioid addiction crisis. Cal is also chairman of the Exploris School Foundation that supports an award-winning “Green Ribbon School” of the same name for its comprehensive approach to environmental education and practices. He served for twelve years as a Trustee of Davidson County Community College and as an ex officio member of the UNC Board of Trustees.
As an elected member of the North Carolina Senate (representing Davidson, Rowan and Iredell Counties), Cal served on the Education Appropriations, Policy and Oversight Committees and was a leading advocate for land preservation and clean air policy on the Agriculture and Environment Committee.
Cal serves as a Judge Advocate in the US Army Reserve (rank of Major) and is a veteran of campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is currently assigned to the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School where, among other duties, he helps train Special Operations Forces on the Law of Armed Conflict and Military Justice. He has been recognized for his military service with awards that include the Bronze Star Medal and General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award.
In addition to a Juris Doctor from UNC Law, Cal’s education includes a Master of Science from the London School of Economics. He also holds a Bachelor degree with Honors from UNC-Chapel Hill. At UNC he served as the Student Body President and later as the Chief Justice of the Student Supreme Court.
Cal’s wife Elizabeth works in the field of education policy and law, and they have two high school-aged children, Caroline and Will.