Ernst & Young Recognize Barnes with Award

James R. Barnes, president and chief executive officer of OAKLEAF Waste Management, was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2008 in the Services category, according to a Nov. 15 press release.

Barnes was recognized for founding OAKLEAF, the fastest growing waste outsourcing company in the United States.

When Barnes started OAKLEAF in 1995, he challenged the industry's typical business model and redefined waste removal. Traditionally, haulers charged fees by location or percentage of savings, creating a commoditized business with low margins and high client turnover. By applying the right IT systems, infrastructure, and developing an efficient way of handling tasks such as invoicing, Barnes could offer a sustainable value-added service. Instead of physically hauling trash, the company contracts with retailers, restaurants, property management companies, hospitality companies and corporate clients and hires haulers in the immediate area to do the actual removal. OAKLEAF assumes the role of general contractor.

The company also evaluates its customers' waste stream, discovering new ways to divert certain waste products from landfills.