A minute with… James “Jim” D. Warner
A minute with… James “Jim” D. Warner, CEO of Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) since 1996. During his tenure, Warner spearheaded the revitalization of LCSWMA’s Transfer Station Complex and the development of a renewable energy portfolio which generates enough electricity to power 1 in 5 area homes. Warner serves on the board of many local economic and community organizations, and actively participates in the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), most recently as International Board Past President.
Name three projects of which you are most proud.
- The development of a new transfer station complex, which was a $30 million, 10-year effort. It was a very long, drawn-out project, but I endorsed it, I love it, its functionality is terrific.
- We built a 3.2-megawatt wind project, in partnership with Turkey Hill Dairy and PPL Energy. It was a $9.5 million project to buy and install two wind turbines at our landfill site and get it operational. Now, the project produces 25 percent of Turkey Hill Dairy’s electric needs through wind energy.
- The public-to-public transaction of purchasing a waste-to-energy power plant. This partnership with Harrisburg, Pa., and Dauphin County, Pa., developed a regional waste management system that helped bolster Harrisburg economically, at a cost of $130 million.
Tell us about your most challenging day at the office.
- About 12 years ago, we were in a very heated landfill expansion controversy. Not only did I have protesting outside my building, but I had a public meeting of my board. There were about 40 board people sitting in the audience that day. Just managing that type of heated opposition was a difficult. Those of us that make careers in a job like mine, we all have to experience those. I endured until a compromise could be reached.
Tell us about your most rewarding day at the office.
- It’s always days when I’ve been able to acknowledge subordinates for doing a good job. I expect a lot out of people, and when they do a great job and everything works out, I think it’s important to recognize them.
Do you have any personal, proven methods for approaching municipal challenges?
- Well, one is “always be prepared. Have a good business plan.” Get early buy-in from stakeholders, and then push aggressively in moving forward to reach the finish line. The push keeps everyone moving and energized.
One way in which you would change the world?
- I’d wave my magic wand and have renewable energy and clean water for everybody on the planet.
A fact about you people might be surprised to learn?
- I “de-stress” by playing with my two Australian Shepherds, Boone and Adam, and enjoying a good glass of wine – never at the same time though!