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Richard Van Hattem, one of the founders of Republic Services, Inc., was inducted into the National Waste & Recycling Hall of Fame.

During his 44 years in the industry, Van Hattem launched successful business ventures that helped give rise to the modern waste industry.

In 1972, Van Hattem founded National Scavenger Service in Chicago, which grew to become one of the region’s largest independent haulers until its combination with a Republic Services predecessor company in the 1990s. Early on, Van Hattem recognized the operational efficiency and cost competitiveness that could be achieved through a transfer station, and built one on Chicago’s west side. It wasn’t until years later that the same model would be broadly adopted, creating an operational improvement with impact industry wide.

“Republic Services would not be the company it is today without Rich,” said Republic Services president & chief executive officer Don Slager. “Not just for the financial assets brought to the company through National Scavenger Service, but for his vision and the leadership model Rich inspired in all of us. Future generations will point to Rich as one of several individuals who enabled the modern waste industry’s growth and rise to a position of strength.”

Van Hattem also has been heralded for his collaborative leadership style, which often was called upon to bring parties together. He earned high regard from waste haulers, for the way he built and operated his business and for his adherence to the highest ethical standards.

During his tenure, Van Hattem was largely responsible for setting in motion the company’s growth trajectory, providing the vision and business acumen necessary to dramatically expand its operations nationally. Growing from $25 million to more than $6 billion at the time of his retirement in 2006, Van Hattem’s leadership in multiple, executive-level positions helped build the Company into the second largest waste services provider in the United States.

Van Hattem also served as treasurer and a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Waste & Recycling Association for nearly 10 years.

Published in the June 2014 Edition of American Recycler News