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Name: Jason Horner
Residence: Charlotte, N.C.
Occupation: Company co-founder and chief executive


Jason Horner `02 experienced early success in the recycling industry and stays linked to it through a budding new insurance agency.

Horner made headlines in 2005 when President Bush and the U.S. Small Business Administration recognized his company as the National Entrepreneur of the year. Three years later, he and his partners sold the fast-growing business, Metal Recycling Services – with its $120 million in annual revenues and three facilities employing more than 150 workers – to Nucor, the nation’s largest steelmaker.

Horner worked briefly for Nucor before becoming an independent consultant. In 2010, he teamed with commercial insurance executive Daniel Lindberg to create Defender RMI, a Charlotte, N.C.-based company that provides risk management advice, commercial insurance and advisory services to the recycling industry. They target small and middle market businesses within the manufacturing, freight and recycling industries to customize insurance programs.

“I wanted to stay close to the industry and share what I learned on the operating side,” Horner said. “We have customers from coast to coast with heavy concentration in the Northeast and Southeast.”

Defender RMI works on two relationships – its customers and four core insurance carriers. “We do upfront underwriting and the insurance carrier relies on us to make sure we are valuing the facility properly and insuring the areas that need to be covered,” said Horner, a Pittsburgh, Pa., native and fourth generation member of his family involved in steel or the salvage industry.

Defender RMI examines company policies and workings, finding many times that its customer policies are too expensive and/or leave gaping holes in their risk. Horner and his partner call their company Defender because they defend and protect clients using deep industry knowledge and expertise in insurance.

Inducted into the Ernst and Young Hall of Fame in 2007, Horner is pushing to make recycling simple, more practical and cost effective for consumers, businesses and government agencies. He hopes to put in place a system that could collect all recyclables together and then separate them at a plant.

“I am an environmentalist and a capitalist,” he said, adding that recycling has to work on both those levels.

During a recent trip to Winthrop's campus, the former college baseball player offered ideas about improving recycling efforts and marveled at the changes - addition of the West Center, DiGiorgio Campus Center, Owens Hall, Carroll Hall, Hardin Family Garden and Scholars Walk - during the decade since he graduated. 

Last updated: 7/20/2012

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