James H. Brooks

James H. Brooks
1996 Honorary Alumni

This Bulls Gap, Tennessee, resident has been part of the ETSU family for years. James Brooks is a person who has embraced opportunity and hard work to make a business success. This success formula has enabled him to help others, including ETSU students.

Jim Brooks' story starts in Rogersville, Tennessee, a town which instilled those great American values of hard work, perspiration, and inspiration. Jim, one of six children, learned about ETSU from his brothers, Ronald (ETSU '61) and Dan (ETSU '65).


The brothers share a love of football, especially Buccaneer football. In 1964, Jim finished high school and went into the military, serving in the U.S. Army, including a tour of duty in Viet Nam.

Jim came home, married the former Betty Sullivan, and started work at Tennessee Eastman. While working at Eastman, Jim decided to develop a landfill on property he owned in Hawkins County. The first garbage truck was purchased, and the initial contracts were established for the new business. From this humble beginning, TRASH, Inc., was developed. In 1989, the company was sold to Texas-based Browning Farris Industries, one of the nation's leaders in waste disposal.

Not one to be idle, Jim has continued in business with his sons and his brother Dan. Their company is East Tennessee Iron and Metal, Inc. It is truly a family business. Along with his work, Brooks has hobbies that include attending sporting events. He is especially interested in Emory and Henry College in Virginia and ETSU. His son, Jimmy, finished at E & H in 1992, Danny finishes this spring, and Tommy is a sophomore there.

His community activities are numerous, including past leadership of the Church Hill Jaycees and the Church Hill Ruritan Club. He is a Shriner, a 32nd degree Mason, and an active member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Jim serves our state as a member of the Tennessee Solid Waste Board. His involvement at Emory and Henry College includes serving on the Board of Visitors and Board of Trustees. The Virginia college honored Jim with the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 1995. At ETSU, Jim has been an active member of the ETSU Foundation. He and brother Dan helped to honor the memory of a longtime ETSU employee, Scotty L. Snyder. In addition. they sponsor an ETSU football scholarship in honor of Dan Brooks, who played football for ETSU.