In 2014, EFO began its Public Servant Award to recognize an individual embodying the traits and attributes of the consummate public servant, i.e., an individual who routinely goes above and beyond his or her job description in providing service to the regulated community in general and EFO members in particular.  In 2016, the award was renamed the James R. Barnett Public Servant Award to honor EFO’s founding President in recognition of his outstanding leadership and protecting natural resources.  He exhibited the attributes of a true public servant and advocate for comprehensive and insightful management of these resources.  

A public servant’s qualifying actions for the award can be in the nature of a career of excellent service or for a single meaningful act, or any combination of the two.  Local, state and federal government employees, officers, and elected officials are eligible for the award.  Nominations must be made by an EFO member, be in writing and provide a detailed statement as to the basis of the nomination, including example(s) of the nominee’s actions warranting the award.  EFO’s Chairman appoints an Awards Committee charged with recommending one or more individuals to the Board for recognition at each year’s annual meeting.

2020:  Fenton Rood

Fenton Rood is currently the Assistant Division Director for the Land Protection Division of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. But Fenton has a long history of environmental mentorship in Oklahoma.  As early as 1974, Fenton provided Oklahoma leadership in reuse and recycling of natural resources to all who would pay attention.  Recognized by his tiny Datsun pickup with a bed full of recycled paper, Fenton made the rounds within the small group of environmental professionals active in State government, reminding all of the importance of environmental stewardship.

Always a quiet voice of reason to the regulated community and a willing and helpful guide for solid and hazardous waste management, Fenton has also been considered the right problem solver while at the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Environmental Services leading to the formation of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. He has served as a senior manager in the regulatory programs for solid waste management and hazardous waste management. He helped develop the Superfund program in Oklahoma to clean up abandoned hazardous waste facilities.

Fenton has also been active on the EFO Activities Committee since its inception.  He has brought hundreds of suggestions to Committee members for speakers and topics throughout over 25 years of Conference planning.  He has also brought his talents in singing and guitar playing to our Conferences and programs.

For over twenty years Fenton has also been involved in the organic foods business. He and his wife have operated natural foods stores and restaurants. He earned a B.A. in Geography, and an M.P.H. in Environmental Health, both from the University of Oklahoma.

He is also an adjunct faculty in OU’s Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability, and Civil Engineering and Environmental Science. He taught at the University of Phoenix.  At Rose State College, he currently he teaches Introduction to Environmental Science, Environmental Science Laboratory, Industrial Hygiene, and Solid and Hazardous Waste Management.

Fenton is the President of the Tree Bank Foundation and past president of Keep Oklahoma Beautiful.  He is also a member of the Medical Marijuana Food Safety Standards Board.

Public Servant Award Winners