James Waste was born in Berkeley, California, a third-generation Californian. He played football and rugby at UC Berkeley, graduating with a degree in business administration.
During his twenty-year career with the Bechtel Corporation, Waste worked as a field construction engineer and project manager on major power plants, refineries, and pipelines in the United States and abroad. Later, while pursuing a more leisurely livelihood as a dealer in high-end antiques, he was recruited by the CIA to help evaluate the physical collapse of the Soviet infrastructure, which led to three decades as a covert operative in a fast-changing world.
James Waste and his wife Marilyn raised five children, and live in Californiaís Sierra Nevada mountains.
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