Richard Shine, Manitoba Corporation, Lancaster, New York. Interivewed by Zachary Paul Levine, April 2019. Transcription by Speechpad.
Richard: Yeah. When I was in college, I joined the Air Force ROTC program and committed to a five-year stint in the Air Force. And I thought, “If I’m gonna be in the Air Force for five years, I might as well learn how to fly.” And so they sent me to pilot training and I became an Air Force pilot. I actually ended up serving six years’ active duty, because I was extended for a year in Vietnam, a year’s tour. And my goals and my plan was to become an airline pilot. I really didn’t wanna go into my father’s business, it was a pretty small business at that time, and not something I was wildly interested in. But unfortunately, the airlines hire people based on…the promotion system was based on seniority, not so much ability necessarily. But there were three or four years before I was released from active duty when the airlines hired hundreds of people. And I was flying all over the world in command of a four-engine airplane and wasn’t too keen on the idea of being a flight engineer on a 727. And I knew that my airline career would be a little bit rocky, I’d be laid off a bunch of times because I’d be at the bottom of the seniority list.
So I decided that, well, maybe I’d look at going into my father’s business. I went to his plant, the place they were operating out of, it was fairly small in those days, and one of the first things I saw were jet engine parts. I got pretty excited because I saw all those parts from engines. My father was pretty impressed that I knew what they were, jet turban blades, inlet docks, guide veins, things like that. And I said, “Well, you think they just taught us to push the power up and go fast, and pull back and go slow? We had to learn about engines and what they were.” So I got excited seeing that scrap. It really was kind of a turn-on. And I ended up…this is kind of a long story, but I ended up in the scrap business.
Interviewer: So, tell me about your father’s business also and what kind of…you know, you said it seemed like a small business and initially you weren’t turned on by it. But what do you remember about it from being a kid? And how did he get into it and the whole family?
Richard: Yeah, you know, it obviously started with my grandfather. And my grandfather emigrated from Europe. Yeah, I don’t know if it was Russia or Poland, kept changing borders and whatnot, but it was somewhere Russia, Poland. And so he emigrated in the early 1900s. Came to Buffalo and he couldn’t speak the language, couldn’t get a job, so he got a pushcart, like so many of the immigrants did, Jewish immigrants. And he went out and collected rags, wastepaper, and scrap metals. The story is so common and so similar, and I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times. But he worked like a dog, and finally got enough money to buy a horse and wagon. And because he had a horse and wagon, he was able to carry a lot more than he was with his little pushcart. So, you know, he worked long hours and, you know, basically six days a week, and eventually got the money to open up a shop.
And when he opened up the shop, that was in 1916, and he formed a company called S. Shine and Sons. At that time it was only one son, it was my uncle that was involved in it. And my father was the first one in our family to go to law school, or go to school, and he became a lawyer. But sadly for him, he graduated from law school in 1932 in the height of the Depression and couldn’t…he tried, he struggled for four or five years, couldn’t make any money in law, and thought, “Well, I have a family to support.” He had no kids then but he had a wife. And so he ended up going into my grandfather’s business. And that business became a very successful business, recycling mostly rags and wastepaper. And they did very well, they had a national reputation.
But unfortunately, after World War II, with the development of synthetic fibers, nylon, dacron, rayon, that type of thing, that business declined. Those were not recyclable at the point. I don’t know if they still are or not, I’m not really sure. But he looked around for something else to get into. They were recycling a little bit of scrap metal, and so he and his brother, my grandfather was gone by then, he and his brother…yeah, my grandfather. He and his brother got involved in a bit of a corrugated box business. They were selling seconds to the corrugated box industry. And so that was a mildly successful business. And my uncle wanted to continue with that, and so he and my dad parted ways. My dad decided to concentrate on recycling scrap, and he brought another fella in who was a stalwart in the industry, his name was Joe Baker, and it was interesting because Joe Baker called on my dad, he was working for…They were trying to establish a Jewish temple in the suburbs of Buffalo. There was a temple downtown but not so much in the suburbs.
And as my dad tells the story, Joe Baker came in to call on him to ask for a donation to establish this temple. So my father said that when he walked out of there, he had given a much bigger donation then he ever intended. And he thought, “This guy is a pretty good salesman.” And he ended up…they both worked on establishing the temple. My father actually found the land for it, one thing or another. And eventually, he hired Joe Baker, who was working for a manufacturing company, and he hired him to come in and help him establish this metals recycling business. Well, they decided to focus on non-ferrous metals. And to today, our businesses is pretty much non-ferrous metals. We don’t recycle any steel scrap like so many of the other people in our industry do.
But he and my dad had pretty good luck building that company. But it was all within about 10 miles of where they were located in Buffalo. And my dad was quite a bit older than Joe Baker, and so my father had no idea if I was gonna come into the company or not. I had a sister and she certainly wasn’t gonna come into. At that time, it was pretty much a males business, not females, and she had no interest in it. And I, by accident, as I mentioned previously, got involved in the company because I couldn’t do what I thought I wanted to do and that was fly airplanes. So I came in and I was still wanting to fly. So I bought a half interest in a little single-engine airplane and found out how expensive airplanes are. So I went to my father and this Joe Baker and I said, “You know, maybe we could use this for business.” And so they both were agreeable to that. And we started going out making one-day trips and knocking on doors and trying to find a business in other places. And one by one by one, we ended up getting…we had some success.
Interviewer: So you would fly around to different businesses?
Richard: Yeah. We would leave in the morning. Normally my father didn’t go with us, his job was more operations and running the facility, which was not a big job back in those days because we had a baling press and that’s all the equipment we had, two old trucks and a baling press. And we had no other machinery and equipment because my dad didn’t wanna spend money on it. He was quite a bit older. This was the early ’70s, he was pretty close to retirement. And he ended up retiring in ’73, so there was only a few years overlap there. But Joe Baker and I would climb in the airplane at 7:30 in the morning, we’d fly to a city, we’d stop, we would have a sales call, see somebody, we’d go back to the airport, we’d arrange for a box lunch, we’d eat lunch in the airplane, we’d fly somewhere else, make another call in the afternoon. And sometimes we’d even stop somewhere else, a third stop, on the way home to have dinner.
So in one day, we would hit a lot of places. And, you know, if you knock on enough doors, some of them are going to turn into business. And so basically, that’s what happened, and bit by bit we started to grow, and expand, and we started buying machinery. And today, I’m very proud to say, my oldest son, who came right out of college into the business, is chairman of ISRI, and we’re very excited about that. He’s just finishing his first year of a two-year term. And my youngest son is also in the company. So while our name is no longer S. Shine and Sons, it’s Manitoba Corporation, in essence, it is Shine and Sons because it’s me and my two boys.
Interviewer: Do either of them fly to make sales calls?
Richard: Well, Brian, the older one, was trying to follow in my footsteps. What I found out after I went to Air Force pilot training and signed a commitment letter for five years was that the reserve forces would send people to pilot training, you’d only have about a year-and-a-half commitment, a one-year commitment for pilot training, about a half-year commitment to get checked out of whatever airplane they were flying. And then they could go get their airline jobs or whatever, go to law school, whatever they wanted to do. And so Brian went through a private pilot course at college. He went to Bowling Green University, they had an airport right on-site, and he got his private pilot’s license. But when he went to take the physical for the Air Force, four years of school, his eyes had deteriorated. And they told him he could be a navigator but he said, “Thanks, but no thanks.” And so Brian flew a little bit. But now we go somewhere in the airplane, he sits in the back and I sit up front and do the work and he reads “The Wall Street Journal” or whatever and answers emails.
Interviewer: Do you have a memory of growing up in your father’s or visiting your grandfather’s yard?
Richard: Yes, yes, I do. There used to be bales and bales of rags. And I just remember those bales were so huge. And we didn’t have forklifts in those days. And my grandfather was quite elderly. I mean, he passed away when I was about 5. So I only have just a little bit of memory of him. But he would take a two-wheel cart and handle, I don’t, maybe 1,000-pound bale of rags. And even when he was in his 70s, he was a very strong, powerful man. And, you know, people worked hard in those days. And, you know, today we have…I can’t tell you how many fork trucks, you know, and stuff. And there was no way anybody would handle 1,000-pound bale of copper or 2,000-pound bale of copper without a fork truck.
Interviewer: You know, one of the things I’m trying to wrap my head around is, especially for that first generation of…I just call them scrappers because it’s easy. For that first generation, how strong they had to be to basically carry around bags of this stuff all the time. Do you have a memory of kind of the first time you realized just kind of how heavy all of this was?
Richard: Well, like I said, I mean, these bales, I was a little boy and they were monstrous. And I would see the few workers they had just carrying them. They’d take them out of the baling press, they had an upstroke baler. And they would, you know, obviously bale them. And they would fall out of the baling press, and then onto a two-wheel cart and then somebody would pick them up. And that, you know, was a science of balance and leverage. And how they were able to do that, I mean, I’m sure I couldn’t have done it, you know, even when I was in my 20s or 30s. So, yeah, it was quite a thing to see people working like that and long hours, you know, probably very low pay.
And our industry has changed so much over the years. I had the opportunity to make a presentation to an electric utility company, and the person that asked me I said, “What would you like me to talk about?” And so he said, “Well, why don’t you talk about how to select a scrap dealer?” And this was probably in the late ’80s, maybe early ’90s, there was a popular television program then called “Sanford and Sons.” And so everybody had the idea of kind of a shady guy who ran a little scrap yard with people coming, peddlers coming in and whatnot. And that’s what they thought of as a scrap recycling company. And so my presentation revolved around the fact that people had, you know, huge investments in machinery and equipment, most everybody in the industry were college-educated and running professional organizations. And so it was so, so different from what it had been, you know, back 25 or 30 years before. And that’s what I think has really kind of happened in the industry.
One of my earliest memories, which was just a kind of personal, fun thing, was I was standing on the loading dock one day. I was probably 7 or 8 years old. And they brought in a boxcar to load, they were shipping out a load for rags, I’m pretty sure, maybe scrap paper. And the engineer saw me stand on the dock and asked me if I wanted to go for a ride, you know, in the engine. So there was this big switching area behind us. So anyway, he took me in the locomotive and he actually let me drive it, which was pretty neat for a 7 or 8-year-old kid. And it was really, really fun and very exciting for me. And I went to a…they had an anniversary of an old railroad station up in the Northern Adirondacks. And they had basically the same kind of engine. I got to climb up in the cabin and it just…I remembered it, it came back to me, that memory, and it looked pretty familiar. It was pretty cool.
Interviewer: That’s amazing. So you got in the business in the late ’60s?
Richard: It was 1970.
Interviewer: 1970. So that…excuse me. So that coincides with, you know, essentially a decade-and-a-half of intense environmental legislation. How did you participate in those changes? How did you see those changes affect your business and the industry? And kind of looking back on it now, where do you see it going now with the kind of the rise of environmental thinking?
Richard: Well, when I came into the company in 1970, we were not considered, you know, a real business, if I can say that. There was prejudice against junk dealers, which is what we were called. We went to borrow some money from a bank that we’ve been doing business with for 50 years. We’d never borrowed any money, but we wanted to buy a piece of equipment. And the investment committee turned us down because they said, “Oh, they’re junk dealers, you know, just don’t know.” But I was fortunate, through my career, to go from a junk dealer to a scrap recycler and very well-respected industry. And that’s been the real turnover.
We had problems, not so much environmentally in the ’70s. The biggest problem our company had in 1970 was our location, Buffalo, New York, because industry…We have five steel mills there, and there were a lot of periphery businesses and we were, remember, non-ferrous, so we didn’t sell to the steel mills or anything like that. But there was companies that made motors, companies that made lifting magnets, there was a lot of copper involved in that, and we were doing quite a bit of aluminium business. But we had 20 major industrial plants when I came into the company. And one by one by one they closed, they went down to the Sun Belt in those days, it was long before China or Mexico, but they left the area and we kept shrinking. And again, we were very fortunate that we were able to get out of Buffalo and find other things and buy machinery equipment, and we’ve been able to expand and grow.
But the environmental problem didn’t really surface until probably mid-’80s or the early ’80s, perhaps, when it became known that it was an environmental issue. We bought a facility in 1990. And because we had two locations in Western New York, plus a St. Louis location and we still operate the St. Louis plant to this day, we went out there in the mid-’80s, the early ’80s actually. But we bought this facility in Lancaster, New York, which is a suburb of Buffalo, and probably arm-wrestled with the seller for half an hour. They were in the scrap business, so we knew them quite well. They had just built a new facility, they’d gotten out of scrap and into steel, they sold new steel. And so it was easy, you know, to work with them. We agreed on a price, and it took us two years to close because of the environmental considerations. And it had been a scrap yard, we had some concern about it. We had three different environmental testing companies come, and there was a little bit of remediation that had to be done.
But it became a very serious problem and banks would not give you a mortgage through the ’80s. We had difficulty getting a mortgage on that property when we first bought it because they were…In spite of the three studies and an environmental attorney’s review clearing the property and saying that we should go ahead with it, the bank was reluctant, we had to sign off something and exclude them. So environmental issues became a big thing. But it sort of worked in our favor to some extent because we had all these studies about our property. And a lot of people that were selling…industrial plants that were selling scrap metals felt that they wanted to do environmental audits. And our property was very easy to audit because we had all this documentation that it was environmentally clean. And so we used that as a marketing tool to try to get additional business.
Interviewer: I wanna go back a little bit to when you got into the business, you said that your father was dealing significantly with aircraft material.
Richard: Well, there was a Curtiss-Wright plant, there were three Curtiss-Wright plants, actually three in Buffalo. It’s part of the 20, 21, 22 industrial plants that we had. And they were subcontracting with Pratt & Whitney making parts for Pratt & Whitney’s jet engines. And that was the industrial scrap that we were able to purchase, high-temp alloys, reasonably profitable item commodity. But like I said, one by one by one, those plans closed and left.
Interviewer: So, where did you end up focusing your attention and where’s that now?
Richard: Well, we gradually became a…we still deal with some industrial activity, some industrial accounts. Fortunately, in our area, we have a major brass mill. And that’s Aurubis now, it started out as American Brass and it went through a number of owners, but that’s something that’s kind of helped us quite a bit. And we went through, you know, some downsizing issues. Because of our scrap supply, companies kept closing and leaving, and it was getting less and less. And we gradually started to buy more from dealers. We bought chopping equipment, we became…We were the first company in New York State to chop wire. This was back in the mid-’70s. And we were chopping aluminum wire and cable at that point in time. And we got out of that in the early ’80s, and then back into it probably in the late ’80s with chopping copper. So that’s one of the big things that we do, we process all kinds of industrial wires, and cables, and transformers, and motor windings, and that type of material.
Interviewer: Can you talk about the technical side of that? Because the thing that kind of…I think that people, a lot of our visitors will kind of not understand, and for me, it’s also…I’m just amazed by this. I’ve been working on this project for about four or five years. I don’t come from a scrap background at all and I’ve sort of had my eyes open to this incredible part of the economy. And copper in particular, non-ferrous in particular, is really interesting to me because, as I understand it, it’s often literally woven together with other materials. So how do you…especially when you’re dealing with all this copper wiring, and I’m thinking in particular buildings that are being rewired these days, which you must be seeing a tremendous amount, you know, an oversupply of this scrap, how do you deal with all of this material that’s wrapped in plastic, wrapped in, you know, several layers of material? How do you do that economically?
Richard: Well, it’s the old way of processing copper wire was to, you know, have a big pile outside in the yard, throw gasoline on it, light a match and run like hell. I mean, that’s the way they were doing it. And the pile would burn itself out. Now, you had burnt copper and you cleaned it up a little bit, shake the ash out. And that’s the way scrap dealers were processing copper wire back then. So we probably bought our first wire burning incinerator back in the ’80s because of the reason you mentioned earlier and that’s environmental considerations and pollution because it became illegal to do open air burning. So we bought an EPA approved wire incinerator, and that works great for certain types of copper wire.
Other wire can be…there’s really three ways to process copper wire, and one is incineration. We, today, have three devices that are EPA-approved with afterburners for removing insulation. And, of course, another old-fashion way is cable stripping. And there’s all kinds of companies that manufacture equipment for stripping cables. And that works great if you have a big diameter cable, maybe an inch or bigger than that, you strip the coating off of it and you get nice, bright, shiny copper inside.
But back in…well, probably in the ’70s, the chopping business was developed. And it was developed primarily for small-diameter cable control wire generated by the automotive industry and various industries. And that wire had PVC insulation. And PVC, polyvinyl chloride, when you burn that, it combines with the hydrogen in the air and it forms hydrochloric acid, which ruins your incinerator, it eats your incinerator. So they had to develop a method that was…those cables and wires were too small to run through a stripper. You couldn’t burn it. And so they had to develop a way to remove the insulation on some of these plastics that were dangerous to light on fire. So that’s where the chopping industry began. And the people were very, very clever that started it, and they developed…they adopted granulators which were used in the plastics industry for recycling plastics, which grinds up the wire and separates the insulation from the metal.
So then the trick was, “Well, we’ve got this mix of bare copper and various grades of plastic, how do we get the copper out of the plastic?” And they turned to the farming industry that had developed equipment for separating wheat from chaff. And it uses, it’s something called an airDAC, which uses the specific gravity of the metal versus a specific gravity of the insulation to be able to make the separation. And it’s an inclined plane, it’s a screen with holes in it that air is blowing through the screen, which makes the product on the screen light, and then it vibrates. And it vibrates, so the heavier material moves to the top end of the screen, and that’s either bare aluminium or bare copper, and the lighter material, which would be the plastic, moves to the bottom of the screen. And so you pull that off, you pull the nice clean copper off. In the middle, you have a little mixture, what’s called midlands, which has both insulation and metal. You recycle that, and eventually, there’s no more midlands, you get, you know, the last squeal of the pig out of it.
So that was, you know, quite a development. And there’s lots of people in the industry now, this rig behind me sitting on the floor, I’ll bet you there’s at least three mini-mills that handle small quantities, you know, for a small dealer who generates some insulation, doesn’t wanna sell it to a bigger dealer because he doesn’t have as much control, he won’t get, you know, the full value out of it perhaps. So they buy these little mini-mills. But they aren’t very efficient in the bigger operations. And we’re not one of the really big wire choppers, we’re just a medium size. But the type of equipment we have is far more efficient than some of the small ones.
Interviewer: Were you ever involved or did your business directly create any types of technologies that you’ve seen used in other parts of the industry?
Richard: Yes, we did. We were working with an aluminum company back in the ’80s. And I’m not gonna name names, but they actually were the reason we opened our St. Louis facility. Because we had done such a good job for them in the Buffalo area in the East, they wanted us to have a presence in the middle of the U.S. That particular company didn’t have a plant in the St. Louis area, but they had one pretty close by or several close by in different places. So, we ended up, they gave us a contract because they were buying a lot of copper, they didn’t wanna use scrap, and they were buying copper cathode for the alloying purposes. Because aluminium is not pure in most cases, it’s an alloy made of many different metals, copper being one of the alloying materials for aluminium.
And I know this particularly because the skin on an airplane is made from an alloy called 2024, which is about 4.5% copper or something like that. But they couldn’t use a full plate cathode, it was too big to go in their furnaces, it weighed 300 pounds. So our job was to cut the cathode. And that’s what we went and started out in St. Louis doing. And we did that, we operated doing that for a couple of years. And then they found that they could buy copper ingot for less money than cathode. But the ingots were massive, heavy ingots and our job was to cut them on the notch, it was called notch bar ingot. And you don’t see it anymore. It’s not a product that is very prevalent today.
And so we were cutting these ingots up, and they would put them in the furnace. Well, the problem is copper melts at a much higher temperature than aluminium. So they would dump a bunch of these heavy ingots in, and the idea if you have a speck of, so let’s say 4.1% to 4.5% copper, you don’t wanna be at 4.5%, you wanna be at 4.1%. So you tried to be a little bit low. When they made a big heat, they would have some of their own scrap that they’d put back in the furnace where there was a little copper in that. So they’d underestimate, or they’d underprogram, or put in the furnace the amount of copper that they felt they needed to try to be down a little bit below.
But then eventually, it would melt and they would sample it, and it would turn out that, you know, they needed to add some copper. So they might figure that they needed to add 50 pounds of copper. Well, now they’ve got all these different size pieces of ingots, they put it on the scale, they had to do a bunch of fooling around, figure out exactly 50 pounds, they throw it in the furnace. But again, because copper melted at so much lower temperature, these massive ingots would sink to the bottom of the furnace, and it would sit there, and sit there, and sit there. They get impatient, they throw some more in to try to bring this back up, then they chewed through the top end of it, they’d have to put some aluminum in to dilute it and get back into it.
And so they came to us and they said, “We have a problem.” And they said, “We need something better for trimming out the copper additions. And can you help us?” And we sorta looked at, we said, “We’re scrap recyclers, we don’t have a lab or anything.” They said, “You don’t need a lab. We have a lab and we’re gonna assign a team to you to develop a product that will help us get on chemistry quicker.” So they did, they gave us a purchasing guy, a metallurgist, and a health and safety guy, and us. And we formed the team to try to find something. Well, we knew from the get-go that the product they needed, one, it was our copper choppings coming off our chopping line. Because they’re small, they’re tiny, there’s lots of surface area, they would dissolve and go into solution very fast. But it’s messy and how do you introduce it into the furnace? That was the trick.
So we thought, “Well, you know what? We could put it into a plastic bag.” And working with our team, we quickly determined that a 10-pound package was ideal because the math is so easy, you need 60 pounds, you get 6 of these packages. So we went out, we got some heat-sealing equipment, we bought some really heavy plastic bags, we put the material into the bag, we heat sealed it and we thought, “We’re finished.” But sadly, it didn’t work, there was a problem. And the problem with the plastic was that when you threw it in the furnace, it smelled, it had an odor to it. The other problem was that you trapped air inside the bag and you got condensation. And they were very worried about putting any kind of wet scrap in a furnace because you can have an explosion. So that was a total failure. So we’re back to the drawing board.
And the next product we tried, I think, was a paper bag like a coffee bag. And so we filled that up with 10 pounds. And, you know, we had a wire tie or something, I don’t know, I’ve forgotten. And the problem with that, that never even got out of our plant because we tried dropping it from, you know, six, eight feet in the air and the bag would split, you’d have a mess on the floor. And we knew that wasn’t gonna fly. So then we tried these mailing tubes, like you get calendars and things in, they make them all different sizes. And we bought a tube that was a fiber tube that was about three inches in diameter and maybe a foot long, something like that. It held 10 pounds of copper perfectly in there. And we were told that these guys were having a ball flinging these things into the furnace.
But the problem that…what happened with that was that that fiber was heavy enough that even in the molten aluminum, it would sink under the surface and then the fiber would dissolve and the copper in there would solidify into the point of being another ingot, a small ingot, and then it would sit on the bottom for a long time. So that was a failure as well. And then we finally hit on the cloth bag idea. We went out, we bought these cloth bags that have, you know, a weave to ’em so they could breathe, there was no drop condensation. And that was a winner because that bag hit the surface of the metal, the bag disintegrated. There’s very little slag [SP] created, the copper drifted into the melt, and they were on chemistry almost instantly compared to the old way. So that was extremely well received.
Sadly, we didn’t think we could patent it because it was a packaging idea more than anything else. We did trademark it. But when word got out and it was so effective, our competitors did start doing the same thing, packaging the same thing. But today, we do sell quite a bit of product still that’s packaged in that manner. And we’ve picked up some other metals that we package in the same way because it’s equally effective. So you asked about product innovation, that’s the thing we’re most proud of. And that happened sometime in the mid-’90s, we did that.
Interviewer: Just adjust this. I’m almost done. Do you ever work with copper outside of the business?
Richard: Well, I’ve done a little copper wiring in my day.
Interviewer: Not making sculptures or anything like that.
Richard: No, no, no, I’m not an electrician or anything but…
Interviewer: So you’ve been involved in helping to foster the community of scrap recyclers regionally, nationally, and so on. How did you come to be involved with ISRI? And also just kind of even growing up, what do you remember about relationships between different scrapping families and businesses where you grew up?
Richard: Well, before I came into the business, my memory is not too…I don’t have much of a memory of the recycling, other than the things I’ve already shared as a little boy. I didn’t really work for my father as a kid very much, I did other things. I was a landscaper, I worked in retail clothing, summers, and selling men’s clothing, things like that. So I didn’t really work at the company very much. And so my memories, I don’t remember my father talking too much about it. But my memories are not really great as a young adult. Most of my memories are after we got into the business and whatnot. But it’s certainly been a good business. By the time I came in, my family were members of NASMI, which was the forerunner of ISRI, but it was a non-ferrous association. And we started going to conventions. And I remember my wife and I would have a good time at conventions, we’d go, we’d meet people, we’d go out to dinner, we’d have fun, we’d do different things, and we looked forward to the conventions every year.
I did not have any real desire to get politically involved. I was very active in the Air Force Reserve for the first 20 years of my business experience, from ’70 to ’90, and I was very fortunate to become an Air Force colonel. And that was my activity outside of the business. But trying to make the company successful, trying to grow the business, and being involved with the Air Force reserves, I did not have time to participate in ISRI. But I did give ISRI my son who’s now chairman. So, you know, and he just loves it, he lives it and breathes it. And it’s been a good thing for us, especially in view of the fact that a lot of our scrap supply has changed from industrial plants, public utilities, and things like that to other scrap dealers.
And that really has justified the involvement that my son, Brian, has had all these years, so. And we went right through all the changes of the name change of NASMI and then the merger of the two associations into ISRI. And my younger son has followed in his brother’s footsteps, to some extent he’s been active, not nationally, but in our chapter. But he’s gotten way more involved in electronics recycling. And that’s become a big part of our business. We’re helping manage a company, we have a management contract with a company that’s very involved electronics recycling.
Interviewer: In the United States or abroad?
Richard: Yes, yes.
Interviewer: So did scrap recycling enter into any of your work in the Air Force? Richard: No, no. I was strictly a pilot flying airplanes, instructing in airplanes, giving check rides, deploying, you know, moving cargo, material, machinery, people around the world. So, yeah, no, it had nothing to do.