ISRI2022 drew to a close March 24 in Las Vegas with calls to build on the lessons learned from a difficult period in history. “It has been great to get back together, back to business, back to networking with friends and colleagues,” says Stephen Moss of Stanton A. Moss Inc., convention chair. “We saw one of the most impressive exhibit halls we’ve ever had, and we’ve had amazing workshops with great speakers.”

More than 5,200 people attended the March 21-24 events at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, as well as the closing-night get-together at Drai’s Beachclub & Nightclub on the Las Vegas Strip. Moss and others singled out Chuck Carr, ISRI vice president of convention and meetings, for his work to put it all together, and his two decades’ worth of effort with ISRI events.

Brian Shine of Manitoba Corp., ISRI chair in 2018-20, spoke at the closing session about overcoming the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the cancellation of ISRI2020. “[The] industry still faces challenges with fluctuating commodity values; with burdensome regulations; with supply chain scenarios, which challenge the movement of our goods and services; and much more,” he says. “We must be able to leverage our broad influence at the state, local, and national levels. We must seek new ways to work together and learn from each other across regions and across commodities, leveraging our talents and experiences for a stronger industry.”

ISRI Chair Brian Henesey of Rocky Mountain Recycling, Immediate Past Chair Gary Champlin of Champlin Tire Recycling, and Shine presented the 2022 Young Executive of the Year Award to Jacqueline Lotzkar of Pacific Metals Recycling International. “I thank ISRI and the board for investing in the Young Executives Council,” she says. “I would say [to young executives] jump in, volunteer, and find us to learn from, because the more you put into the industry, the more you’ll get out of it.”

The gathering acknowledged Brandi Harleaux of South Post Oak Recycling Center and Dan Garvin of Colorado Iron & Metal,  the 2020 and 2021 Young Executive Award winners, respectively.

Champlin presented the 2022 Design for Recycling® Award to Sonoco Products Co. for its EnviroSense® PaperBlister™ packaging. Sabrina Dixon-Ridges, the company’s global sustainability manager for business strategy alignment, accepted the honor. “We are super excited that ISRI has stepped out to promote and support and encourage packaging converters such as ourselves to Design for Recycling® and contribute significantly to the promotion of recycling,” she says.

Cara Silletto, president of workforce consulting firm Magnet Culture and author of Staying Power: Why Your Employees Leave and How to Keep Them Longer, delivered the keynote speech, Workforce Wake-up Call: How Many Must Leave Before Retention Is a True Priority?

Silletto said the so-called Great Resignation, in which workers are voluntarily leaving their jobs since the beginning of 2021, has four causes: fatigue; pay; new opportunities; and company loyalty. “We need to analyze and target our retention initiatives to make sure that we understand these people that we are losing,” she says.

She suggested pay raises are only part of a successful strategy for retaining workers. Finding mentors for new hires, flexible scheduling, and encouraging employees to refer other people to your company are other tactics that can work.

“You need to take a serious look at your recruiting process and make sure that you are expediting it again,” she says. “Operationalize that and figure out how can we take it from two weeks down to two days. Or, you know, even if you must do background checks and drug screening and things like that, don’t let those hold you up. I have clients who are looking for new vendors that are faster for drug screening and background checks,” she adds.

Recycling stayed the course on the rollercoaster ride through fluctuating markets, and ISRI members keep working to demonstrate how recyclers are solution seekers and problem solvers who are a vital part of sustainable environmental solutions. Meeting new people, telling their stories, and gathering insights that make their businesses and ISRI better by working together are crucial. ISRI2023 will be April 17-23, 2023, at Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn. More information will be available in Scrap News and at ISRI.org as it becomes available.

Photos courtesy of ISRI. Featured photo caption: ISRI Past Chair Brian Shine presents Jacqueline Lotzkar with the 2022 Young Executive of the Year Award. Body photo caption: Sonoco’s Sabrina Dixon-Ridges accepts the 2022 Design for Recycling® Award.

 

Dan Hockensmith

Dan Hockensmith

I'm a native Ohioan who since 2014 has called Maryland home. My background includes print, broadcast, and digital journalism; government contracting; marketing communications; and nonprofit advocacy.