ISRI members and staff braved the summer heat to attend the 2022 ITAD Summit July 26-27at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla. Their goal was to share the importance of ISRI and the recycling industry to companies in the Information Technology Asset Disposition (ITAD) space and how the two industries can work together.
Each year, the ITAD Summit attracts about 900 attendees who work or are interested in the ITAD industry. The two-day session features keynote speakers, panels, and sessions discussing best practices, risk mitigation, and growth opportunities for the industry. Attendees can preschedule one-on-one meetings, participate in group meet-ups, or go to evening receptions to drive new business.
“One of the summit’s biggest accomplishments is that it provides a space for attendees to set up these individual meetings and network over a two-day period,” says Billy Johnson, ISRI’s chief lobbyist. “You can set up a 15-minute appointment with someone else in the industry who you may not know and talk about business or what’s going on in the ITAD space.”
The summit is also an ideal spot for ISRI members, particularly those in electronics. There’s a lot of crossover and partnership opportunities for ITADs and recyclers as they both work on giving outdated or undesired electronics a new purpose.
“ISRI attends the summit each year to meet ITAD companies, tell them about the benefits of ISRI, and encourage them to join,” says Adam Shine, president of Brockport, N.Y.-based electronics recycler Sunnking. “We highlight some of the issues coming down the pipe that these companies may not be aware of like legislation and other potential changes that could impact their businesses.”
ISRI hosted two sessions at the ITAD Summit designed to show participants the benefits of ISRI membership. The two focuses were how ISRI provides networking and relationships with established recyclers, and access to information about local, state, and federal legislation that could impact their companies.
“We had the chance to highlight ISRI and why it’s important to be connected and gain a better understanding of what’s happening legislatively and beyond that could impact attendees’ businesses,” Shine says.
Shine monitored the first session, “Creating Alliances/Partnerships between ITADs and Recyclers for Maximizing Profitability.” Speakers included Mike Schuler, president and CEO of Veterans Alliance Resourcing; Ray Zielke, vice president of sales and marketing at Universal Recycling Technologies; and Chris York, vice president of business development at evTerra. Panelists discussed how and why ITAD companies and recyclers can benefit from relationships with one another, and ways these relationships add to both parties’ bottom lines.
“ITAD companies will focus on refurbishment and resell, but what are they going to do with the gear they can’t sell? They can partner with a certified recycler to recycle the material and hopefully everyone gets value from it,” Shine explains.
Electronics recyclers often don’t handle refurbishment or resale, which afford opportunities for ITADs to take those materials off their hands. “It’s really a win-win,” Johnson says. “We were encouraging the ITAD companies in attendance to think big. An ISRI membership gives those companies the opportunity to network with the people who could one day be their partners.” A membership at ISRI opens the door to relationships and potential partnerships with variety of companies.
Kevin Lamar, vice president of business development at Northern Shores Services and vice-chair of ISRI’s Electronics Division, moderated the second session, “May the Force Be with You: External Forces Impacting ITAD Businesses.” Speakers included Craig Boswell, president of HOBI International Inc.; Mark Weintraub, general counsel at Reserve Management Group; and Rike Sandlin, founder and CEO of Rivervista Partners. The speakers discussed current government actions that affect ITAD operations including the Basel Convention, the Competes Act, Right-to-Repair legislation, First Sale Doctrine, and other issues.
“A lot of the ITAD companies in the audience are still young startups, and they may not be thinking about these emerging and current issues,” Johnson explains. “But even if they aren’t aware of them, those issues are still out there. We recommended they join ISRI to learn more about these issues and what ISRI is doing to advocate on their behalf.”
In addition to those sessions, ISRI members participated in other panels at the summit including Boswell, Sandlin, and ITAD Director Karen Fedder and Russ Ernst, executive vice president of products and technology, from Blancco. “They talked about issues like data destruction and why that’s going to be more important for the industry as time goes on,” Johnson says. “Data protection isn’t just a service, in some places it’s a requirement and if you don’t provide that service to your customers, you may be in violation of various state laws.”
ISRI representatives left the summit with a tremendous number of leads and business cards from interested ITAD companies. They’ve already seen some of those leads come through. Shine recall seeing plenty of new faces on the Electronic Division’s post-ITAD Zoom meeting.
“We told people about the ISRI Electronics Division during the summit,” Shine says. “And for that first Zoom call back [from ITAD], we invited non-members we met during the summit who had expressed interest in attending. We had some new faces on the call, and we’re excited about the possibility of bringing in some new members as a result of the show. We got a lot of traffic at our booth and quite a few business cards.”
Photos Courtesy of ISRI.