ISRI’s Commodity Roundtables Forum will take place Sept. 22-24 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago. The annual event attracts processors, brokers, traders, and other recycling professionals from around the world. Register here.

Global demand for copper continues to expand considering this year’s copper cathode prices. The Copper Roundtable on Thursday, Sept. 23, will discuss how recyclers can identify and tap into new markets, and how to adapt to changing demand requirements.

Speaker Edward Meir was named the most accurate price forecaster for LME base metals in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2018, and finished second in 2013, as ranked by Metal Bulletin, a leading metals trade publication. His Commodity Research Group has been retained by StoneX (formerly known as INTL FCStone) as an independent research consultant for base and precious metals.

How did you get into the recycling industry?

Recycling was an offshoot activity of my regular job as a nonferrous trader in the 1990s and 2000s. As our business moved from primary to scrap, I found myself drawn into this world and spent several years brokering aluminum scrap cargos (used beverage cans in particular). Outside of that, I have been in the commodities ever since college, starting with sugar, cocoa, and coffee in the 1980s and ending with who knows what? During all this time, I maintained my interest in commodity research, which I have to this day.

What about metals trading drew you in to the business and continues to interest you?

I fell into the business by chance. When I was at the commodities department at Drexel Burnham in the ’80s, a client there approached me to see if I would be interested in joining their metals team in New York. It sounded like a great opportunity, and I spent nine years at the firm, trading specialty steel products, tin, and aluminum. Eventually, the firm (Trans World Metals) became one of the largest nonferrous traders in Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was an amazing learning experience.

I guess what drew me to metals, and to commodities in general, is the fact that this is an asset class that is essential to the workings of the global economy. Commodity prices will inevitably go up and down, but there will always be a need for them no matter what their valuations are. It’s an exciting field and one that will stay in place forever.

What are you looking forward to at this year’s Commodity Roundtables?

As usual, interacting with friends, clients and colleagues and exchanging views on how they see things going into a very changed world.

How did you get involved with ISRI?

I have been dealing with ISRI and Joe Pickard [ISRI’s chief economist and director of commodities] for more than 10 years now. Joe kindly invited me to be on several roundtables. I always enjoy ISRI conferences. Many of our clients attend them, so it is a good opportunity to meet clients as well. One of my favorite things at the annual ISRI Convention and Expo is having a chance to listen to notable U.S. leaders who have spoken there, including former President George W. Bush, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former Secretary of State Bob Gates, among others.

Chris Greenfield, another speaker on the Copper Panel, is vice president of Federal Metal Company, a copper-based secondary smelting company in Bedford, Ohio. The company manufactures and supplies brass and bronze ingots to the foundry industry. The Cleveland Plain Dealer recognized the company as a Top Workplace in 2011.

Moderator Brian Shine, immediate past chairman of ISRI, is CEO of Manitoba Corp., a 105-year-old nonferrous metals recycler focusing on copper scrap with plants in Lancaster, N.Y., and St Louis. He also actively manages two joint venture companies engaged in various recycling-related activities.

How did you get into the recycling industry?

I am fourth generation in my company. I started working here during high school and continued throughout college, so I’ve been hooked on the industry for a while. I graduated from college on a Saturday and started working here that following Monday. I was supposed to work in New York City for a year with a world-famous copper trader, but he sadly passed away just before I was to start training with him.

What about metals trading drew you in to the business and continues to interest you?

I love the fast paced, never two-days-are-the-same aspect of metals trading. There’s always so much to learn. I find the people that make up our industry fascinating and willing to share with younger industry participants.

What are some of the topics that may be covered during your panel this year?

The current copper climate is fascinating. There is so much positive and bullish news about copper and at the same time, a significant number of challenges in sourcing, processing, and selling copper scrap. Come to our session and hear from two of our industry’s finest professionals as we discuss all things copper!

How did you get involved with ISRI?

I immediately launched into our family business post college graduation, and I realized I needed to get involved with industry participants outside of my family business to grow and develop personally and professionally. I started at the chapter level and eventually became Empire Chapter president, which led me to get involved nationally. I loved the people and the work that our trade association provides for our industry. I encourage everyone to get more involved as members drive this industry forward in concert with an incredible staff that is so committed to promoting and protecting our vital and essential industry.

What are you looking forward to at this year’s Commodity Roundtables?

Due to the pandemic, there have been very few opportunities to connect in-person with existing contacts, or for that matter make new friends. I am super excited to be able to participate in this year’s commodity roundtable meetings and look forward to seeing you all there!

First photo: Edward Meir. Photo courtesy of Edward Meir. Second photo: Brian Shine. Photo courtesy of ISRI.

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.