New Upper Midwest Chapter President Renee Toy has been in the recycling industry since she was a child, but even she was nervous upon being elected chapter president. In this edition of Faces of ISRI, Toy discusses her background, why she was initially concerned about her new role, and how she’s using a team approach within the chapter to combat those nerves.
Tell me about your background and how you ended up working in the recycling industry.
I grew up in a family-owned recycling yard in Eau Claire, Wis., and I was fortunate enough that my father taught me everything I know and then some. I joined Spectro Alloys Corp. in 2008 and now serve as supply chain director. I can operate just about any piece of equipment, drive a semi-trailer truck, torch, and identify ferrous and nonferrous items as well as prepare them to foundry packages. I would have never guessed that all the lessons I learned growing up would have taken me to where I am today.
What was your introduction to ISRI, and how did you get involved with your local chapter?
I joined the Upper Midwest Chapter as secretary maybe four years ago. The primary reason I joined the chapter was because I thought it’d be a good idea for Spectro Alloys to be more involved with ISRI. The chapter also needed more participation, so I did my part and stepped up to the plate.
Tell me about your journey to become chapter president. Did you always have chapter leadership in mind, or did something spark that interest?
Honestly, I was perfectly content in my role as secretary, but Neil Byce and David Borsuk strongly encouraged me to take Neil’s place in chapter leadership as he moved up to the national level.
When I found out I was the new chapter president I felt a bit of panic. I want to give 100% but between my current role as director of the supply chain at Spectro and trying to maintain work-life balance, I was afraid of the time commitment. Fortunately, I have a great support network, and we have great chapter members that help pick up the slack, and we all work really well as a team. I am honored and grateful for the opportunity.
How has your career thus far prepared you for this new journey as chapter president?
I have more than 40 years of recycling industry experience, so I have seen the changes and challenges this industry has faced over time. My background gives me the confidence that I can fulfill this role to the utmost of my abilities. I’m excited to lead the chapter’s seven-member board of directors and fulfill its mission of promoting safe, economically sustainable, and environmentally responsible recycling through networking, advocacy, and education within its Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin footprint. I hope to accomplish whatever needs to be done during my tenure as chapter president.
When you’re not working or engaged in ISRI-related activities, what do you enjoy doing?
I live on a farm in Wisconsin, so I enjoy just simple country life where I can check out and have zero stress.