Just like her family business, Rochelle Stoddard knows metal. Taking over the helm of ISRI member Berman Brothers, Inc. in 2016, Rochelle now leads the day to day operations.
Though she didn’t always plan to go back to the family business after college, 21 years later, Rochelle has great plans, and has overseen significant changes toward the growth of the company.
Rochelle was recently recognized as Small Business Leader of the Year for the Jacksonville, Florida Chamber’s Entrepreneurial Growth Division for 2020-2021. In celebration of Rochelle and Berman Brothers’ honor, Scrap News reached out to get to know her a little better.
What does being named Small Business Leader of the Year for Jacksonville’s Chamber’s Entrepreneurial Growth Division for 2020-2021 mean to you? We have been fortunate over the years. Our customer base is strong and loyal due to our dedication to service and our personal touch. As a business owner, you wear many hats and understanding how to market our business has been my pet project. This wonderful recognition is priceless and highlights who we are and our dedication to our community as a family business when our competition are publicly traded behemoths. Like ISRI, the JAX Chamber has provided us with guidance, support, and friendship. They are our cheerleaders and our advocates.
Prior to returning to Berman Brothers, you worked in animal and environmental conservation. Are there any similarities between the recycling industry and working in environment and animal conservation? While aluminum and steel are infinitely recyclable, the loss of species diversity is finite. Without dedication to the preservation of our Earth’s natural resources, what will the future of our planet look like? The impact of metal mining disrupts ecosystems critical for the balance of life. ISRI’s fact sheets show the connection perfectly.
What is your favorite thing about the recycling industry? One of our company values is RELATIONSHIPS. Without our relationships, we would not be here. Everyone we encounter must be treated with respect. We want all people to view interactions with us as a win …win.
Berman Brothers has been an ISRI member since the beginning, even dating back to before the formation of ISRI through the merger of predecessors ISIS and NARI! What is your fondest ISRI memory? Our industry has the second highest worker’s compensation exposure behind fire fighters. Safety is essential in our daily operation and our business most certainly is safer today. We have transformed our safety culture from a police state to where we have our employee’s buy in.
While away vacation, when I got a phone call from work. My Safety Manager had tragically passed away. My head was spinning. Oh no! Poor lady! Her poor family! Her grandchildren! OH MY GOD, WAIT A MINUTE!!! Aren’t we in the middle of an OSHA Audit? What about safety? Training? Documentation? OH MY GOD, where do I start? What the hell do I know about safety regulation?
As soon as I got home, I called our insurance companies and our industrial organization, ISRI. Tony Smith and Commodor Hall came to our rescue! They audited our programs, helped train me in OSHA & DOT rules. Now, I had to pick up the pieces and organize the audit. I rocked it. Not only did we make it through our OSHA inspection beautifully, but I learned that the local OSHA office knew we were on the same team. Since this experience, we have gone on to win many safety awards and we are proud to be a participant in ISRI’s Circle of Safety Excellence.
What about ISRI keeps your company a member after all these years? Again, it is the relationships. I know that the people of ISRI are part of our family. They truly care about us, what we do, and how we do it. I know they are there for us.