We are Back,” the theme of ISRI2022, echoed throughout the entire Mandalay Bay convention and expo hall during the week of March 21. The feeling of being in person traveled across the education sessions and networking events and on to the Recycling Education and Research Foundation (RERF) annual silent auction. “We’ve experimented with different approaches to the silent auction in the past few years, and in 2022 we decided to focus on in-person experiences,” says Kevin Lamar, RERF chair and CFO of Dynamic Metal Services.
Between items bid and member contributions the auction raised around $20,000, which is comparable to the 2021 auction. “The reception [for event-based items was] very well received,” says Christopher Puig, RERF staff liaison and Executive Assistant to ISRI President Robin Wiener. “One of the trends we saw that was exciting was chapters/regions offering preregistration for their upcoming events. A lot of our members are going [to these events] anyway so why not offer them as a charitable contribution?”
One of the events was a complimentary ISRI Gulf Coast Region Convention 2022 Summer Convention and Expo package. The package included one full convention registration; one night stay at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside; and a $200 dining certificate to a fine New Orleans restaurant. David Shemper of HCS Trading won the package.
The big-ticket item this year was the NASCAR experience provided by Boston-based instrumentation company SciApps. As in years past, the company donated naming rights for its NASCAR circuit car. “With that purchase, you get to put your company’s logo or any message you want on the car and the opportunity to attend a race of your choosing and be part of the pit experience,” Puig says. Integrated Recycling Technologies, an electronics recycling company based in Minnesota, won the auction for the item.
There were several pieces of artwork including metal wall hangings, sculptures, and a six-foot engraved bench made from recycled plastics and rubber that went to Gordon Warner of Pacific Coast Recycling. Additional artwork of note were two handcrafted “Iron Fish” sculptures by self-taught coastal sculptor Chase Allen of Daufuskie Island, S.C. Allen and his works have appeared in publications including Coastal Living, Southern Living, and Charleston Home. Michael Fairman of Georgia-based Glynn Iron & Metal took home those sculptures.
“All the money raised by the RERF silent auction goes to supporting our education efforts,” Puig says. Those efforts include RERF scholarships for college students, students in trade and vocational schools, and veterans’ programs. “Some of the funds will be used to support the grant opportunities that we are pursuing related to assisting some of the challenges in the industry,” Lamar says. “We are currently working with ISRI to identify those specific projects.”
With the foundation’s first executive director set to join the team at the end of April, Lamar anticipates RERF will continue to grow and enhance its programs. “Going forward we’d like to see the auction expand in addition to several other fundraising opportunities,” Lamar says. “And we think we’ll accomplish the work ahead of us with our new director, our active RERF board, and the ISRI members.”
RERF would like to thank those who donated to the silent auction as well as those who participated in bidding for the items. Lamar and Puig are both excited to see the auction grow in the future. “Next year it’ll be even bigger and better,” Puig says.
All photos courtesy of ISRI.