ISRI’s summer board meetings are underway at the Intercontinental Washington, D.C. – The Wharf. The July 12-14 sessions began Tuesday, July 12, with fresh faces in member volunteer leadership and on staff. Members were introduced to Ryan Bocklage, ISRI’s membership manager; Paula Pagano, director of education; and Komal “Komie” Jain, senior vice president of advocacy. Emma Corning, executive director of the Recycling Education and Research Foundation (RERF), also made her in-person debut July 12.

“Our industry and our association are facing many headwinds, and the only way we’re going to address these headwinds is collectively as a group,” ISRI Chair Brian Henesey of Rocky Mountain Recycling, Inc., says. “For the next two years, I am excited to work with you so we can better this association.”

Jerry Sjogren, ISRI senior director of safety, delivered a safety message about heat-related illness, showing “Remembering Tim,” a sobering Labor Department video. Tim Barber, 35, died of heat-related causes in July 2020 on only his second day of work at a construction site in upstate New York.

Two members of the Surface Transportation Board will speak at ISRI meetings about the board’s efforts to address rail shipping delays. STB Vice-Chair Michelle Schultz will meet the Ferrous Division and Patrick Fuchs is to address the Government Relations Committee.

An election will be Thursday, July 14, at the closing board meeting for director-at-large, filling out the remaining year in the term of Jaqueline Lotzkar of Pacific Metals Recycling International. She resigned to become president of ISRI’s Pacific Northwest Chapter.

Mary Hlepas and Sean Daoud are the director-at-large candidates. Scrap News asked them to answer the same questions as the candidates who campaigned last winter.

Sean Daoud, vice president, PNW Metal Recycling, Inc.

What should people know about your journey in the recycling industry?

The journey started at a very young age for me when my father introduced me to the industry in the early 2000s when I would meet him for his lunch break while he was running the nonferrous dock at a recycling yard in Portland, Ore. He would take me on road trips when he would visit auto recyclers and other metal recyclers in our region, so I learned early on what hard work it would take to be successful in this industry.

I’ve been working full-time at our current business since graduating high school and have held every position we have in-order to learn the business from the ground up. Early in my career I was attending college and was able to relate work experience with book knowledge to figure out the best ways to apply my education to help grow and better our business. We have gone from a small recycling yard selling to a shredding yard to a company with multiple feeder yards, operating a shredder and a ferrous bulk loading operation. It has been a fun ride and I have learned a tremendous amount in my brief time working in the recycling industry.

What ISRI experiences have best prepared you to be a director-at-large?

I got involved with the Pacific Northwest Chapter in 2010 and have held every role within our chapter. I still hold a director seat to help influence positive change within the chapter. I have helped create legislation for our industry at the state and national levels. I helped lead committees or divisions at the national level like Finance, Audit, Young Executives Council, Membership, Ferrous, and the Council of Chapter Presidents—with all creating change for the betterment of ISRI. I have also been a part of many working groups or subcommittees that have discussed and created direction for ISRI that the board has acted on.

I collaborated with leadership to focus ISRI resources on creating and growing existing revenue streams. I created metrics within the budget to measure ISRI successes. I helped re-define ISRI’s investment policy to support the association’s budgetary goals. All this experience has helped strengthen my communication skills, listening ability, and knowledge to make sure all voices are being heard to ensure what is being presented is the proper direction for ISRI

What are your goals for ISRI for the year?

The association has a lot on its plate. I want to continue the work I’ve been a part of for many years to ensure the financial sustainability of ISRI. My goal(s) are to support ISRI in any capacity I can to help create positive change whether that be connecting the proper individuals, consolidating many thoughts into a cohesive message, researching data for deliverables, or being a part of meetings with the parties who are trying to have more control over the industry.

We are dealing with regulatory uncertainty in almost every state. We are dealing with a change in our language with how we communicate about our industry. It is going to take all the members to be open and flexible to come together as the voice of recycled commodities to make sure we are still on a positive path. Participate collaboratively to continue the revenue generation goals leadership outlined over the last few years to ensure ISRI’s treasury stays healthy to provide the support our members need.

I also want to improve myself through involvement with ISRI. To make a positive impact for the trade association, our leaders need to be open to growth and change, in which I’m a firm believer and active practitioner. The networking and discussions give all members great opportunities to gain differing perspectives.

Mary Hlepas, regional vice president of purchasing, Imperial Group

What should people know about your journey in the recycling industry?

My journey started in 2001 as an executive assistant for two owners of an aluminum shredding and melting facility. The industry was amazing to me, and I wanted to learn as much as possible. I had my goals set on becoming a buyer. I was not sure this goal was attainable since this industry is predominately male; but I put that thought aside and decided to work hard, network, get involved and just make the best of any situation presented to me.

So, here we are … 2022. I can’t believe it’s been 20-plus years. I am proud to say I am a buyer of multiple commodities for Imperial Group. My journey took me to my destiny. I am here to help anyone achieve theirs.

What ISRI experiences have best prepared you to be a director-at-large?

I have been an active Northern Ohio Chapter board member since 2009. And event planner for the chapter since 2012. I have served as co-chair for Best Youngest and Brightest (BYAB) since 2016. ISRI national committees or divisions I have served on include Membership, Trade, State, Nonferrous, Council of Chapter Presidents, and RERF.

What are your goals for ISRI for the year?

  • Broaden ISRI diversification.
  • Get more members involved.
  • Use my experience to continue growing our trade association.

All images courtesy of ISRI. Featured image caption: ISRI’s summer board meetings kicked off the evening of July 12 with the opening board meeting at the Intercontinental Washington, D.C. – The Wharf. Body image 1 caption: Sean Daoud. Body image 2 caption: Mary Hlepas.

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; and marketing communications.