ISRI members converged on Pittsburgh, Pa., July 21-22 for two days of education, networking, and teambuilding during this year’s Best Young and Brightest (BYAB) event. The annual event is open to ISRI members aged 40 and younger.

Organized and hosted by ISRI’s Pittsburgh Chapter, the event kicked off with an address from ISRI Chair-Elect Brian Henesey. Henesey spoke to the group about the importance of getting involved with ISRI to tackle important issues the industry is facing such as EPR and Environmental Justice.

Following Henesey’s address, attendees participated in an icebreaker exercise. They were split into teams to build children’s bikes with one unique caveat: the person responsible for putting the bike pieces together was blindfolded. Teammates provided directions on how to attach certain pieces, such as the handlebars, to the bike. When the blindfolds came off, the teams then communicated nonverbally with each other to put the finishing touches on the bike. Once the bikes were complete, the teams presented their work to a committee and selected a winning team that gave the best presentation. The next day, the bikes were donated to Auberle, a local nonprofit. “The idea to build bikes for children was really appealing considering the ongoing pandemic. It was nice to give back to those people who have been impacted,” says Andrew Lincoln, vice president of Lincoln Recycling and past president of the Pittsburgh Chapter.

The second day of BYAB began with a training seminar from CultureShoc, a team and leadership development firm that offers EOS®, teambuilding, leadership training, and engagement programs. The training included tips on how to understand your own leadership traits, and offered insight into how current leaders can help develop the next generation of leaders. Following the training, attendees toured the Andy Warhol Museum, where they learned about the Pittsburgh native’s life and art. Then the group toured the Carrie Blast Furnaces. In service from 1884 to 1982, these were the last operational furnaces in Homestead, Pa. They formed a part of the once massive Homestead Steel Works, which served as one of U.S. Steel’s heavy products mills until 1983. During a hot metal casting class, the group created a unique pattern from everyday materials and invested the one-sided design in resin-bonded sand. They were able to take their cast aluminum objects home after the tour. The group capped off an action-packed two days with a closing reception that evening.

For Lincoln, events like BYAB provide opportunities for young executives to organically meet new people and form relationships. Some young executives may not have many contacts outside of their immediate businesses when they first enter the industry. Meeting fellow ISRI members means more friendly faces to connect with at future conventions, meetings, and events.

“I think it’s important to have this event for young execs so that they can network and have a bond for when they go to other events,” Lincoln says. “When I first started going to the annual convention, it was intimidating. It’s nice to have a group that you’re comfortable with and can bounce ideas off. We all deal with similar issues in this industry, so to have someone that you can ask questions and see if they’ve experienced similar things, it’s really invaluable.”

Lincoln notes that the pool of BYAB attendees is full of future leaders, and is a great resource to tap into for board recruitment at the chapter level. During the event, the Pittsburgh Chapter successfully found three attendees willing to step up and serve on the ISRI Pittsburgh Chapter board. He also expresses gratitude to the BYAB committee for helping plan the successful event. The committee included Megan Smalley, Mary Hlepas, Aaron Plitt, Aaron Thomas, Andy Golding, and Lacey Capps.

BYAB 2022 will be hosted by the Pacific Northwest Chapter in Tacoma, Wash. Stay tuned for more information on that event.

Images courtesy of Andrew Lincoln.