Heritage Roundtable Insights

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August 18, 2009

Participants

In April 28, 2009, Recycling Today convened nine scrap industry veterans for a discussion called the Heritage Roundtable. The event, sponsored by Metso Recycling, was held at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino during the 2009 Annual Convention of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. Moderators Brian Taylor and Jim Keefe of Recycling Today asked the assembled panel to consider several aspects of how the industry had changed and how they might advise those who will be in scrap industry leadership positions today and in the future. The participants were:

Richard Abrams

Consolidated Scrap Resources, York, Pa.

Yale Dorfman

State Metal Industries, Camden, N.J.

Irving Ehrenhaus

Glenrich Metals, Forest Hills, N.Y.

Kalman Gordon

L. Gordon Iron & Metal Co., Statesville, N.C.

Harry Kletter

ISA Inc., Louisville, Ky.

Stanley Kramer

Kramer Metals Inc., Los Angeles

Ira Moskowitz

Moskowitz Bros. Inc., Cincinnati

Stanton Moss

Stanton A. Moss Inc., Bryn Mawr, Pa.

Larry Sax

Recycling Today Global Edition

contributing editor and retired nonferrous scrap trader.

Recycling Today: How can businesses be structured so veteran wisdom can be passed on to younger managers? Is the family business model best for this?

Kalman Gordon: I’m third generation in our business. My son has been with the business for about 12 years after he had been away at an accounting firm and with a paper company. He came back, and it has been great. We also have two nephews from the fourth generation. And now we have the fifth generation working with us. I think it’s a great thing, and I hope we can continue that way. My little grandson who is 10 says he wants to come into the business. But the old saying goes the first generation originates, the second generation operates and the third generation liquidates.

Harry Kletter: It’s subject to the person having the ability and desire to want to be in the business. I do not think you can grow in the new era we’re in—sometimes the family model is not going to work in the environment we’re in, even with good kids who are good fighters. You’ve got to build staff beyond family ties. And family situations are the downfall of a lot of businesses.

Yale Dorfman: I have three sons; one of them chose not to go with us, and two of them are with me. And they’ve taken it up pretty well—they’re way ahead of me and they’re involved with all the young people coming into the business [and] do business with that generation.

Stanley Kramer: The scrap industry in my entire life has always been more of a family business. That’s all changing—corporations are coming in and taking it over. But there is still a strong family trend in this industry. Our sons were born into their businesses, they have come into our scrap yards ever since they were little boys and they have learned and watched how their fathers operate. And your children become professionals. They attend college and they learn things that we never knew.