Make convention connections

Features - ISRI Convention Preview

ISRI has added new networking opportunities to this year’s convention so attendees can develop scrap industry connections from sunrise to sunset.

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January 28, 2019
Megan Smalley
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ISRI2019, scheduled for April 8-11, is heading to downtown Los Angeles again. It’s been eight years since the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, last hosted its annual convention and exposition at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Andy Golding, ISRI’s convention chairman and vice president of sales and marketing for Kripke Enterprises Inc., Toledo, Ohio, says downtown Los Angeles is much more developed than it was about a decade ago. He says this year’s attendees who were at the 2011 event “will see that the area’s dramatically different.”

New opportunities

The convention itself is also different, even compared with the 2018 event. ISRI has added a number of networking opportunities this year.

“We’re giving people networking opportunities from the time the sun rises to the time the sun sets,” Golding says. “When we do the convention in Las Vegas, you always know to go to the Mandalay Bay Casino floor—you see people you do business with there. Outside of Las Vegas, people don’t always know where to go. The reason we’re doing [more networking] is we want to give people more opportunities for them to get together and have a good time.”

Some networking events take place early in the morning before the show starts, such as ISRI Sports. Attendees can participate in a pickup 3-mile run and a group workout at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 9, and Wednesday, April 10, respectively.

Networking also takes place during show hours, such as a picnic lunch featuring food from In-N-Out Burger at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 11.

Other networking events occur well after the show floor closes, such as an ISRI After-Hours Party that is open to members and nonmembers with full-registration badges at 9:30 p.m. April 9. An ISRI After-Hours Party is open to ISRI members only April 10 at 9:30 p.m. The convention ends with a Closing Party starting at 7 p.m. at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Golding adds that having a mix of networking opportunities ensures there’s a networking event suitable to almost any attendee. “Relationships are extremely important in the recycling business,” he says. “These are some opportunities to either create a relationship, nurture a relationship and nurture relationships.”

Pursuing personnel

With many recycling industry professionals scrambling to recruit and keep solid employees, ISRI plans to feature a panel on workforce development. The general session at 8 a.m. April 10 is for ISRI members only. It features Ian Siegel, CEO and co-founder of ZipRecruiter, who leads a panel discussion on best practices for retaining employees.

While ISRI doesn’t usually feature a general session that’s exclusive to ISRI members, Golding says the convention committee thought it an especially important topic to address at this year’s event.

“Employment is a big issue in our industry—it is in every industry,” he adds. “Our members have asked for more information on it, and we’re delivering on that.”

Other featured speakers include Robert Herjavec, entrepreneur and star of the “Shark Tank” TV series, and John O’Leary, best-selling author of On Fire.

In addition, the show offers about 40 educational sessions, including its spotlight sessions on nickel-stainless, ferrous, aluminum and copper. A three-hour sales training event is scheduled for 8 a.m. April 11.

To get the most out of ISRI2019, Golding advises attendees to purchase the full registration. “You can have a trade show-only badge, but I would encourage people to have full registration,” he says.

The author is managing editor of Recycling Today and can be contacted via email at msmalley@gie.net.