After announcing his retirement from N.J.-based Hunter Alloys LLC in 2018, Barry Hunter was approached by ISRI President Robin Wiener. She asked what ISRI could do to get him back into the recycling fold. Hunter expressed a desire to keep in touch with the many close friends he had made over the years. He also wanted to make sure the heritage and history of fellow industry veterans was preserved and acknowledged for future generations of recyclers.
From that conversation came the formation of ISRI’s Century Club for retired or semi-retired recyclers that still want to be involved in the industry. The club offers members networking opportunities with peers, as well as the ability to maintain friendships and stay active in the recycling industry. To qualify for membership, you must have a combined age and years of active participation in ISRI and/or its predecessors—the Institute of Scrap Iron and Steel, National Association of Recycling Industries, and Paper Stock Institute—that equals 100 years or more.
Along with providing members a method of keeping recycling industry relationships and friendships, the Century Club also allows them to contribute knowledge and expertise to the ever-growing and ever-changing industry. For example, the Century Club had a joint session with ISRI’s Young Executives Council (YEC) at ISRI2018 in Las Vegas, where the groups discussed innovations and goals, and explored their respective perspectives on everything recycling. “You can’t replace experience. This is what we can pass on to the younger members,” says Ron Donn, co-chair of the Century Club, who serves as a consultant for Palm Desert, Calif.-based Monico Alloys. “Whether it’s markets, environmental issues or operating questions, the experience of Century Club members is of great value.”
The joint session with the YEC also provided Century Club members an opportunity to talk about the lineage of family-owned and operated companies in the industry, and the impact of the past on the present and the future. “My grandfather was an immigrant from Eastern Europe. He didn’t have any real formal education. He was a peddler,” Hunter says. “In the summer he’d take his horse and wagon and go to farms outside of New Jersey and Pennsylvania to get fruit and vegetables and peddle back in the city. In the winter he did the same thing and brought back coal. He also peddled scrap. So many of the companies started that way. Some of them grew dramatically and are still growing. The pattern they started with is this industry’s history.”
During a virtual event in 2020, Hunter and five other industry veterans had a conversation, “Back to the Future with ISRI Century Club,” where they relived and openly shared their years of professional and personal experiences. Hunter is hopeful a second part of that conversation can happen soon. Co-Chairs Hunter and Donn also are looking forward to resuming in-person dinners with their fellow Century Club members at events like ISRI2022 in March.
Donn is very excited about those upcoming dinners, and he’s hoping the upcoming convention and exposition will serve as a tool to recruit new Century Club members. “We’re looking forward to bringing in new members in 2022 and continuing to share new ideas with all of our members,” Donn says. “Scrap is in my blood! As I approach my 80th birthday, I want to keep sharing those ideas and experiences with fellow members.”
If you’re interested in joining the Century Club, contact Brianna Gianti, ISRI’s vice president of membership, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All photos courtesy of ISRI.