Stephen Moss is no stranger to the ISRI convention; ISRI2023 will be the seventh convention that he’s served as ISRI convention chair. He shares with us why he is excited about the upcoming convention in Nashville, some things members (both new and old) can look forward to and what sets ISRI2023 apart from previous years — a convention that’s already shaping up to be on of ISRI’s biggest conventions ever.
What do you enjoy most about being convention chair?
I find the planning to be fun. I like helping ISRI chairs execute their visions for the convention because that’s really my job as chair. If I’m asked to have an opinion, I’ll have one but my goal is to make our ISRI chair as happy as I can, create a great event for all our attendees and deliver a financially rewarding convention to ISRI as well. I try to be the person to please everyone.
My first convention that I ran was 2013 and it’s really grown and evolved since. It’s been a fun experience. I’ve been in and out of the position, some other people have done it as well. It’s been a real fun experience and a great way to give back to the association.
This is the first year the convention will be held in Nashville. Why was Nashville picked?
The ISRI Chair, Brian Henesey, and I were in Washington, D.C. about six years ago for a meeting on the SREA program. We’re in the ISRI offices and Chuck Carr, who was our former director of conventions, said there were some people from Nashville coming in to talk about having a convention there in 2023, and asked if we wanted to sit in. So, we sat in and the pitch was great.
Nashville has been growing by leaps and bounds since then. Two-thirds of the hotels in our room block weren’t even built when we booked this convention. The huge Fifth and Broadway entertainment and dining destination wasn’t there, it wasn’t even a hole in the ground yet. We had to do a lot of this planning on faith with the pitch on what the future of Nashville was going to be and I’m incredibly happy with how it’s come together.
Nashville has incredible restaurants, great entertainment, shopping and it’s a great convention center. I think it’s one of the most beautiful convention centers I ever walked through. All of our hotels are a shorter walk than you have in Las Vegas. April weather in Nashville is also great. I’m excited. Everything about this convention is coming up positive.
We’re really excited about the pace of registration for Nashville. We’re over 4,400 registrants right now and climbing. We’re hoping this will possibly be the largest convention ISRI has ever held, which would be over 6,400 attendees. We think it will definitely be biggest since 2012.
What’s setting ISRI2023 apart from previous conventions?
At ISRI2023 there’s going to be more networking opportunities than ever. An opening reception on Monday night, exhibit hall lunches, Tuesday night’s after hours on the Skydeck at the Assembly Foodhall, which is an amazing facility that gives an amazing view over Broadway. We’re going to have great live music and we have a big closing night. We also have an incredible amount of companies exhibiting — over 340 companies.
I’m also really excited that we doubled down to bring in some really quality sessions to this year’s convention. We have a session Thursday afternoon that brings in some big hitters from within our industry talking about Marketing The Unmarketable, how to really talk about the recycled materials industry in a new way and how to bring it into your business and life. Adam Weitsman, John Sacco and Andy Golding are in that panel.
We also have an exciting keynote speaker, Rana Foroohar that has some great insights into how the recycling economy is going to change in the coming years and how do we deal with global trade in the post-pandemic world.
We also have some really cool tours. On Thursday afternoon we have tour of the MSS, Inc. facility, a manufacturer of sensor-based sorting equipment. There is also a tour of the SA Recycling facility.
There’s meat to every day of this convention. From beginning to end we have created a great comprehensive program that’s not going to leave you with a lot of downtime and that’s our goal. If you choose to create your own downtime that’s your choice but we want ISRI2023 to have something for you all day long every day of the convention. I think we achieved that this year. We hope people will appreciate that our start times aren’t as early as they’ve been in previous years.
What do you think new members will find most useful?
For a new member it’s probably daunting to come to our convention because it feels like you’re coming into 5,000 people that already know each other. And yes, a lot of us know each other but we’re very welcoming that’s why we have these big name tags that show our names; ISRI leadership will have ribbons that show that they are on the board, or committee chair or a chapter president.
I encourage people that are coming to their first convention to introduce themselves to people and say you’re new and go to the first timers reception on Monday evening before the exhibit hall opens.
Don’t just get pigeonholed. Even if you’re only focused on one thing, some of these sessions are really good for all businesses in our industry. If you’re a plastics person, there might be something in a metals session that might make sense to you too. There’s equipment in the exhibit hall that fits all the recycled materials industry and not just one commodity. The convention brings a lot of different families together, I like to say. People are in all different commodities, but this is a time when they are all together and you can get some great ideas from your peers.
What will long-time members take away from the event?
The people who are veterans of the convention will see that ISRI has worked really hard to put a quality program together, to give you good content, to give you great networking opportunities. Also, to help you do what you come to conventions for which is business, shopping for new equipment and services and to see your friends in the industry while making make new ones.
What are you most looking forward to?
To see if Nashville is really ready for ISRI. I pretty much expect that every night of the week Broadway is going to be filled up with ISRI members after attending various events. I hope we leave an impression on the city and that they remember us because we’ll be back in 2027.
I know when ISRI comes to a city for the first time, we get reactions from the hotels and other venues and services in the city saying wow, we didn’t realize how much of an economic impact your group brings to a city. That’s what I’m really hoping.
I really want to thank the staff. Rebecca Turner has done a great job of stepping into the shoes of Chuck Carr who pretty much ran the ISRI conventions for close to 20 years. While we miss Chuck, Rebecca has ably stepped in and I’ve enjoyed working with her and all of the new staff, informing them of the ISRI traditions, why things are done and how, and also embracing the new ideas that they’ve been able to bring to the table. In reality, the convention is all hands-on deck for ISRI and could not be put on without the hard work of every ISRI staffer and our long time contractors for the annual event.
Stephen H. Moss is Vice President and co-owner of Stanton A. Moss Inc., a broker of non-ferrous metals based in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Moss currently serves as the ISRI convention chair. He has also served ISRI as the Mid-Atlantic Chapter president, Non-ferrous Division Chair, Executive Committee member, and National Board Member.