Pile of Scrap Ep. 20: Panic from Coronavirus Part 1 - John Sacco
With the ISRI convention being officially cancelled and having a daughter overseas spending the semester abroad after an announcement of a European travel ban, John Sacco is starting to feel the panic of the Coronavirus. Having uncertainty about what this virus means for our economy and others in the industry, John advises us to remain calm.
Watch this episode of Pile of Scrap here.
Introduction: The following is an original audio series from Sierra International Machinery Pile of Scrap with your host John Sacco.
John Sacco: All right, everyone, uh, this is kind of what I would call a emergency podcast. Not that anything's Earth shattering other than the Coronavirus. So, how does that affect me? Well, about two hours ago, maybe hour and a half ago, the President of the United States came on and told us that travel to the United States is going to be suspended in 48 hours. I'm a parent who has a daughter at a semester abroad and she's in Budapest. Well, actually she's in London. She has to go back to Budapest tomorrow morning and catch a flight down on Friday. And, it's just a mess. We have so many friends who have children with a semester abroad, semester at sea, and you know, you gotta – you know, I'm sure those who will hear this, you know, you're staying calm and, but, uh, the kids are kind of panicking. They're like, get me outta here. My daughter: “Get me outta here. I don't want to be stuck here” because if this thing blossomed for whatever reason, bloomed even more, even though Budapest has only 13 confirmed cases, not Budapest, the actual – the country of Hungary only has 13 confirmed cases as we speak. It's still the whole, the unknown. And, she goes to the University of Southern California – to USC and they're strongly recommending everybody comes home. So, now we're frantically getting book – trying to book for flights. And you know, it's quite a fascinating experience as a parent. You know, your kid’s okay. It's not like they're caught in the middle of a war. Um, which I can't imagine in years past, people who've had kids in war zones and they had to get them out of there, what kind of stress that must have been in, in today's world with FaceTime, you know, I'm able to FaceTime my daughter. Everything's good. We got our flight. It, you know, just the reality of the situation is, um, it's grave in a lot – not that we're all in danger. It's just the panic and the unbelievable sense of urgency to have something done. And now, you're scrambling. So, the good news is we have Giovanna on her way home, uh, on Friday, so that's going to be great. Uh, the school, USC has said that they'll help the students finish their units that they have over there because they didn't finish their class. Then some kids went earlier and finish there. So, uh, we have numerous friends and my daughter has numerous friends and everybody's scrambling. And, the cute note about all of this is some really close friends of our – in the industry... George Adams’ son is in Nice with his first cousin, Alex, and they're going to be on the same flight out of Heathrow back to LAX again on Friday. So, the kids spent last weekend together in Amsterdam and Rotterdam and now they're going to fly home together all by accident. But, it's kind of a lot of fun. You know, it's fun for the kids to know that they have that security of friendship. And, and my point going now to this is, you know, these are friends we have in the recycling industry and friendships we have garnered over the years because our involvement in ISRI – the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and this involvement has created such friendships, uh, amongst the members and but our kids as well. And, so this is a fantastic, uh, capability, if you will, or fantastic, uh, result of these friendships as I made, uh, being involved in ISRI. Now the big concern is what is ISRI going to do about its convention? Um, right now, Sierra is exhibiting at ConExpo and attendance is way down and all of these conventions are, you know, they're moving ‘em, they’re cancelling them, Waste Expo, uh, was the first week in May. They've moved it to August and that's in New Orleans. So, now we're waiting to see what happens with ISRI and that's a fascinating wait-and-see situation. On one hand, you're like, you know, “Let's have it.” On the other hand, I don't want to throw a convention where nobody shows up. So, Brian Shine: a shout out to you, Brian. I know as Chairman, you're under a lot of pressure. I know you'll make the right decision. And Robin Wiener. Uh, both of these people had been on Pile of Scrap podcast and, you know, these are strong intellectual people and they've got a tough decision to make going forward. Whether or not the ISRI convention, uh, goes forward. Does it get moved? Does it get cancelled altogether? So, interesting times for us in the recycling industry, uh, in waste industry. Uh, we hope to have our convention. We may not have our convention. And, as an exhibitor, as a vendor into the industry as well as a processor, it's a missed opportunity for sure. And, it'll sting, but we move on. We, you know, we keep going. Uh, Sierra is in great shape and, um, we just keep plugging along. I think everybody, you know, I was getting emails and texts over the last hour after President Trump's announcement. Uh, people are, you know, scrambling. They have equipment that there was going to be inline ready to go to ISRI and to Waste Expo. They're having to divert that and they also have children overseas. So, it's a – I would say the last two hours has been one of the most interesting two hours in my life considering all that's going on in this world. And, again, all you want is your children to be safe and healthy. And, so now we – hopefully here in 48 hours, our daughter will be home. Uh, she's going to be severely bummed that she's missing two months – or a month and a half of the remaining of her scheduled time in Budapest and where she was traveling. But I think, uh, that's an experience that she'll be able to tell for the rest of her life how she was in Europe and had to be called home because the U.S. is closing the entry to European travelers, although they say one update, and again it's not confirmed that it's up to non-U.S. residents. So, we don't know. You just can't take the chance because if you get – tried to leave on Saturday, they shut the whole thing down or they get stuck quarantined in a foreign country and we're here, California and somebody’s over there in Europe… That would be a nightmare. So anyway, I wanted to, uh, put together this emergency podcast as I call it of Pile of Scrap because I think there's a lot of people who are going through some stressful times right now as we speak about getting their children home. And also, I think people are probably stressed out about their business. What's going to happen? How much is this going to affect the economy? We don't know yet. We know there's going to be a slowdown. How's that going to affect jobs and people that work for us? It remains to be seen. So, I think that we use a calm and we use our intellect that we have and the tools that have been given to us, uh, by God and we will find clarity and making decisions going forward. So, everybody, I hope your children return safely that are overseas who listen to this. And, my prayers are with those families and anybody who else might be – who might have the Coronavirus. So, God bless everybody out there. We're going to get through this as a country and then the world. So, my prayers are to everybody and that's it for this emergency episode of Pile of Scrap. Thank you.
Conclusion: This has been a Sierra International Machinery original audio series. Thanks for listening. Please share this podcast and make sure to subscribe.