Pile of Scrap Ep. 27: The Next Generation – Young Executives
As the next generation of recyclers are getting geared up to take over the reins of the industry, they can’t help but give credit to the generations before them that have paved the way for their success. Chad Olgin from Olgin Efune Recycling, Sean Daoud from PNW Recycling, and Jacqueline Lotzkar from Pacific Metals Recycling, meet with John Sacco to talk about the improvements they see for ISRI, their aspirations in becoming ISRI’s next batch of officers, and the long-lasting friendships they’re making along the way.
Watch this episode of Pile of Scrap here.
John Sacco, Chad Olgin, Sean Daoud, and Jacqueline Lotzkar
Introduction: The following is an original audio series from Sierra International Machinery. Pile of Scrap with your host John Sacco.
John Sacco: Well, hello, hello, hello. And, we're back here and we're in Nashville for another episode of Pile of Scrap. And today, I'm with the Young Guns. ISRI’s Young Executives leading the charge for ISRI’s future. And, I'm really excited about this because it's new blood. It's youth. You know, I didn't get involved. Well first, let me introduce. Chad Olgen, Sean Daoud, Jacqueline Lotzkar. Thank you for being here and agreeing to do this.
Sean Daoud: Thanks for having us.
Jacqueline Lotzkar: Thanks for having us.
John: I'm pumped up. I didn't get involved with ISRI until I was mid-thirties – 36. Okay? You guys… You're 30 but you've been involved for a couple of years. All in the 20s – You're all involved. Starting with you. Why?
Jacqueline: Well, I, uh, I'm fourth-generation in my family's business and I grew up in the industry, I like to say, and I've been hearing stories of ISRI pretty much my whole childhood. Um, I attended my first convention when I was, like, eight. And, pretty much as soon as I joined the company, my dad was like, off you go… Go volunteer.
John: Awesome. And, you liking it?
Jacqueline: I love it, yeah.
Sean: I got involved for the experience. Uh, you know, the networking with other individuals, the information sharing, the ability to ask questions and, you know, find out things that you may not be able to find out on your own through your own business. So, I think the – just that networking aspect of it has been phenomenal.
John: So far?
Sean: Love it.
John: Chad, what about you?
Chad Olgen: I'm also a fourth-generation. Um, I've been with ISRI now for six years. I love it. I, uh, I like the youth aspect of, you know, watching all of us and everybody else kind of grow up through the industry and grow in their family's business or whichever company they're at. And, uh, kind of making a change.
John: Well, what's crazy is it didn't dawn on me before I asked you guys to do this. I did this because you're taking charge of the Young Executive Committee and you're getting involved with being chairmen's, uh, and coming up to the new administration and get involved with the different divisions. And, we'll get to that in a second, but it dawned – I know every one in your parents. I know your grandfather.
John: I did–I didn't, you know, it didn't hit me. And, I think it's great ‘cause I've known you –I've known all of you. You were just born when I met your dad and I don't know – I don't know if you were born when I first got to know your father and your grandfather, you know, way back. And, I think it's just great. You know, as a former Chairman, I look at –we always go, “Who's the new blood? Who's the young blood?” And it was just, like, “Ugh, there's nobody wanting to come up,” and you – the three of you are doing it and you guys restarted the Young Executive Committee. So, who is – who is the brain behind that? Who's the one getting that going again?
Sean: Uh, I – the idea was kind of – to bring up, um, again, as, I think, we started to recognize that there were more, you know, uh, younger individuals starting to be more involved in ISRI and wanting to come up within their ranks within their own companies. And, the idea just came from, uh, Lacey Capps, actually, and to kind of just get going again. Darrell Kendall was involved with it and then obviously the three of us were kind of in those conversations.
John: So, the Young Executive Committee years and years ago was a powerful stepping stone. I mean, just the young – you know, a lot of like, Mark Luan was in it and, you know, became Chairman. Me, I came in late to the game. I didn't know anything, but I got involved and there was a lot of people who swore by it. And, how's the recruitment coming? Are you guys getting more people involved? Is it growing? Are you, what's your – what's your struggles?
Chad: Yeah, I think it's growing. So, in my own chapter, I'm seeing now that we have at least two people that are young that are wanting to get on the Board and they're excited for Young Exec going to events, BYB Young Executive Committee meetings coming to these functions. And, we didn't have that six years ago when I started, you know, I was begged to come in and be on the Board and I was the only young person there and now we actually have like multiple people that are younger that want to get involved and so I think it's working.
John: How about in your area?
Jacqueline: Yeah, I know us as well. I think we've got lots of young people starting to get involved and networking is so important at ISRI and I think a lot of the Younger Executives are becoming really good friends as a result of it. So, you know, those relationships last for a really long time.
John: Let me tell you something. And, you're starting now, and you see it already, but I've been doing this for a long time, if you will. It's reunion. I come here and you get to see your friends and that is so cool. All these years later, you get to be with your friends.
John: And friends all over the place and you, I'm sure you guys already know this, they're a great resource already for you. Wait ‘til that grows and you're gonna have all these resources, people you can call: “Hey, what do you do with this? What do you do with that?” That's what I've found. So, tell me a story. Reach out – from Young Exec that helped you in your business.
Jacqueline: Oh my gosh, there’s so many. Um, I mean, just you can call up anybody and just say, you know…
John: I want specific detail.
Jacqueline: Well, Sean's a good friend here.
Jacqueline: So, we can chat at the beginning of every month and talk about prices and, you know, you're not going to call someone who's in your backyard.
Jacqueline: But, um, you know, someone a little farther away. You can, you can definitely have those conversations with.
John: Give me a specific example – something in the networking of this. Silence.
Sean: Yeah, I'm trying to think. I've got a couple of them. Um, so Andrew Lincoln is a good friend. Um, obviously we met through the association and we had a bit of a pickle on a piece of equipment and I called them up, asked him, first, his vice on something, you know, part of his family business was Lebhierr parts and it was Lebhierr. And so, he gave us a little bit of insight of what to do and where to look for things and within a couple of days… Problem solved. So, that, you know, even those small little details…
John: Well, yeah, it's uptime. How good is that? How about you?
Chad: Yeah, so I think a good example is Little Phil, actually. So, he calls me regularly about things with, you know, “We have a new client in Phoenix, you know, they want to come check out your machines” since we have quite a few of your machines. And, uh, you know, it's those good connections because whether we're at a ski function for my chapter meeting and we're having breakfast or we're just kind of at a national function, it's nice to know that he's a familiar face and somebody that I can trust to, you know, bounce ideas off of.
John: Well, I just – it's critical for the future of this trade association to have this. So, you're all supposed to be millennials and I don't know what generation I am…
Chad: The professional millennials.
Chad: We're the professional millennial.
John: Okay. Peers. Okay, you guys chose to be in the family business. A lot of people don't want to be in the family scrap business. Why did you choose this route? What was – what was it that you saw that… “Yes, I'm going this route.” You're all educated, so, you know, you're all incredibly intelligent people and you said, “I'm going to stay in this.” Why?
Chad: I've watched my grandfather and my father grow their respective companies to what they wanted and I loved the idea of being able to actually get in there and build something from the bottom up and, fortunately, I've had that ability in the past couple of years and it's just been an amazing experience to be able to, you know, work with the people you want to work with, hire who you want to hire and learn from everybody that's also doing everything that we're doing. You know, this, the Young Exec has grown and so, I get to, you know, I get to watch Sean and Jacqueline and everybody else kind of – we're all doing the same thing. So, it's nice that at any point we could just call up and say, “How'd you deal with that?” And, you know, they've had the same issue.
Sean: I'd echo much of that. You know, and also, it's the one business you can interact with any type of business, right? So, whether it's a government agency that needs help recycling their filing cabinets or a high tech company who needs their hard drives destroyed, or you're just picking up scrap metal off the, you know, in the woods from logging companies or demolition jobs, whatever it might be. But, you get to interact with so many different types of businesses and it's, and it's fun. You know, one day it's you're working on the books, the balance sheet, whatever it might be. And the next day, you're – you might be running some equipment or meeting with the perspective employee, whatever it might be. There you just, you get a taste of everything.
John: And you, Jacqueline?
Jacqueline: I think, for me, you know, my passion is travel and international business and this industry is such a global, international, uh, industry. So, the ability to travel and, um, work with different cultures for me was super attractive. And then also we're like literally saving the planet. So, that's cool.
John: Well, you know, Ed Kangeter over at CASS… His social media is “Saving the Planet.”
John: You know? Yeah. And uh, that's awesome. So, who's going to Istanbul for the BIR? You like inter–Are you going?
Jacqueline: Hey, if you're inviting me, I'll come.
John: There's no invitation. You should go.
John: No, all of you should go. Um, I went to BIR, uh, years ago in the 90s, um, and didn't know anybody and kind of, “Nah.” And then, as I became ISRI Chair, it was like, you know, “You gotta go.” And, I remember my first ISRI meeting was – or BIR meeting – was in Istanbul as I took the Chair in April and it was in May. And I remember going, I go, “Oh man. I don't know anybody.” And although I was ISRI Chair, it opened a lot of doors and a lot of communications with people and now, I love going. Tom Bird, who's now the President, is a dear friend of mine. So, I think if you love your international travel, any of you, it's a great perspective and, you get the international economists that we had… Where the hell were we? In Budapest. And, a fantastic – they had two economists that were amazing. One from Germany, one from France, and the guy from France was just comical in the way he delivered it, but very informational. So, you liked the international travel, Jacqueline, I'd be goin’. I encourage both of you guys to see if, uh, uh, you can make that trip because I think the BIR is just an extension of ISRI, but now you're dealing with the other international markets and, you know, you're going to meet buyers. So, I encourage you guys, uh, to do that. So, got a new administration coming on. I don't know… Should it be publ–It'll be public knowledge. I don't care. What's your – what's your function going to be going and when, uh, Brian is steps down and Gary Chaplin steps in to be the new Chairman of ISRI. What role are you going to take?
Chad: So, I'm going to be working on the ferrous, the non-ferrous and the government relations committees.
John: You're going to be busy. Government relations? Brutal. I cannot stay awake in that committee. And when I was Chair, I’d just sit there. Robin went – oh this was so funny. Robin would always go and sit down at Starbucks in front of me right before, ‘cause I just – that's the one committee where all this stuff just flying over my head. But, uh, good for you. Well, what about you Sean?
Sean: Uh, finance committee.
John: You’re a finance background, correct?
John: Are you a CPA?
Sean: No, no, no.
John: But, you have a finance background from college, right?
Sean: Uh, yeah, I have an undergrad in Human Resource Management, but an MBA in Finance and then an undergrad in Accounting.
John: You gonna be on the auto committee?
Sean: Hadn't been asked.
John: Okay. Well, eventually you will with that background. What about you?
Jacqueline: Trade committee.
John: Trade committee.
John: Now, do you do the trading for your company?
Jacqueline: I do, yeah. I oversee our trade department.
John: Oh, then I'm going to see you in Instanbul. I think you should go. All right, so who's – who are you guys recruiting coming in? Who are the next phases we're going to start seeing at this meeting? Tell me somebody who's coming in that you guys had been recruiting and that they're going to show up.
Sean: You know, we've – so, one of the things that we've been working on within the committee is to have each chapter designate a liaison that would help us funnel more communications through the chapter level, get more involvement at the, you know, the core level – the base level. And so, this coming, uh, convention, we're hoping to see more of those liaisons come and be active and attend our functions. And so, we'll see. I would say, at least, half of the chapters will have somebody there.
John: That's outstanding.
Sean: It’s been great.
John: That's great. Great. You know, I did a podcast with Robin and I got a lot of positive feedback and Robin sets up – I think that everybody, when they – when you're trying to get people to join – “Why do you want to be involved?” “ISRI stops bad things from happening.” That was her line. I just went, “That was awesome.”
Chad: That's a great line.
John: It is a great–Because it's true. There's so much things that, you know, in the government and this, that, and the other and, you know, working with China and India and the trade over there. And then, you know, with BIR, with Tom Bird and their, um, there Tom is –would be equivalent to Brian Shine. And, uh, I forget the name… Escapes me – the head of, you know, the BIR. But, you know, it's that communication and it's as one we're going. So, that's really cool, though, that, uh, you know, more people are going to get involved. So, direction of this industry. Five years from now, what's going to change? What – what do you see different? Five years, five, 10 years. Jacqueline, what do you see different?
Jacqueline: Hard to say. I mean, I think the environmental side of things is going to be at the forefront. Um, the industry is always changing. We've been recycling, you know, before recycling was even a word.
Jacqueline: So, I think, you know, being able to adapt to changes is kind of our specialty. Um, I don’t know what I see necessarily, but, um, yeah, I'm sure there's gonna be lots of changes.
John: Anything in particular for you that you see different that you – that you see or maybe that you're going to want to change?
Sean: Well, a lot of companies now are adapting, right, to the different international markets. You know, that's where we're mostly exposed to, or at least us two. Um, and I think you're going to see a lot more equipment, a lot more investment in those capabilities, and it's going to help with, uh, product quality. And, it's gonna help with the ability to process different types of materials that we haven't been able to process before. So, I think in the next five years that's going to take a huge leap.
John: What about you? ‘Cause you're kind of – these guys are on the coast for export and your little inland there in Arizona. What about – what do you see different coming along?
Chad: I see a definition of recycling. So, five years ago when I would attend functions, they were kind – they were very different. We would talk about how to grow the recycling industry and now we're teaching people what the recycling industry is and trying to put a definition to that word. And so, I think in the next five-ish years, we should see people understanding what we really do and that it's not waste and that it's good for the environment and that we're trying to save the planet.
John: Yeah, I find that fascinating. It's a good point because our industry seems to be the industry that's always under attack. You know, “You're not doing this and you're not–“ I'm like, we're the ones – without us, all this stuff would be in the gutters. Where would it go? Landfills? Wher–I mean, without us, think about the mass contamination that would go throughout cities and across this world and that it's – So, both – all three of you… Metals? Pretty much metals. What other non-metallic products now are you guys getting into? You know, we have tire and rubber division, we have electronics division, we have paper division and you know, plastic. Any of you guys handle any of these other items now?
Chad: I work with cardboard and electronics.
Sean: Same thing. And, some plastics.
Jacqueline: We do cardboard, glass, plastics, electronics a little bit.
John: Yeah, we do cardboard. Uh, cardboard is easy ‘cause you know, we all have the two-ram balers and then cardboard really… It kind of like flows. But, you know, we were heavy in plastic and plastic, as you know, and once China closed its store in Malaysia – closed the store to plastic. Well, we have just millions of pounds of Ag plastic in our area, but we couldn't – there was no more values, there was nothing to do. Maybe the investment is putting in a washing line. But, my dad always said, “Shoemakers stick to making a shoe.” And, I don't know anything about plastic, so… Uh, and at my age, I don't know if I will. So, what are you looking forward to the most about this convention coming up?
Jacqueline: I think it's a really exciting convention. Speakers look awesome, networking, the events. Um, it's always a fun time.
John: So, do you know Gary V?
Jacqueline: I've heard of him before, yeah.
John: So, are you out on social media?
Jacqueline: Yeah, yeah.
John: So he – okay, before I get to you on what you guys’re lookin’ for–I watched Gary V for about one minute. That's all I've ever watched. I know he's the guru of social media and content and all this. What struck me into the one minute, sorry – he says you all have your phones and if you aren't out there, if you're not putting yourself out there, you're irrelevant. I'm like, “Hmm. You – Man.” This is a new trick for me. Social media? You kidding me? I used to think Facebook: Ugh. Instagram: Ugh. You know? That's for my kids. Now, my son, “Dad, you're out there more than I am.” “Yeah, son, I know. Yes, I know. I got it.” But, it helps. What are you looking forward to at the convention?
Sean: The speakers are going to be fun, the ISRI talks seem very interesting.
John: Are any of you talking?
John: No? Okay.
Sean: But, just that, you know, we haven't done something like that before and to kind of give a little open forum to our members to speak and what they think is going to change in the industry. Just the world in general and he's going to be a nice, different perspective and a change of pace for us, you know? So, we're not always going home about what we're doing in our businesses. It could be a little fresh break. So, that would be nice.
John: And you? What are you looking forward to?
Chad: I like the robust agenda. I like that it's new and it's a little bit more inclusive to everybody that's there. And, we have more council meetings and we just have more exposure.
John: Is that inclusive to the millennials? Do you find the programming is now more something you – ‘cause see? I don't know. I'll be busy in my booth, okay? And we – we’re working on something ourselves. But is it the programming now that fits more your eye, if you will?
Sean: Last year was great, right?
Sean: I mean, the three of us got to, you know, participate in panels and whatnot and last year, with the focus on, you know, like more or less human resources, right? Kind of the people development. It – the way you recruit, the way you take care of your people today is different than it was five years ago, different than what it was 50 years ago, right?
Sean: So, for us to open up discussions for how best practices can be done and what is working, it was – it was a great, great event to be able to do that. So, to continue that trend is pretty neat.
John: All right, so you're all in family businesses and you all have to deal with dad. Okay. Now I had to deal with my dad for a lot of years. I want to know a story where dad said to do something and you thought he was wrong and then you came back and said, “Oh, dang it. He was right.” We all have those.
Jacqueline: Someone else go.
John: Okay, well Chad, Chad, you go.
Chad: Okay. A time that he was right?
John: Yeah, when you thought he was wrong and it turned out he was right.
Chad: Oh man. Um, I would say it is probably, um, he – my dad's a ferrous guy, so his understanding of the ferrous markets is a little different than mine. It's more – he has 40 years more experience. So, I think that gauging trends and understanding the ups and downs is something that he's just been around for so long that he understands what's happening. So, when I would try to, you know, hedge our bets and make sure that we had enough material to cover our order, he would always assure me that, you know, “Don't panic. It's fine. You know, this – this always happens,” and he'll explain to me about something going on in the world and that it just writes itself and I like to see how it's changing and I'm not so familiar with the feeling that it's changing. And so, I'm learning a little bit from him about just his exposure and why he feels like things are happening the way that they're happening.
John: Right on.
Sean: I was grea–
John: You got a lot of dads in there.
John: Your company, the way you’re structured. So, go ahead.
Sean: We have a few – few fathers. Yeah. So, with my dad… It’s probably… I just got promoted to become a ferrous buyer or just scrap buyer, in general. Um, in 2011 – 2010, 2011 – anyways, um, got some photos of material and I thought it was aluminum. He said “No, it's just sheet iron.” So, and this was all the way out in… uh, just pass Hermiston and so, I drove all the way out there, thought it was gonna be a huge lot, you know, a hundred thousand pounds. Plus, it's about 10,000 pounds and it was just sheet iron and I thought it was aluminum and my dad could tell from photos so, but wasted all that time out there. You learn quick. So, I just…
John: That's a great story. He could look at it and you're, “Oh, no, that's aluminum.” That's great. That's good. What about you, now? All right. We had to come up…
Jacqueline: I mean, there's been lots of sink or swim kind of moments for me, I think. But, um, my dad and I worked pretty hard to like have discussions behind closed doors and then present a united front. Um, so I wouldn't say that there was any like major failures or um, you know, him writing me wrong kind of things. But um, yeah we work hard to be a good team.
John: Well that's great. I'll tell you a story and then it had to do with being – becoming an officer at ISRI. I went to my dad and they had nominated me for being Secretary or Treasurer. And, I said, “Dad, I don't – I don't think I have the time. You know our b–“ and my dad looked at me, he goes, “What's wrong with you? You take that in a second. You're going to be in the know.” He gave me this big election and I'm like, “Okay, well I guess I'll do it, but it's not going to be what he said.” He was so spot on. Learning about the stormwater, the sa–being in the know was what was, for me, when you learn, you go through it, you go, “You are in the know,” and you – and I would go to an ISRI meeting, hear all this stuff, being in the executive committee and know what's coming down the pike. I'd go back to Sierra and implement it and he was spot on. Now, he probably would have hated the money we spent on stormwater and we spent a lot of money. But it is – we're compliant. And what's – put the value on compliance. You know, we spend this money, what are we spending the money for? So we don't get fined. We don't get revenue out of this, so we don't get fined. All right, which one of you three want to be an ISRI officer? Who wants to say – who wants to be a Chairper–Chairperson? I got to get the political correctness here. Who wants to be Chairman of this place? Come on.
Chad: Maybe one day.
John: How about you?
Sean: I'd like to.
Jacqueline: Maybe down the line a little bit, yeah.
John: Why? Why down the line?
Jacqueline: Gain a little more experience, I guess, first.
John: You grew up in this business. You've got it.
John: You're smart. You know, I would say, see – I would say, and I've heard that, you know, when we went to recruit, when I've been on – when I was on the nominating committee and he went to talk, “Oh I can't do it. It's da da da da da.” And you hear a gazillion excuses. You hear ‘em all: too young, too old, “I've got a family.” This, you know, I had a family, I was young, and I was – I don't know anything. I truly didn't when I got involved, but I don't think age is a barrier. That's what's so cool about sitting here with you guys. There's no barrier. You guys have no barrier. You're smart, you work your culos off. Okay? You grew up in the business, you know this business better than most people. You know, that's the beauty of being equity owners, if you will, and the family business, when you grow up – you know, some of these companies, nothing wrong with it. You know, they hire people from the outside to come into to whatever. “You're now a buyer.” They've never seen this scrap metal. How are they going to know what to do? And they may be older, but doesn't mean that they're – they have more experience than you. So, all right, let's conclude this thing here. It's been a lot of fun for me. I'm excited because I love this. I really love the fact that I'm looking at the future leaders and, as a former Chair, I can't pay attention anymore. I'm like burned out to every detail. I need you guys to pay attention and tell me what to do now. You up for that task?
Sean: We’ll try. Let's take some advice too.
John: Do you guys like Nashville? Is this a good place for – how about a convention? Do you think we should have a national convention here?
Jacqueline: Sure. Why not?
Chad: Yeah, seems great.
Jacqueline: Seems like a fun city.
John: Well, I know, you know, I've just been here overnight so I really don't, you know, I don't know anything about it. But, okay, fine. Where would you have a convention if you could have a convention anywhere? Where would you like to have it?
Jacqueline: Why don't you guys come back to Vancouver?
John: You know what? I loved that convention.
Jacqueline: I think everyone who came loved it. I never heard a bad thing from anyone who attended.
John: I thought Vancouver, the – here's, okay. As an exhibitor, we went into the convention hall and we asked for something and the guy, “Oh sure, no problem.” You go to Vegas and ask one of those guys for something they look at you like, “Yeah, right,” and they get keep going. Vancouver was a great one. How about you?
Sean: Probably too small, but I think Portland would be fun. It's a fun city. And, the convention is probably a little bit too small for the equipment, but…
John: Did you hear the story about what happened to me when I was in Portland when I came up to visit you and the ISRI board?
Sean: No. So, I'm at breakfast, seven o'clock. I had just come in from Europe. So, your jet lagged. So, I'm wide awake. So, I go, I have breakfast. So, I'm sitting there, getting my pancakes and eggs. All of a sudden, I feel a this drop on my head and then I see these spots of orange, red stuff coming on… “What the hell?” and the girl behind me starts screaming. There's a girl two – two down with the Sriracha bottle squeezing it on everyone. Homeless person just goin’ gone crazy on everybody. I'm like…
Sean: Welcome to Portland.
John: Welcome to Portland.
Sean: Now, no more convention.
John: Yeah, no conventions for – What about you?
Chad: I like Vegas. You know, I think it's easy. I know that that's probably a cliched answer, but I enjoy it. It's convenient for me, I think. I think people like it as well.
John: I think Vegas is fantastic because it just offers everything. You know, from the restaurants... I mean, and then, you know, when you finish at the – your dinner and you go back to the hotel or you're in the casino, the casino bars, there's a lot of people going, so there's still the after hour action that I think we missed like in Los Angeles and – or the offsetting. But, we'll see. But, I enjoy it. All right, well listen, I want to thank you – the three of you for being here. I think it's awesome you guys keep up this push and I want to see all three of you travel into the BIRs. I want to see all three of you an officer. I think it would be awesome one day to look at the officer's table and see this line where you're all in succession because I think you all have the talent, the smarts, and more than anything: the want to do it. You want to do it. And, I look forward to that day and I thank all of you again and, uh, that's it for another episode of Pile of Scrap.
Sean: Yes, sir.
Chad: Thank you for having us.
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