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Pile of Scrap Podcast

Ep. 34: Mr. Foontastic!

Posted by Sierra International Machinery on 8/21/20 5:00 AM

Pile of Scrap Ep. 34: Mr. Foontastic!

Surprise! John Sacco packs his bags and heads to Sterling Heights, Michigan to pay his good friend, Mikey Foon, an unexpected visit. As the fourth-generation owner of Admiral Metals, things are a bit different for Mikey than when his great-grandfather owned the place during the horse-and-buggy days. Through mastering social media, putting plans in place for a second location, and learning to cope with the toll COVID-19 has taken, Mikey still expresses his excitement for this business every day.


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Watch the Extra Ton video of this Pile of Scrap episode here.


Mike Foon and John Sacco


Mikey Foon: I can't believe you're here. It's so amazing.

John Sacco: Well, let me do the intro first.

Mikey: Oh, well…

John: I guess you could do it for me.

Mikey: No, no, no. You’re on.

John: What are we doing? What are we filming?

Mikey: This is Pile of Scrap.

John: Awesome, Mikey.

Intro: The following is an original audio series from Sierra International Machinery; Pile of Scrap with your host John Sacco.

John: I'm here in Detroit. Well, Sterling Hei­­ghts.

Mikey: Close enough.

John: Detroit. We’re in Mo-Town.

Mikey: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

John: The Motor City. Surprise visit.

Mikey: Oh, my God… Punk’d. I'm telling you, for real. He told me it was going to be a – you told me it was going to be a Zoom call. I was ready. I was gonna, you know… putting the camera… Where's it going to be? FaceTiming my wife, making sure it was a good angle. And then, all of a sudden, the power goes out.

John: Yeah, it did. We walked in... As soon as we walked in, there was –

Mikey: There was a power surge and appeared: John Sacco. It was pretty amazing. Godly.

John: You know, this is so much fun. And, I was wondering if you would figure out because I posted yesterday, “On the road again” and I was at JWR in Wisconsin and I wondered if he ever thought I might be droppin’ in here.

Mikey: Well, it's funny you mention that because I… Did I text you? Or, I think I texted you.

John: Yeah.

Mikey: I was like, “You're up early at 4:00 AM.”

John: Yeah.

Mikey: And I, kind of… You know, maybe that was, uh, in the back of my mind, but I… Honestly completely shocked. Completely.

John: Well, we have a meeting after this, um, with, uh…

Mikey: Somebody important.

John: Somebody very, very important, but no more important than you.

Mikey: Thank you.

John: But, you know what, Mikey? You know what? This is so much fun. You know, Pile of Scrap… I, you know, we're going to talk about this funk that you've been in because of COVID-19.

Mikey: Totally.

John: Well, COVID-19 shut me down from my Pile of Scrap. I did a few Zoom calls. I won't do them anymore. I told my gal, Lyndsey; said – Lyndsey, “We need more Zoom.” I go, “I'll do solo podcasts or I'll get in front of microphone at home and talk about what I need to talk about, but I will not do a Zoom podcast anymore because they're no fun for me.” This is what I thrive on. This is why…

Mikey:  You're so good at it.

John: Well, thank you. But it's what I love to do. You know when they say when you find something you love, you're not – you'll never work a day in your life?

Mikey: That's this for you.

John: This. This is it for me. I – this, I dig. And so, you know what? It's so much fun to be here with you. You know, you influenced me with your social media. Every day, Mikey Foon was out there. And, when I met you…

Mikey: Well, let's talk about that really quick. I don't mean to cut you off. Who would have thought that when I met you at the ISRI convention and I came up to you and I was this wild, rambunctious, little crazy lunatic who wanted to do something that was way out of your comfort zone and you shot it down, which is fair. Who would have thought that it would have spiraled into us meeting here today and where it is?

John: It was because… It was – I started January of 2019 and you – we met April 2018 in Las Vegas.

Mikey: Yep.

John: And, we had the REB-X. Um, or was that in LA? Was it LA?

Mikey: It was LA.

John: It was LA, so that was last year.

Mikey: Yep.

John: Yeah, last year. So, I just started a little bit, but then it just dawned on me that there's a huge power. And, Darren who films and does this for me, said to me, “Hey, look, Mikey – he's got 10,000 people following him.”

Mikey: I wish. Not that many.

John: But, it was – I don't remember number. It was – it was staggering. And, I'm like, we need to do this. And, uh, Lyndsey and…

Mikey: Quick tip. You now have surpassed me on the Sierra page.

John: Really?

Mikey: Yeah.

John: Wow. Well, you… Let's, let's get into something important in respect to this… You've gone silent and you shared with me… This was a little tough time for you. Talk to me.

Mikey: It is.

John: Talk to me.

Mikey: I, um, I'm an emotional person and, you know, maybe that's to my credit of why it's so fun what I do and I make kind of a comedy out of it. You know, a lot of it is definitely informative and showing things, but I try to make it fun. And, I just, you know, I'm sad about where we are in the World about not being able to socialize. You know, we're keeping our distance.

John: Right.

Mikey: Um, I'm sad about so many people not wanting to just have the simple inconvenience of a mask that will protect a lot of people. You know, maybe you or I don't have to worry as much even though…

John: We do. We have to worry just as much as the next guy.

Mikey: Right. There's just as much a possibility that my immune system or your immune system could act in a specific way…

John: Right.

Mikey: That would hurt us. And, you know, there's people out there, “My civil liber–my civil liberties,” and, you know, “I–I'm not wearing a mask. It's a free country.” We're not a–you know, we're not, it's not that much of an inconvenience. So, you know, that really makes me sad and I can't put forth the effort – And then, on top of that, what happened with that George Floyd? I mean, there's just so much sadness right now. I can't put my energy into making people…

John: Comedy takes. So, you're – you're – you're kind of down because you're not finding anything funny in today's world.

Mikey: Correct.

John: You know, I would submit to you that, don't let the world dictate your happiness. You are the captain of your happiness. You know, and I read a book, The Power of Your Subconscious, and one of the things is, people always get into, “I'll be happy when COVID-19 is over,” or “I'll be happy when I get this contract,” “I'll be happy when this is done, I'll be happy.” So, you have to wait to be happy?

Mikey: Right.

John: And, you're a happy guy. But, you know, emotional… So, you know, to your credit, my, you know, I could feel it. You know, that I know about you, and you're going to stay positive. You gotta stay positive. We move forward. So, this funny story. We're sitting here, we're in this – I mean, this is so old fashion scrap yard, man.

Mikey: This is built in like the fifties, I think.

John: I mean, this is awesome. So, I'm actually where your brother used to sit.

Mikey: Yeah.

John: And then you guys do – you and your brother…

Mikey: Literally last week. So, we're sharing – what is this? Uh, a 6x10 office we’re in right now?

John: Yeah.

Mikey: And, our desks are literally buddied up to each other. And finally, we had to split off just last week so that we don't kill each other.

John: Well, that's not a positive thing. But, it's positive now that you're separated.

Mikey: Absolutely.

John: So, you and your brother… Look, me and my brother are partners. Okay. 50/50. My brother, Philip, and I –

Mikey: Just like us.

John: We have our scrap operation, we have the equipment company… And, Philip runs the scrap yard. I run the equipment company, and, um… And, that's always been good separation. My dad had set it up that way becau–

Mikey: Smart.

John: You know, and… Are you… Is one guy non-ferrous and one guy ferrous? How's that work with the you guys here at Ad–

Mikey: We are just now developing a structure like that. So, just recently, it's been more  my brother is doing some of the majority of the non-ferrous sales. I'm doing all of the steel and iron sales. Um, he does more of the running of the yard and the people. I do more of the customer service, landing accounts – handling them…

John: Industrials.

Mikey: Industrials. Um, I do all of the dispatch currently. Um, I'm in charge of, you know, keeping track of the maintenance and making sure our maintenance, uh, tack is.

John: So, you guys are a two man show in an area where you're surrounded by just giant…

Mikey: Monst–monsters in this industry.

John: Giants of the industry.

Mikey: Yes.

John: But, you've carving out a niche.

Mikey: Yes.

John: Hustle. You know, your brothers that are hustling… You know, you guys, you two, even though you're fourth generation, right?

Mikey: Yeah.

John: Well, I don't want – I want you to go back to that story.

Mikey: Sure.

John: You're both fourth generation, but you're the two – you're your great grandfather right now. You and your brother are that original… Because you still, even though you're starting with – you had something – you guys are having to build it. You're fighting.

Mikey: That's right.

John: You loving it?

Mikey: So, I want to touch on that. So, even though I'm sad right now, this industry makes me excited every day. So, I do love it. I ab–like, there are moments when I'm at home with my wife and we're in bed and we're watching TV and I'm just like, you know, I really love what I do. I really do. I love making deals. I love meeting people. I love going to these factories, plants and seeing what they're making, the machines they're using. I love all of that.

John: That's it. You love it. And, your brother, I mean, I've, you know, I – you and I have know each other. We've talked many of times.

Mikey: Yep.

John: And, I want to commend you on something. We did your yard tour. How many times did I talk to you – and, you have finally done it. You've got your safety...

Mikey: Yes.

John: You got your safety program.

Mikey: I owe it all to you, I really do.

John: I applaud you.

Mikey: Thank you.

John: Because it's not – it’s a cultural thing.

Mikey: It is?

John: Safety's a journey. You never arrive because every day starts the new journey, but you've done it. You've got the hard hats and you got the vest and your glasses. So, you know, it's every day. So, who's in charge of safety? You or your brother?

Mikey: So, we had an Operations Manager who was in charge of all of that. Unfortunately, we lost him in February. So, now me and my brother are…

John: Where’d you hide him?

Mikey: When I hired him.

John: Well, you lost him, but he's alive, right?

Mikey: Yes, he is.

John: Okay.

Mikey: Um, so me and my brother are both tackling it the best we can, you know, picking up the slack for the meetings. Most of the meetings, we try to keep super positive, commending the guys of doing safety, you know, wearing their helmets, um, and nowadays, you know, more of saying “great job,” you know, “wearing your mask,” you know, ‘cause I want to protect everybody as best as we can.

John: As I told you, and this is important because you know what… You two are the young and you're in here and, and you're, you're so busy doing what you're doing. And, when we talked about it and you said, “You're right.” And, it starts at the top. Everything starts out – because, look, I see your relationships with your customers and from social media. I see what you do. And, you're leading.

Mikey: Thank you.

John: Now, that you're leading with safety, that's changing here in the yard too, isn't it?

Mikey: Yes. Absolutely. A hundred-thousand percent.

John: So, you know, let's go back. You wanted to talk about – let's go back and talk about the food family and the grandpas…

Mikey: Sure.

John: And, the great-grandpas. Talk to talk to me about that.

Mikey: So, fourth generation. Long history of scrapping here and here in the Detroit area.

John: What year did it start?

Mikey: I, you know, I don't know exactly where my great grandfather started, but it started so long ago that he was on a horse and buggy that he rented for a dollar a day. My dad loves to tell this story that the horse that he rented one day died at the corner of an intersection and he got a ticket from a police officer because he was impeding traffic. And then, my great grandfather was like, “Well, sir, I can't move the horse. It died.” So, that's one of the funny stories…

John: Where did the Foon family originate from? A European descent?

Mikey: Yes.

John: Where?

Mikey: You know, I don't know exactly. I think Poland.

John: Okay.

Mikey: I should know these answers much better.

John: No, it is what it is. Well, see, look, my father came from Italy and anybody who listens to Pile of Scrap already knows that.

Mikey: Sure.

John: But, you know, look, I get it. You know, I'm only second generation, you're fourth. You’re down the line, but you're still in it.

Mikey: Yeah. So, so horse and buggy picking up and then obviously next generation, they had a truck…

John: Did you come down here when your grandfather was running it, or just only when your dad?

Mikey: So, the story goes, my dad and grandfather were on a truck together. And, then 20 years ago… Well, this is the 21st year. 2019, we celebrate our 20th year here at Admiral. So, before that, my dad was only on a truck. He was just a peddler. He had some accounts that would pick up from every day, every week and just sell the scrap yards. So, 20 years ago, my dad was like, “I can do this. Why can't I go put my stake in the ground and people bring me scrap and I can also take my plant scrap back and have more volume to require a better value, and I can shop instead of unloading?”

John: So, was Admiral Metals what your dad started or…

Mikey: My dad, yes.

John: And, so, would I be correct in saying the “A” was so you'd be early in the Yellow Pages?

Mikey: A hundred percent. A hundred percent.

John: There's no Yellow Pages today.

Mikey: Amazing. Right? So, so 20 years ago, my dad was like, “I can do this. I'm going to do this.” My grandfather wanted no part of it. Them on the truck together, my grandfather goes, “I am not doing this.” And, there's a million stories about how my dad tried to convince my grandfather to buy out a little, a littler place than this, you know, start something. And my grandfather was just, “No, no, no, I don't want to, I don't want the overhead. You know, we're making good money doing what we're doing.” My grandfather would spend four or five months of the year in Florida.

John: Right.

Mikey: Didn't want the overhead, the employees, the nightmare. And you know, that made sense. But my dad said, “Well, I don't want to be in the truck every day anymore. You know, the same things that you don't want, the vice versa, I don't want.” So, my dad found another guy who wanted to get off of his truck also and then they started this place.

John: So, you call you–what do you call your dad? King of Scrap?

Mikey: I do. I've nominated him as the King of Scrap. Self-proclaimed behind me.

John: Because seeing that on your social media, your dad is now full-time Florida?

Mikey: No, no.

John: No?

Mikey: No. He, uh, he now gets to enjoy like his father did and goes for, I don't know exactly how many months – it's been changing, but he went this year from right after Thanksgiving and then just got back a couple of weeks ago.

John: And whereabouts in Florida?

Mikey: He's in Boynton beach.

John: Where is that?

Mikey: It's by Boca. By, uh, Fort Lauderdale.

John: Now, are you going to follow in the same footsteps and bail out of here and the depths of winter? Or are you just, you're here?

Mikey: Not any time soon.

John: Building your business.

Mikey: Right. Exactly. I'm the Operations Manager, I'm the Sales Manager. Um, I'm here.

John: Yes. It's tough to be away. Uh, those days are definitely… You know, the generation before us – a lot of people, the snowbirds, you know, they would leave New England and head down to Florida, here. You know, we're down to some terror–wherever or down to the Palm Desert and that area. So, it's that is interesting. So, you and your brother, you're young, you're battling it. What's Admiral Metals in five years?

Mikey: That's an absolutely great question. So, this year, before March, you know, before the COVID was, like, locked down, me and my brother were really, really looking to open up a second location or move to a larger location in the same vicinity. Obviously, those plans are probably on hold. So, I would say that in five years, we have another location.

John: Who's the biggest risk taker between you and your brother?

Mikey: It's funny because I'm definitely risk adverse, but I'm the one that will take the risk and, you know, make the final decision. So, my brother's probably the bigger risktaker. He's willing to do it right away. But, since we're 50/50, he can't just carp launch and do it. So, he is, but ultimately, I feel the risk is all on me when it's – I shouldn't feel that way. It's both of us.

John: It's your nature. You know, look, I'm very risk adverse, but you know, you count your chips, you figure out what you can put on the table at the time for whatever investments you're making.

Mikey: Sure.

John: And, and as long as you know that, you're not that, you know, all in is you're here every day. But all in when on an investment that if it doesn't go right, you know, that's tough. And, I get it because that's how we were raised. Okay. That's how I was raised. And, but do you – sometimes you gotta get out there. And, so five years, where are we going to be?

Mikey: I think we'll have another location at a minimum. Um, you know, it still could possibly happen this year. It's just, you know, there's been quite a big… Yeah.

John: The world's gotta get back to some normal rotation, if you will.

Mikey: Right, right.

John: It's like we're off our axles right now.

Mikey: But, to be realistic, I mean, there is something, no matter what day, time, year, throughout the last, over a decade I've been doing this, that I can say, “Oh, not right now. I'm scared of this.” If not now, then when, right? You know…

John: I'm a little older than you and I've gone through, you know, night – the first Gulf War, the economy was just, just horrific, okay? And then, um, ’98… And, we just started coming out of it in 2001 and then 9/11. World stopped again. Came out of it… 2008, the world stopped. That's when we opened up our Jesup plant; 2008, October, when the world stopped.

Mikey: Right. That was – I remember. Steel was $800 a ton and then boom.

John: A hundred dollars a day. And so we opened up the Jesup. It's like, “Oh, great timing, John.” So, you know, I've been through…

Mikey: Ups and downs.

John: Ups and downs. And I – we have survived at all ‘cause we ­– we've – my brother and I –have invested everything back into Sierra. I mean, what we have outside the company, it's everything we have, really. All our eggs are in Sierra, but in different aspects. ‘Cause we have the recycling company…

Mikey: Nice portfolio.

John: I think we do. You and your brother are going to build that.

Mikey: That's the goal. That is the goal.

John: Now, I see the pictures of your kids. You've got twins.

Mikey: I do. A boy and a girl.

John: And your brother has twins.

Mikey: He has two girls. We're just, we're building our scrap force.

John: You're going to have a hole. You're going to own Northern Michigan right now. Or, do you dream of him coming in?

Mikey: I do. And, it's funny because I was staunchly against being in this business until like right before I was like, “I'm going to the scrap business.” I was like, “I’m never doing this. I’m never doing anything but…”

John: And, how old were you when you said, did you go to college?

Mikey: I did. I went to at Michigan State University, graduated and then I moved to Chicago.

John: Great city though.

Mikey: Love Chicago. Miss it like crazy.

John: Chicago's a great city.

Mikey: And I ended up in the third-party logistics company.

John: Okay.

Mikey: And, I was, you know, routing freight, brokering freight. And, I was just like, you know, I can do this and make money. I can do something else. Great. Whatever. But, my dad has a business. Maybe I can take it a step further. Right? You know, I never lacked anything. You know, there was a part of my life where my dad was just the peddler.

John: Okay.

Mikey: A lot – majority of my life, up to that point. And then, he had the scrapyard, which thank God, did well and didn't have to shut it down. ‘Cause those were tough times. And ‘99, I think, it was or whatever. Um, so just a lightbulb went off and was like, you know, I could really do something and help the business. I'm moving home. And also I needed to get hit in the business before my brother so my little brother would be my boss.

John: Where was he at the time he came?

Mikey: He was still in college.

John: Where was he?

Mikey: One more year. Or… Maybe two more years.

John: Where did he go to school?

Mikey: MSU also.

John: Okay. So, you guys are Spartans. You're not Wolverines?

Mikey: Correct.

John: Or, you just couldn't get into Michigan? I mean, let's be honest. That's a brutal…

Mikey: Of course I couldn't get in. Come on. That’s why I’m in the scrap business – I’m not an investment banker.

John: No, I, you know, listen. It – the experience of college is, I think a lot of it is about life in those – in the time away from the house.

Mikey: I agree. I learned so much of life. Totally.

John: And, my daughter…

Mikey: I’m no scholar.

John: Yeah.

Mikey: No scholar.

John: Neither am I, brother. I graduated with a 2.0.

Mikey: I think I was like a 2.1.

John: Oh, you're smarter than me.

Mikey: I was literally sweating, dripping bullets when I was waiting to see if I passed if I was going to go to graduate.

John: Me too. Same story. Identical story. My daughter's starting her senior year at USC in August. And, um, you know, that's uh, the fact that she got in is, I don't know how. I mean, I do know how.

Mikey: Proud dad.

John: She is – she's a smart girl and you know, she's got big things and it's, you know why, you know, it's funny, people ask me about my kids in the business. Okay? My dream is for them to live their dream.

Mikey: Whatever it may be.

John: Whatever that dream­ – I want them happy. All I want is them to be happy and healthy. That's it.

Mikey: That's all you want, as a father, for any of your children.

John: It's powerful for me, Mikey. Powerful – so powerful that I don't – “Giovanna, you go do what you want.” And, she's working for Boeing in the summer as an intern. And, she's really thrilled with it. And uh, Giancarlo, he's going to be a senior in high school and he's really working hard on his golf game. And, uh, he loves golf. And, I want him to try it. Try to be great at golf. Why not?

Mikey: Yeah.

John: Why not?

Mikey: Absolutely.

John: ‘Cause he loves it. You don't ever have to say, “Hey, you're going to go practice that.” He's always up there, right? So, that's my dream. But so, for your kids, you guys, you and your brother, you got a force here. I tell George Adams – that's okay – George, SA Recycling. They're monsters, right?

Mikey: Yeah.

John: And, he's got a lot of boys. I say, “George, you’re buying too many yards. You're running out of sons to run ‘em.”

Mikey: That’s funny.

John: Now, he’s putting them in charge of regions.

Mikey: That's so funny.

John: But, that's cool.

Mikey: Yeah.

John: That's cool. And so, you bring them down here?

Mikey: Yes. Um, I love – they’re... So, my kids are going to be three – my twins Easton and Riley. They're gonna be three July 14th. And, it's just so great to have – when they're here, they're like, “I want to go on the Bobcat. I want to go on the material handler. I want to…” You know, I love that little… That little spark.

John: Yeah. My nephew, uh, Phillip, um, my brother's son, at seven years old used to run the excavator shear.

Mikey: Amazing.

John: He'd come down there and my grandfather – you know, Italians, of course, they called him “Nono.” So, “Nono, can I run that?” So, they’d get in there and let him… Kid was this great video game player. So…

Mikey: “Sure.”

John: Joystick… Kid was a natural. And, he's a pilot now. So, he's a natural eye-hand type thing. So, the kid, all he ever wanted to do was be…

Mikey: Kids love that.

John: In this industry.

Mikey: They love it.

John: Yeah.

Mikey: So, so… Yeah. For me, yeah. I was, like, against it. You know, I have a bunch of friends that went to U of M – investment bankers, lawyers, whatever. And I was like, “I'm not going to get dirty. My dad drives a truck every day. My dad, you know, manual labor…” I was against it all the way up until the day. I was like, “I got to do it. I got to do it.” And, I'm so glad that I did.

John: You also do… Pull those wrenches too?

Mikey: No, no. Let me, let me rephrase. I don't do the maintenance. I do the coordinating of the maintenance.

John: Okay, okay. I didn’t know if you…

Mikey: I can barely change a light bulb.

John: Okay, you and me both.

Mikey: Let’s get that straight.

John: I am not a grease monkey.

Mikey: No, no, no.

John: Pop the hood of a car and I’ll look in it…

Mikey: No.

John: That’s what I look like.

Mikey: You're like that – that reminds me of the hot girl in the dress that takes the oil, pops the hood and just dumps it over the engine.

John: I'm not hot and I'm not a girl.

Mikey: The premise is what I was going for.

John: Got it. That's fantastic. So, Michigan.

Mikey: Yes.

John:  You guys have been shut down.

Mikey: Yes.

John: What is the status today? Here we are. We're June 25th. What's our status here in Michigan?

Mikey: Um, I think pretty much everything has reopened except for… I think I read an article this morning – early – that the governor said that the gyms can't reopen, but I thought they were open as of last week. So, I'm a little confused, but you know, we're –everything's back reopened for the most part. You know, we're doing social distancing, we're wearing masks, um… Just doing our part as best as we can to continue to drive down the numbers…

John: Yeah.

Mikey: Because we were hit very hard.

John: Well, it's true and, um, testing availability has skyrocketed. So, you know, we're gonna have more cases because we have far greater testing.

Mikey: Yeah. Let's hope that, um, let's just hope they find something to stop this thing because it's crazy. You know, it's funny. When it first started, I had fear about it. Then as we went, I go to work every day and, you know, my mask and social distancing. So, the fear went away. I have more fear about it in the last two weeks… As I come back… You know, we got to live though. You can't live inside a house. We've got to feed the family, people gotta go – See, if you, you know, do the things we're supposed to do with the keeping your hands clean, don't touch your face, don’t, you know, some of these things, and stay healthy…

Mikey: Yeah.

John: So many people who are obese, so many people who have diabetes and heart pre–Those are your high, high risks. Now, not to say, we're not at risk. I don't have anybody get me wrong saying I’m… But, yeah, it's a serious thing and it's serious times, but, you know, Mike, I walked your yard today. There's huge opportunity for you still here. And, we talked about that.

Mikey: Yep.

John: And, I'm not just doing that as a salesman of equipment because, I think our relationship, we don't have that. I'm not selling you anything, but I do know a little bit about processing scrap.

Mikey: Not a little bit. Don't sell yourself short.

John: Well, you know, the point is, is, you know, we're exchanging information.

Mikey: Right.

John: And, that's what I love. And, and that's, that's why, again, let's circle back to the punkin’ ya… Coming out here, I just loved it. I called Lyndsey and, “Lyndsey, make sure you send them the link and tell him, ‘cause he's all…

Mikey: Dude, you like got me. So, my brother's like, “I think someone's walking in here with cameras.” I was like, “No way. There's no way.” And then, it was you. It was amazing.

John: He looks at the window. He goes, “I know you.” Don't say it. And, he handed you my card.

Mikey: I love it. I love it.

John: He handed it…

Mikey: I was like, “Where did you get that from?” And, then poof, you appeared. Amazing.

John: That's what makes this fun, right?

Mikey: I agree.

John: Look at this. You’re all the way here. I'm out in California. We've met only one time before…

Mikey: Yep.

John:  At an ISRI convention.

Mikey: Yep.

John: We've stayed in contact.

Mikey: Yep.

John: We've become friends. I consider you a friend. I really do.

Mikey: Agreed.

John:  And, we're having fun.

Mikey: Of course.

John: Why not?

Mikey: Yeah.

John: Serious times. But, they can't steal that from us.

Mikey: No. And, I…

John: They're not going to steal that away from me.

Mikey: And, and I… I know that I mentioned that I'm sad and all that stuff, but I'm still excited every day about the business. I haven't missed one day of work, even when we were shut down. You know, we're essential just…

John: We are essential.

Mikey: We’re part of that supply chain. And, I was still excited to come to work every single day. And, you know, I tote that I scrap every day. That's my famous hashtag. And I have been. Don't worry. I have been.

John: Mine is “We Do What You Do Every Day.”

Mikey: I love that one.

John: You know, look so many people do not realize that nothing gets made in this country without recycled–recycling.

Mikey: Totally.

John: You think those auto plants… How much scrap comes from? What is it? Scrap, scrap aluminum? Steel? It's made back in the new vehicles.

Mikey: Right. Right.

John: Copper for all the li–Ventilators. Let's go back to what do – They need ventilators for COVID.

Mikey: I have some plants that all their only work from March to, I don't know when their date was, they were only making parts for ventilators.

John: And, those parts made it out of recycled materials. How about all the paper products? You know, I deal in paper. You guys don't, but I deal in cardboard, packaging products, tissue paper… You know, and without us – without this industry…

Mikey: We wouldn't have any more trees. We wouldn't breathe. We'd be dead. Right? Am I wrong when I say that?

John: Well, without us, things just aren't going to get made.

Mikey: Correct.

John: The products that we consume, you know, it comes from recycled material most of it. So, you know, I think the message of we are an essential business, not because we want to be open… Because the fact is…

Mikey: Right.

John: Without recycling, nothing gets made. Look, steel mills that are electric arc furnaces –EAFs. What do they use? Scrap.

Mikey: Recycled scrap. Yeah.

John: To make new steel.

Mikey: That's it.

John: So, people don't know that. People don't know what we're doing. And so, I think Pile of Scrap, you know, and that's why I love having you on this and the people we've had… People are getting educated about, really, this industry is…

Mikey: Of course.

John: Kind of under the radar.

Mikey: It’s like a stigma we have of being dirty and disgusting.

John: It's a tough work.

Mikey: I hate the stigma. Hate it. The things that that I've read about, uh, in California… It just is sickening. You would think that the tree huggers would be all for the recycling.

John: They are, but they don't understand…

Both: What it takes.

John: And, it's the myopic view. Look, if we can educate people that our industry – we're trying to be safer, we are environment–We are the original environmentalists. I say it, every podcast.

Mikey: Of course.

John: There's scrap, recycling paper, plastic, metals. We are the original environmentalists.

Mikey: Because we have been taking this up that would have went to a landfill and repurposing it.

John: Absolutely. It's not waste. Scrap is not waste cause it's a commodity.

Mikey: Right.

John: So, if it asks value, how can it be waste?

Mikey: Agreed.

John: So, you know, that's part of, part of what Pile of Scrap is. Let's get that message out, Mikey. Let's keep it up. It's incumbent upon you and your community to let that message – and you've done it. I want you to be back out there on your social media.

Mikey: I will be.

John: Talking about the essential of what it is we doin’. How taking a product, a byproduct from manufacturing, packaging it and get it back to the melters and put it back into U.S. manufacturing. That’s what we do.

Mikey: Without us, they can't use the scrap metal.

John: Yeah.

Mikey: They just can't. We have to process it so that they can reuse it.

John: Absolutely. So, they can repurpose. Well said. Look, Mikey… You know what? This is so awesome.

Mikey: It is.

John: It's so much fun to be here.

Mikey: This has been a long time coming.

John: And, you didn't see this one coming. This is a haymaker for – you didn’t see it.

Mikey: Well, I thought it was going to be a Zoom call. This is so much better. Isn't it?

John: See, for me, this fires me up. I love – this is what I love doing. I love the interaction with people and, you know what, I thank you. Thank you and your brother, both, for hosting, um, you know, I just met your brother for the first time today.

Mikey: I can’t believe that, but it makes sense. You would've met him at ISRI. We were both going to be there.

John: But it was – yeah. But, you… So, you know what? Thank you. Thank you for spending the time with me today, touring your yard. Thank you for what you do and who you are, the kind of person you are.

Mikey: Thank you.

John: So, you want to close it out? This has been another episode of…

Mikey: Pile of Scrap.

John: My man.

Conclusion: This has been a Sierra International Machinery original audio series. Thanks for listening. Please share this podcast and make sure to subscribe.


The Pile of Scrap Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Play. The Podcast episode videos are available on YouTube. Be sure to Subscribe, Rate, and Review Pile of Scrap.

Topics: Recycling

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