Pile of Scrap Ep. 43: Let’s Talk Recycling with NFL Quarterback Mark Sanchez
Recycling doesn’t stop at the recycling bin. As recyclers, we know that, but do consumers? After touring Sierra Recycling & Demolition, former NFL quarterback and current ESPN Analyst Mark Sanchez got valuable insight into the recycling industry, the common misconceptions, and steps consumers must take to recycle correctly. Sanchez then discusses the life-altering moments crucial to gaining the confidence he needed to become the sports icon he is today.
Watch this episode on YouTube here.
Mark Sanchez and John Sacco
Intro: The following is an original audio series from Sierra International Machinery, Pile of Scrap with your host, John Sacco.
John Sacco: Hello, hello, hello. And, welcome to another episode of Pile of Scrap. So, today we have a very special episode. I'm not sure how much recycling we're going to talk about, but I have Mark Sanchez of the ESPN.
Mark Sanchez: Correct.
John: Former NFL quarterback.
Mark: Yes, sir.
John: And best of all, former USC Trojan.
Mark: That’s right. Fight on.
John: Fight on. Class of ‘84.
Mark: Class of ’08? ’09? ‘09 Rose Bowl. ’08 graduate.
John: There you go.
Mark: Is that right? We'll check that.
John: The sacral feminine. My wife's a graduate. Class of ’87. And, our daughter Giovanna will be class of 2021.
Mark: So cool.
John: May 14th.
John: She graduates on my wife's birthday.
Mark: Oh, boy.
John: So, it's like, who gets the most important day? I mean, I don't know. I think Giovanna’s gonna win.
Mark: Whatever you do, celebrate at Luigi's. That place is awesome.
John: Well, we’re gonna be in LA. I don't even know if we're going to have a graduation. It could be a virtual graduation.
Mark: Two years in a row.
John: Two years in a row. That’s sad. Well, I hope that's not where we get to. Mark, thanks for joining. You know, uh, how are you here? You're friends with my nephew, Philip, as we call him, Little Phil. You know, you guys have a friendship, you guys spar and you work out in your boxing and you came up here… Did you want him to check out this recycling world.
Mark: That’s right.
John: Give me your first impression. What'd you see?
Mark: I told Phil right away, as soon as we got done touring the yard, the Parts department, seeing the balers, everything, I didn't realize the next steps of recycling because all you think of is, you know, my plastic container or, you know, single-use plastic item and I just throw it in a blue bin and it has that little triangle that has the arrows on it. And, that's about it. Recycle, reduce, reuse. Like, that's what I remember from school. That's what I do in my brain quickly when I throw something in the recycler. But, then what? Right? And, it's not just bottles. It's not just plastic. It's metals, and bronze, and brass, and all this stuff out there. I just was blown away. All the wiring – copper wiring. I mean, there was more copper wiring… That thing would wrap around the globe 10 times, it seemed like. So, I didn't understand what really goes into it. And, then to see the gentlemen operating the machinery, to cut those pipes, to cut, um, all those materials into specific size requirements or specs to send to another place to refine it and then do the whole thing over again was impressive.
John: It’s eye opening, isn’t it?
Mark: Oh my gosh, everybody should see it because it matters, right? Just when you see that, you're like, wow, I think of that old bike that we just put in the regular trash or whatever. Like, somebody has to separate all this stuff. Your old appliances, you know, all that kind of stuff. And, what was crazy, we talked about out there – Phil and I, I said, “You know, when you take this to the dump in San Juan, which is close to my house, you have to pay, you have to pay a fee to go drop that thing off. You could bring it to a plant like this and get money instead of paying mo–I'm like, who's on PR with that? We need to figure that out.
John: Well, you know, that's a great point. And, I think the recycling industry… One of the things that the recycling – I think it's very misunderstood because everybody… The first thing you think of is (1) blue bin.
John: People don't realize the industrial nature of recycling, okay? You build airplanes, for example, and Boeing has got all this aluminum. All those scrap aluminum is going back into things. GM, Ford, Chrysler, all the cars…
Mark: Older car corporations.
John: But, all the scrap they generate from the manufacturing process is getting made back into new.
Mark: I saw the shavings for all the different me–I was like, “What is all…”
John: The knee brace?
Mark: The knee brace. That's right. I wore one of those bad boys.
John: You wore one of those. All those knee braces come basically from recycled aluminum.
John: Now, you were telling us earlier in talking that you have some screws in your shoulder.
Mark: I do. I have a six anchors in my shoulder. I had a, uh, uh, not a rotator cuff… A labrum tear my fourth or fifth year – fifth year in the NFL with the Jets. I toured in a pre-season game. It dislocated and I had to go to – go down to Dr. Andrews in Alabama and Pensacola, Florida. That's right. And he, uh, he, he fixed me up and I did rehab with Kevin Wilke and they put six anchors in here and fixed up that labrum. And then, I could throw again.
John: Those anchors are made from titanium…
John: Which is 50% recycled…
Mark: There we go. That could’ve came right through here.
John: It could have. It could have, or, you know, all the former players have to have knee replacements, shoulder, you know, hip replacements. Those materials are…
Mark: All recycling –
John: 50% recycled… So, it's interesting that, you know, we were talking at lunch today about filter versus natural grasp. But, filter… The little rubber, as we talked about, is recycled tires.
Mark: Oh. Tires. Okay.
John: So, it's incredible. The recycle industry – the recycling industry… How it impacts the everyday life of everybody around the world. Yet, it's not – it's always thought of blue bin, plastic, aluminum, milk jug… “Oh, I did my part.”
John: There's a lot more to it. All right. So, your father growing up was a firefighter.
Mark: He was. 30 years a captain for a long time.
John: When I was a kid growing up here and up to even today, the Fire – Kern County Fire Department, Bakersfield Fire Department would come here and practice on the jaws of life on used – on old automobiles. So, I'm wondering if your dad ever had that opportunity with that? I'm sure he did it because the jaws of life, it would have been in the scrap metal operation.
Mark: That's unbelievable. He's definitely used that. And, it was actually used on him to cut him out of a car accident that he was in on, um, Santiago Canyon Road. I was in the sixth grade. It was an April of sixth grade. I remember it like yesterday because my brother showed up at school, which never happened. He came to pick me up. He said, “Dad's in the hospital.” I was like, “What?” This was like a week after Columbine. So, like, those things kind of marked those days, you know? And, I remember, uh, my – it was real wet and another car lost control and slammed right into the front of my dad's Honda Civic or Accord or something like that and busted him up pretty good. I mean, he's fallen through roofs. He's, um, you know, he's had a bunch of injuries as a firefighter and this one was essentially like off-duty and… Boom. Just smacks his car. And, he had to get cut out of the car, called 911 himself, got out of the car and they got him to the hospital, but it was the jaws of life that saved him.
John: And many, many recyclers that do metal recycling have automobiles across this country welcome, at a moment's notice, that they’ll call… “Absolutely. You come on in,” because we give back to the community in ways that some don’t. And, that training that your dad had also saved his life.
Mark: No doubt. No doubt.
John: And, that's great. And, you see, the recycling industry won't get – We're doing a bad job messaging that, but, uh…
Mark: I mean, that's the – it's just has to be, um, I guess repurposed, recycled. It sounds silly, but that the idea that this stuff goes around, it comes around full circle, right? That could be like the new PR movement, is…
John: It is. And, you're spot on. And, this is why we do Pile of Scrap. And, people who are going to listen to this and watch this are going to hear the story and they're going to go, “I had no idea.”
Mark: Yeah. That's which is exactly what I said. I feel like everybody has no idea. N
John: And… But, you know, it's part of the whole education process. It's going to be a little more fun. People go, “Oh, former NFL quarterback.” But, your dad, okay, you're six years old and your dad gets banged up pretty bad. That's got to be pretty hard on you and you’re sixth grade… You're still wanting to be a quart–Did you know you're going to be a quarterback in sixth grade? Is that what you're playing? Or where were you in soup? Because you know, you're not too far from high school…
John: Then to…
Mark: So, I didn't really start playing quarterback until probably middle school. So, maybe another year or so after that. Uh, I played fullback, running back, linebacker, defense, you name it. I played every position. And, we'd always play catch a ton before practice, after practice. I think my dad might've had an idea because I did throw the ball fairly well. Uh, but then, I remember, he took me to my eventual high school coach named Bob Johnson. His son was Rob Johnson, uh, who won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, uh, but played in the league for a long time. And he, um, my dad took me to him because he's like, “Hey, listen, he's my kid. Obviously, I'm biased. I think he's pretty good. I don't know. You see a lot of quarterbacks, Coach, let us know.” And, so he put me through a series of workouts and he invited me back and then invited me back. And, he goes, “Yeah, we're actually making some quarterback tapes. Would you mind if your son's in it? Some drills that we're going to film that he does pretty well, that we're going to send out. And, this is kind of like a side business for us.” And, so my dad's like, “So, he's doing okay?” He goes, “Oh yeah, I'd stick with it.”
John: So, the importance of your – my dad… And, the reason why I'm bringing this up… My father was my mentor, okay? I mean, he was an immigrant from the middle of the 1935. Many people already know that. But, growing up, it was – he was training me when I was in the backseat of his Fleetwood – Cadillac Fleetwood – about corporate structure –if it's a crime… I don't know why I remember it. So, your father and your relationship pushing you towards sports, or was he saying, “Mark, education first?”
John: What was that like? What was growing up in the Sanchez household with your father and what he meant to you? Not – we're not going to disown mom because mom's a mom. Nobody ever disses mom, but your father… You know…
John: The story you're telling us is pretty impactful.
Mark: He pushed me hard. Mom was always the, um, you know, unconditional love, you know? Love and support and “hang in there because it's not always easy working with your dad,” you know? ‘Cause he wants to push it, and he know. He sees your potential and sees what you can be. But, he also sees all the obstacles that you're going to face and he wants you to prepare for them and wants to prepare you for them himself. So, um, that was kind of the relationship growing up. But he, um, for example, it wasn't just sports. Like, homework had to be done before football, baseball, basketball practice. Like, that was just like a non-starter right there. And, there were times when I'd miss practice and he would just leave me at home and go coach the team. And, I had to do homework and I was just like, “Man. That’s ridiculous.”
John: My son…
Mark: I just wanna go ball, you know? I don't want to do these spelling words. I want to go play. But, you know, I did well in school and uh, because he was pushing me and, and I, you know, I knew it was important. But, one of the things that I think is so important is he pushed sports with us because of the lessons they teach you for life. So, he always thought it was very important to be able to speak in front of people, to express your thoughts, to articulate yourself well. That was always an important skill that he thought I needed to know to the point where he picked me up from school, we'd be driving home in his Ford F-150 and diesel engine hallways. And, uh, he would make me tell him about my day and it couldn't be just, “It was good. It was fine.” You know? “Well, what'd you learn?” Blah, blah, blah. And, I had to go down the list. And, then by the time we got home, we'd be sitting in the driveway. I told him all about school and then he would make me tell him all over again. And, he said, “You can't say ‘like,’ and you can't say, ‘um.’ Do it again, please.”
John: That’s fantastic.
Mark: And, I was blown away at the time and I was so frustrated until I got to that point where just said, “Okay, I'm not going to do that anymore. I'm going to express myself without using those words so I don't have to start over.”
John: Henceforth, you're able to get in front of camera today on ESPN and you’re not goin’ “um, um, um.”
Mark: The next one… The next one is quite silly. But, at the time, you know, I resented my dad for this, but you have your little league season, okay. We play T-ball and I was… Call it the Red Sox, call it whatever, I don't remember. But, you know, coach has, uh, the banquet at your local, you know, pizza joint – Fudruckers…
John: It was always a pizza joint.
Mark: Something like that. So, my dad goes and gets a gift certificate to the local Applebee's or Sizzler or something. And, he makes me go in front of the team. All the kids, the parents, the everybody else, the coaching staff, and present an award on behalf of the team to our coach. And, he made me say it. Which, at the time felt like, you know, an entire arena of people. I'm like a little kid, you know, I don't want to talk to all these people. And, here I am, “On behalf of the Rancho Santa Margarita little league Red Sox… 31-3 was our record and blah, blah, blah.” You know? You go through the whole thing and I'd come up with a script of what I wanted to say. “We'd like to thank you, coach Smith for…” Blah, blah, blah. “Here's the gift certificate or token of our appreciation and a special thank you to your wife, Mrs. Smith, for giving him, or allowing him to use his time on us.” And it was like – it became a thing every year. I did it every year for every sport.
John: And, so when did you go, “I got this.”
Mark: So, it was just one of those things like, “Okay, I gotta do this,” but then fast forward... And, this wasn't for football to be the quarterback of the New York Jets, but to have 30, 40, 50 beat writers and reporters and cameras and they want to talk to you right after a game when you're emotional and all that, it was normal. It was normal to give a presentation in front of a 300-person class at USC. It was normal to get on the field in front of thousands of people, was normal. I just that's – I could do that to articulate myself to my teammates, to whoever… That became normal because I did it so much. So, it was more about those kinds of skills that football, or baseball, or basketball – sports would teach me. Then, “Hey, you're going to be the quarterback of the New York…” Nobody knew that. So, that was – that was what he pushed us in.
John: The public speaking… I met with Margaret Thatcher. She was at our trade association. Now, I interviewed George Bush in front of 2000 people. It didn't bother me because I did eighth grade graduation speech.
Mark: See, stuff like that sticks with you.
John: Because I watched my dad talk in front of people. And, I guess that's why I don't have a problem getting in front of the camera. I don't even really notice it. But, Margaret Thatcher told me something. It was interesting. Just me and her. To talk, to just meet her after a photo session at our trade association at ISRI. She, uh – we talked and she says, “You know, one of the things that I'm really disturbed with today's schooling in the world is kids are no longer made to stand up in front of their class and recite poetry.” She had poetry. She goes, “If you can get up and recite poetry to class, you can stand up and talk and articulate…”
John: “In front of anybody.”
Mark: Yeah. The point is you're not going to stand up and read some sonnet from Shakespeare. That's not the point. The point is you can speak in front of people and that is such an important skill. And, it's getting lost.
John: David Shaw, coach at Stanford…
John: Recruits kids who can articulate.
John: You know, you don't go to Stanford, you know – getting into SES is tough enough.
John: Getting into Stanford is even harder. But, if a kid who cannot articulate to Coach Shaw… Won't work.
Mark: It's impossible, yeah. Your playing ability for places like that sets the floor and then your skills outside of playing… Everything else is your ceiling.
John: So, are you talking to kids now? Do you have a, uh, you know – you get asked to talk to schools – and are you discussing that?
Mark: Quite a bit. And, currently, in this, you know, season of life…
John: With COVID.
Mark: With COVID, it's a little different. But, in this, you know, season of life, right after the NFL season when these college players decided to go to the NFL, I'll help out with either my agency's group of quarterbacks or some other groups of quarterbacks that are getting ready to make that jump. And, it's not, you know, I'm not out there coaching them on their footwork. They have quarterback gurus and specialists that do a lot of that. But, I just hang around with them when we watch tape. I hang around to see how they interact with each other. ‘Cause it's, it's so interesting to me. Uh, and it's like, you know, an experiment in some ways to see these guys. And, I've covered these guys in college; the Brady Whites, the Shane Buecheles, the Trevor Lawrences, the Justin Fields. All these guys, I've seen them all year, but now I get to sit in a room and watch tape and hear that – like, see how they visualize the game and then hear them talk it. Like, how can you talk to me about this game? Can you tell me what you're seeing clearly, concisely? Can we go through this film together and are you ready for that next step? Are you ready for this next level? And I get, I get this incredible insight. And, then I also get to impart anything I've seen in the league. Like, “Hey man, these are – this is one way of learning things. Here's another way of learning things. Here's a routine I use Monday through Saturday to get me ready for a game. Here's what I know other players have used. Uh, you know, here's a little trick about this. Here's what I did when I had a sore arm. Here's…” Whatever. And, so you get to talk with these kids and it's important that you can express yourself.
John: Well, okay. This is what's fascinating to me because, you know, you knew you had to come to a time where your NFL career is coming to a close, and you knew that there's that next step. And, because you were prepared to talk because talking became easy for you because of the training as a kid from your parents, that's this next stepping stone in your life.
Mark: No doubt. It’s a second career.
John: How many of these kids do you feel are missing this? How many of them in today's world versus when you grew up, how many kids can you say today, really, know the true ability to articulate and the importance of it?
Mark: I don't think many do. And, what's funny is, um, you know, I fall into that trap all the time of like, “Oh, I’ll text you.” And, my dad, I think on purpose, has that old flip phone that has like the three-key-punch-texting, whatever it was called, I forget… But, he won't text us on purpose. ‘Cause he makes you call his ass and talk to him ‘cause he wants to hear your words. He wants to hear your voice because so much – that's the other thing – so much gets lost in either the tone of your voice, the, you know, the circumstances, the atmosphere in which you're talking, the environment. Uh, you know, over text, over an email, I mean, people get pissed off, people get heated, people get upset from reading words, but they don't know exactly how the words were meant to be delivered. Right? So, I think that is still a lost art. And, when you’re… Everything in life, right? Is some sort of negotiation here or there. And, the tone is everything. Saying something like, “Man,” you know, joking around, saying like, “Ah, you know, you're really a jerk or man, you're a jerk.” Those have two very different kinds of connotations.
John: Across on the telephone, there, you can’t really tell. You know, my son, to his credit, he calls me after every round. He's in high school golf.
Mark: That’s what I heard.
John: He’s a really good golfer and he's really working hard, but he calls me after every round. And boy, you could tell the pain after a battleground or you can tell the thrill.
Mark: You can feel it.
John: But, you know, he won't text me it because he calls and he's just like – he – I think he figured it out. “If I don’t just tell him now, he's going to interrogate me when he gets out.” So, he figures that out, which I think is great. That’s, you know what, Mark, thanks for sharing that because I think, ultimately, you know, podcasts, we do – to me, that just an incredible thing. Somebody's gonna click on this because they're going to see former NFL quarterback Mark Sanchez, or ESPN analyst Mark Sanchez… And, they're gonna want to hear from you and they're going to go “Wait. I was hoping he was going to talk about game plans and all of this. And he's talking about articulating.”
John: But, see, that's the commitment business owners… You know, here we are, we own these big businesses, these multi-million dollar operations in the recycling industry. As owners – and, you know, my nephew Phil's coming up, you know – the next generation. You gotta be able to articulate to your employees. You gotta be able to articulate to your customers.
John: Again, this is a commitment. you know, an NFL career can last… What’s the average? Six, seven years? Six years?
Mark: Oh, average is like three and a half. Maybe.
John: And, you've played, I mean how many years?
John: So, you went above average.
John: And then… But you're like 34 years old.
Mark: So, that's the thing is you, somehow, in some ways, my life is upside-down that way because I've been working at something for so long, but then when you go back out and you want to do something else, you're behind everybody, everybody else has had potentially two or three jobs. You know, they've had experience in maybe recycling, maybe in sales, maybe in tech, maybe in finance, but now they have a pretty good idea of what they're going to do. Now, thankfully I played long enough and made enough money and save that money that, you know, I'm okay. But, now it's like, okay, what do you want to do? What do you really want to put your focus on? What's my four-year-old son going to see me doing every day? I can't just sit back and be like, “Oh, that guy used to play football a long time ago and made some money.” Like, what kind of example is that for him? So, I gotta –
John: It’s not a good example.
Mark: I gotta get up and go to work. You know? And, so that's where TV came in. That's where the second career came in. But, all those skills matter. I just got to play football for 10 years and I'm very blessed to do that, but I still need all those skills that helped me play football, not just the physical side, all the other things; being able to articulate yourself, you know, um, cultivate relationships with people… Those are all important skills that I needed for everything else I'm going to do.
John: Is this your first year? Is this your first year fully retired?
Mark: Second year.
John: Second year. Okay. Did you miss it this year?
Mark: Not as much as I did last year.
John: All right. So, you now… You look at Tom Brady?
Mark: What an amazing run.
John: And, he's still running.
John: You don't think, “Man, I think I could still get out there.” Or, are you – do you know now you’re done?
Mark: No, I know. I know I'm in a good place. I like where I'm at. I like what I'm doing on TV. Uh, love the podcast stuff. I love…
John: You’re podcasting! I wanted to go to that. So, you're in the boat, but real quick on the Brady issue… Brady at 45, 44, 45, and he's still competing. That's no different than in our industries where you go and you see some of these old timers, guys in their eighties. My father was 87 and a half when he died of Cancer. He was here every day. He was here Sat–Okay. Every day, Monday through Friday, dad would show up at 8:30 in the morning – on Saturday morning, 7:00 AM. And, he'd call me “Why aren't you here?” “Dad, you're not in the office until 8:30 Monday through Friday. Why are you here so – But, it’s that drive. Work was his thing.
Mark: And, that first-generation mentality, right? ‘Cause when you're here first, like he came over here with, I'm assuming, not much.
John: Nine bucks. My dad always said, “I came to America with $90 in his pocket.”
Mark: So, my grandfather was very similar coming from Mexico.
John: Wherabouts in Mexico?
Mark: And, uh… My great grandparents were from Zacatecas and, coming over here, they – he worked, um, engineering in the war – he was in World War II. Uh, worked engineering, worked at Kodak and a couple of different, um, camera companies after that because he did a bunch photography stuff, um, either during the war or shortly after, but it was like: All right, how – what am I doing for the rest of my family that's eventually going to be here and take over what I have? Like, I got to leave him something bigger, better, more.
John: Immigrant mentality.
Mark: That mentality is strong man. And, they don't – there's no like, “Oh,” they're like, “Oh, it didn't really work,” or, you know, “I don't really feel good.” That's like, not – that's not okay.
John: My dad, you know…
Mark: It’s incredible.
John: He had Can–When he was dying of Cancer, we never talked about it, but I'll never forget the day he walks in my office with his cane, sits down right where you're sitting, Mark, and he says to me, “Do you love your son? Do you love Giancarlo? And, I said, “Yeah.” And, I go… And he goes, “Do you love Giancarlo?” “Well, of course I do.” He goes, “Well, you're my Giancarlo.” And, ‘til, you know, it was never – that generation, all they wanted to do was to give to their family…
John: Give a better life and keep giving. We’re blessed. Your father, the firefighter, your grandfather. And you, me – we're blessed beyond – and now, you're doing something with it. So, let's talk about your podcast. Might shift gears and go to podcasts because I'll get – I'll start getting all emotional if I start talking more about Dad. Do you like it? Are you having fun? I love mine. I love this.
Mark: First – the first couple of episodes, I don't know what to make of it. I was just like, “You know, I get on there and I ask these people some questions…” And, like, I was still feeling it out. And then, I got – I watched a lot of them again, I got a little coaching, um, and I started to think of, “Okay, these questions, obviously I'm not just asking yes or no questions, but like we got to get a little deeper. Maybe we go into their family history if there's something special there that people don't know. Um, you know, with DeMarcus Ware where we’re talking about all his brothers and sisters, how he used to have to do yard work. Like, even when he was playing college ball, uh, the day he got the call from Jerry Jones…
Mark: Um, hugging Peyton Manning in the locker room after winning his first Super Bowl that he had wanted to win in Dallas for so long. And, what was that moment? Like, what did you guys say to each other? And, just hearing him go back into that moment, then I was like, “Okay, I'm getting somewhere. We just recently had Alex Smith on who might be my favorite interview of all time and talking about the will and drive to get back on the football field. And, he counted the days of his rehab and he's like every day there was a little victory for me to achieve. And, he's like, “I fought like hell to get it. I fought like hell to get it.” And, I was just like blown away. He has a, um, an apparel line called Just Live. And, that's what he was telling himself in that bedroom. And, he said, you know, everybody knows about a lot of things. Uh, you know, on the surface of this injury. He's like, “But, the lonely nights in that hospital with just me and my wife and her pushing me to snap out of it, to snap out of negative town and just get back to who I am and then go take the kids to practice and then put them down for bed and then take them to school. And, I'm there, you know, I'm there just thinking about what I'm missing.” And, it was just, I mean, it was, it blew me away to connect with somebody like that. And, so now I don't view it as an interview. This is a connection. We're building a bridge and a relationship, hopefully for a long time. But, I was just so impressed with where it's gone with the podcast and thankful for the opportunity that I've gotten.
John: And I – that's how I feel about – I, you know, I – I've had you and Uncle Kracker, the two nonrecyclers that I’ve had on and I really have had a lot of fun. And, it's like –
Mark: Hey, I got a blue bin at home.
John: But, that's okay. We're – okay. Let's do a little test here now. Recyclable or not recyclable. Yes or no. Toothpaste tube.
Mark: The tube?
John: Good answer. Pizza boxes.
Mark: I feel like anything with food, you got to get the food off of it or something, no? Because you can't have food in there.
John: Get the food out, but the pizza box is recyclable. Shampoo bottles.
John: Yes. Shampoo – milk jugs.
John: Milk jugs are worth more than aluminum right now, by the way. That’s the craziest damn thing I've ever heard.
Mark: Let me write that down.
John: Laundry detergent bottles
Mark: Gotta be, yes.
John: Yes. Styrofoam.
Mark: Gotta be. No. Actually, aren't those like the worst thing – aren't they trying to get rid of styrofoam.
John: Styrofoam is polystyrene. It’s not a really good product and repurposing of it is no good.
Mark: Okay. All right. Dang it, I knew that.
John: Okay. You got a little kid. You know those little Capri-Sun juices?
Mark: Yeah, yeah.
John: Recyclable or not recyclable?
John: Because they're two co–they’re cross-contaminated. You got a – you got a poly liner and it's a plastic and it looks like foil… well, it’s just garbage.
Mark: So it's not metal at all?
Mark: There's nothing…
John: It looks like it, but it’s not.
Mark: We’re done with those. Done.
John: Well, you know, you can buy – there are some products… And, you know, on food packaging, people are now – look, you're in great shape. You're a healthy – and, I'm sure you're making choices when you buy food. But, have you ever considered buying a product that has post-consumer recycles in it? Have you ever – ever crossed your mind that you would buy something that has more recycled content in the packaging or what have you?
Mark: I can’t say I have.
John: It's changing. People are starting to change. Now, people are actually making decisions based on the packaging.
Mark: But, how do they even find out who's going to make a decision that way?
John: The consumer companies?
John: The focus groups.
John: The focus groups to the ends. So, people are to beginning see they're making choices at supermarkets based on.
Mark: So, they'll show that focus group packaging saying like “Recyclable,” whatever, or “biodegradable” such-and-such, or…
John: Okay. Biodegradable. You’re a surfer.
Mark: Yeah. I mean, I know how. I’m not great.
John: Okay. But, you love the ocean.
Mark: Love the ocean.
John: You live right by the ocean. Well, biggest problem we have in our oceans is plastic.
John: So, you know, okay, how do we get plastics out of the ocean? That's one problem to keep it from flowing into the ocean. Well, I was just last week in North Carolina with the President of Atlantic Packaging. They've come up with a product that's called Fishbone. Instead of being those, uh, can holders made out of plastic rings. It's made out of cardboard – cardboard from recycled cardboard.
Mark: Just like we saw on the bales.
John: Just like you saw on the bales out here.
John: And, so when those go into the blue bin and they go into the facility to be sorted, it's recyclable.
Mark: Yeah. ‘Cause you see all those horrible pictures of them around like a seagull or whatever.
John: Or turtles.
Mark: Yeah, turtles.
John: And, it's 12 weeks in the environment if it were to get there – biodegradable in 12 weeks, it's gone.
Mark: Oh, wow.
John: So, people – surfers – my nephew knows some of these surfers and why, uh, we talked about. They have some drinks on their own and they have – they wanted to make sure that their product once at the store has the cardboard ring holders. They don't want plastic anymore because they're in the oceans. They have a stake in a clean ocean because because of their surfing. So, it's gradually picking up steam. And so, these are the things. You know, it's just great to have you here to see recycling from an industrial standpoint.
Mark: We did something for the Super Bowl. Not this most recent one but the year before in Miami, with MSC Cruises (Mediterranean Shipping Company) and how they've gone completely away from single-use plastic items, they're using more LED lights.
Mark: Uh, they've abandoned the use of microbeads. I don't know what you use microbeads for, but they said don't use them. So, I was like, okay, I'm anti-microbead now. Um, what else? But, they start – they basically, um, on all these huge cruise line, which had been down right now ‘cause of COVID, but all these huge cruise lines… I mean, you talk about non-recyclable goods or single-use plastic items… I mean, you'll burn through them like crazy.
John: And, you know, somebody can toss that stuff overboard.
Mark: Hundred percent. So, that's why they're moving. So, we were in a music video. Me, Larry Fitzgerald, Jarvis Landry. Um…
John: Who’s – who’s the musician?
Mark: Oh, my gosh. Uh, Alexander Star is his name and, um, oh, you gotta pull it up. It's really funny. It's really funny. ‘Cause we were like kind of like rapping in it and singing in it. It was really cool.
John: Alexander Star?
Mark: Yeah, Alexander Star.
John: I’m gonna write that down.
Mark: So, we, um – so, they actually, um, purchased an island off the coast of Miami and they're replanting a bunch of the coral reef, uh, along with all the eliminating single-use plastic items. So, they're trying to work at both ends essentially to protect the environment, save the coral reef ‘cause as it dies, the entire ecosystem gets thrown out.
John: So, the super bowl in 2018 had a zero waste thing and it was their attempt to make sure everything recyclable got into the recycle bin. Of course, food waste is a different thing. The NFL is incredibly powerful in the community.
John: And they they've been working on the, you know, the, the issues of today. But, the NFL and helping communities and clean environment in the communities will create a healthier environment in the – You know, it seems – I'm not saying for the NFL to get involved with this, but it's part of – it's such a powerful organization.
John: And its tentacles reach neighborhoods throughout North America, Canada to Mexico, these people will – Mexico… Look what they're doing. You know, NFL games in Mexico, in London, and whatever. Do you feel they have a moral role?
Mark: Oh, of course.
John: Or, what they feel is their role?
Mark: I think it is – if it's important to the environment and their fans – well, if it's important to their fans, it will be important to the NFL. Look at social injustice, look at any other movement that goes on that gets juice from the NFL. Look at that. NFL sponsors. Just think about Pepsi, Verizon… I mean, if they, if those two companies agreed to be partners with the NFL, we have to go through an entire, you know, retrofitting of our company and make sure we're producing things with a zero emissions standard or whatever. I'm just literally spit balling as we're talking. What's to say they can't do that? Or, “Hey, here's the cost of doing business as we know it for $20 million less if you guys do this and the community, or have this recycling summit, or this kind of, you know, green, whatever summit?” I mean, they have the power to do those kinds of things and I think it's – I think it's important for people if we want to sustain this way of life, right? Because when we were doing that thing with MSC cruises, they reminded us, “We're the only beings on this planet that create waste, that can't be put right back into the planet.” Right? We're the only ones who come up with stuff that doesn't just go away or help the planet in some way.
John: So, speaking of that, so you go over here and you walk through our recycling facility. Now, can you imagine all of that in the environment?
Mark: That's what I'm saying. It's so good. So, what was cool, too, when we were walking through, it's funny because, um, you know, you walk through all these facilities that I've played at. I played on six different NFL teams, but they have big posters of, you know, kind of the thing, the themes of your team, like who you are, you know, winning, or, you know, big posters of the fans. Like, “We do it for our fans” or whatever it is. “Hard work,” “Commitment,” uh, you know, “Teamwork,” all that kind of stuff. And so, I saw all the big banners that you have about safety.
Mark: “We either do it safely or not at all,” you know, all those kinds of things. ‘Cause it really does remind you, it's almost like, you know, tapping the gate, the Marvin Goo Gate, when you walk on to promo field or whatever. You know, it was like one of those things. That was kind of cool. That was great.
John: Last subject before we end this… You played for a lot of teams. Okay. These are big business organizations. Which team that you played with, really, in your opinion, had the best overall, just a random, just like incredible, to where you've actually taken something from it, into your post in the phone career?
Mark: You know, I thought – um, this is gonna sound crazy, but I remember being in Denver for the short time I was there for an off season, probably six to eight months or so and thinking how well the organization was run, they were coming right off their Super Bowl – Super Bowl L. And, I was competing for the job. Didn't end up winning the job. But, I sat in the office with John Elway who was like one of my childhood idols. I had his pictures all over my wall growing up and he said, “Sorry, dude, we're going to have to let you go.” And, I was just like, “What? What do you mean? Go where?” And, he said, “Hey, you know, we loved everything you brought here. Um, but we're going to send you to Dallas. I'm like, “Okay. Um, well I got to say, this was a short stop. I hoped it would be longer, but this was one of the best places I've ever been.” It felt like their community relations, their media department, the training staff, the coaching staff, everything was marching in the same direction. Everybody had the exact same “marching orders,” if you will. And, even if they were potentially going in the wrong direction, even if it didn't work out for me personally, I still had so much respect for them and the way they operated and, um, it was incredible to see.
John: The culture –
Mark: Oh, yeah.
John: From the top bottom was –
Mark: Oh, yeah.
John: Clearly evident to you.
Mark: And, that's where it starts. I mean, it's gotta be at the top and all those other things end up taking care of themselves, but there has to be one direction. You gotta be rowing in the same direction because as soon as somebody is off, you're just creating drag for the rest of the guys and trying to move forward. So, it's a frustrating thing when you're a part of a team, you know, that might even be winning, but you know you're lacking in a certain area and it will catch up with you at some point. You're just, like –
John: All right.
Mark: Cringing until that day.
John: I have to ask. You went to Dallas, I forgot about that.
John: You went to Jerry World.
John: I mean, that's – what you just said, Denver: great organization top to bottom. And, you got a lot of for that, but you get to Jerry World real quick. In and out.
Mark: Well, we – they just opened their new facility in Frisco. It was incredible. I've never seen facilities like that in my life. They were gorgeous. And, that place was a business. I mean, they are just printing money. They would – people would pay to go on tours there. Like, 50 bucks ahead to walk through our building.
John: You said Frisco.
Mark: Frisco, Texas.
John: Frisco T–Oh.
Mark: ‘Cause it's north of Dallas.
John: Okay. I was thinking Arlington.
John: That was an old city.
Mark: That was an old city.
John: My bad.
Mark: They moved all the facilities up to Frisco and now Frisco is this booming place, but the Cowboys’ practice facility – the star – was the first place there. Okay? Then, they partnered with like banks and other companies to “share a building” with us. There's a hotel now they're attached to their building. They have so many new businesses and restaurants, it's becoming it's its own entire city in itself. And, Frisco is now this booming town, but it all started with him moving them there. And, I mean, the biggest generator there was these tours during the day. So, you'd be finishing a meeting at like 2:00 and you'd go out for a break and then you'd go back for another quarterback meeting or whatever. But, there would be like this giant group of people walking right through your cafeteria. And, you're just like, “Oh my God. These people all paid for this tour. There's 50 people right here. That's a lot of money.” They’re just printing money on any – you name it. They had standing-room-only seats at the stadium that were, you know, a hundred bucks. I mean, everything was just like, “Okay…”
John: Like a machine.
Mark: “How – what are we doing here? How are we selling this logo? We're America's team and we're going to make a ton of money.” I mean, he has, Terry Jones has owns the company that does all the catering in that stadium and, also does it at all these new stadiums that are being built. So, every new stadium he's, you know – think about it. At the owners’ meetings, he's like, “Yeah, build that stadium.” Boom. “Pay me money for that.”
John: I like stadiums. You know why I like stadiums?
Mark: Because a lot of the…
John: The steel.
Mark: The steel is recycled, correct?
John: Absolutely. The three bar in the cement is going to come from a steel mill here in the U.S. The steel, the beams, and all that.
Mark: It’s really cool.
John: Build more.
Mark: I didn't realize that. But, yeah, for him, selfishly, all those catering companies are: boom. They’re spitting out money. It was – it was incredible just to see the inner workings of a real business, not just the football side.
John: Last thing. Best individual sports moment be it when you were a youth. Last thing. Last quick – last moment you ever had, no matter how old you were. What was that one sport moment that you look back on your life and you just always go there?
Mark: There are a couple. I'll rip them off fast, but I – my first play on varsity football is at Santa Margarita Catholic High School. We were playing at Cal State Fullerton. We're playing against Esperanza, I want to say – I can't remember. El Dorado. I forget the high school we were playing against. But, I go in on a third and 15. The third quarter ends. It's third and 15 and they put me in. So, I'm like warming up before the quarter starts. We go in, we throw double smash special, which was two corners and special men. He runs a corner post. This team gives us split safety. Boom. I throw it down the middle – 55-yard touchdown to Bobby Withorn on my first varsity pass.
Mark: So, that was like – and Bobby went on to play at Washington. And so, um, that was incredible for me. In the Rose Bowl… Um, we're on – its third quarter before we ended up blowing the doors off of Penn State. Uh, it's third and short. I want to say third in one to three, something like that. And, we're looking at the wristband on the sideline. We burn a timeout. Sarg is going over, “Hey, are we going to go, you know, Rose and Lee, which is like a naked, basically a boot-out. Are we going to sprint out, go spider, uh, or Sally? Um, are we going to just hand the ball off or go to the line with a check?” And, Peaches grabbed me during the timeout ‘cause it was an extended timeout for the TV, uh, for the, for the broadcast network. And, he just put his arm around me and he goes, “Is this everything we ever talked about or what?” And I was like, “What?” I was like, “What are you talking about?” He goes, “Remember – We're…” He goes, “Look around, man, look at this. This is the Rose Bowl. A hundred thousand people. You're the quarterback. We're about to convert this third down.” And, I'm like, “We don't even know what we're running on third down. What are you talking about convert this third down?” And, he goes, “This is what I told you when you were 17, 18 years old. Remember your mom, and dad, and your brothers, your grandpa, everybody was in there? We were all excited talking about USC. I was in there with Eddie Ogeron, blah, blah.” I said, “Yeah, of course I remember, but what the hell does that have to do with now?” He's just, “Hey, relax. Soak it all in. Enjoy this. Let's go get that third down.”
John: Great story.
Mark: And, I was just like – I'm like “This guy's nuts. He's nuts.” But now, looking back, to see him be able to get that, you know, perspective.
John: Did you get the first down?
Mark: Oh, yeah. We got the first down in… I mean, that was, like – that was, like, unimportant now because I remember that moment so much more vividly, looking around at all the cardinal and gold and the navy and white, and, I mean, it's us versus Joe Paterno. I mean, this was like a huge thing. And, he reminded me of all that in that very instant in about a minute that felt like a millennium. Like, it was crazy. And, then he put me right back in the place I needed to be, go get the first down and go win the game. I mean, it was, it was like a movie, you know? It was crazy. So, that was…
John: Great story. Those you'll always – and there's always a lesson from those too. P telling you, “Calm down.” You know?
Mark: The perspective.
John: We have, we just promoted a kid because somebody left the company just last week, two weeks ago. And he was – “We want you to step up. This is the opportunity you have.” And, he was like a little nervous in there. I put my – I literally put my arm around him. I said, “Ricardo, you got this.”
Mark: Yup. And, those kinds of words of affirmation.
John: Last week – earlier this week, he went up North and fixed the problem on this baler. And, I think a Little Phil's going to thank me for that one. But, you know what? Mark, thank you for joining me. Thank you for agreeing to sit down –
Mark: Of course.
John: And being part of the Pile of Scrap, the interview. I wish you the best success. Mark…
Mark: Thank you.
John: My friend, thank you so much for being here and that's it for another episode of Pile of Scrap.
Conclusion: This has been a Sierra International Machinery original audio series. Thanks for listening. Please share this podcast and make sure to subscribe.