Midwest Shredder Back On Line
Auto Recyclers Provide Important Source of Scrap Metal
It was March of 2002 when Cargill Steel closed the doors
of Northstar Recycling in Toledo, Ohio. Located just a block from the
busy Port of Toledo, the multi-faceted metals recycling operation served
customers throughout the region. Early last year, Cargill - the world’s
largest privately held enterprise - announced an initiative to focus more
on its core business. As a consequence, Toledo’s second largest
metals recycling facility was no longer part of the plan. In the bitter
cold of winter, it appeared that Northstar Recycling and the more than
15 full time employees who worked there had reached the end of the line.
Doug Dauer believes timing is everything. Not long ago,
the 43-year old Toledo native and veteran of the steel recycling business
saw an opportunity in the mothballed Northstar operation. Together with
partner Mike McVey, also a former Northstar executive, Dauer began looking
at ways to transform the once proud business into a serious contender
for today’s market. By pooling their talents, as well as their resources,
they purchased the assets of Northstar Recycling and created an all-new
organization. Toledo Shredding, LLC was born.
“Both Mike and I are excited to be in Toledo,”
said Dauer, who handles the commercial side of the business for Toledo
Shredding. “The area is rich in scrap and presents opportunities
we feel are right for the new operation. Our objective is to become the
lowest cost provider of the highest quality product,” he added.
While Dauer and McVey were well prepared for the new
venture, they had help. “Toledo Shredding, LLC is owned in part
by ProTrade Steel Company, Ltd.,” explained Dauer. ProTrade Steel
is a multinational broker and trader of scrap iron, steel and other metals.
“ProTrade is our parent company. Their involvement with Toledo Shredding
is a natural extension of their vertical integration strategy. Considering
ProTrade’s commitment to the scrap metals industry, it makes sense
for all the right reasons,” he added. ProTrade Steel has offices
in Chicago; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Hudson, Ohio; Birmingham, Alabama; Baltimore,
Maryland and Richmond, Virginia.
With the backing of ProTrade Steel, the partners got
additional help from places they didn’t expect. According to Dauer,
“Right from the start, The City of Toledo was a huge supporter.
Mayor Jack Ford played a key role in making sure we had everything we
needed to get ourselves established and off to a good start. The city
leaders appreciated the fact that we were saving a lot of very good jobs.
They felt a full service scrap recycling facility would be a good thing
to keep up and running. I can’t say enough about how important their
support has been for us,” said Dauer.
Early chores included getting the yard in order and
preparing the new operation to compete in today’s market. Then on
July 29, 2003, the shredder came back on line. “We hit the ground
running,” said Dauer. “Our employees are experienced pros
who really know what they’re doing. Having a ready-made workforce
was a real benefit for us,” he said.
It was obvious how important the “human factor”
is, and Dauer’s philosophy is clear. “Employees here are good
people who embrace change, who share our vision for the future and are
willing to do what successful new companies need to do. The excitement
is a neat thing, and we see it everywhere. People are working hard again,
they’re enjoying what they’re doing and getting a great job
done. We believe it’s an important part of our competitive advantage,”
Toledo Shredding is already supplying a broad base of
new customers throughout the region. Their primary ferrous products are
number one and number two frag. “We’re processing a lot of
finished product, and every shipment is fully certified for content,”
said Mike McVey, who oversees the new firm’s day-to-day operations.
At present, the firm is focused on auto bodies, white goods, sheet iron
and light gauge industrial scrap.
Auto recyclers take note. “There’s a large
concentration of auto recyclers in the region we serve,” said Dauer.
“Our customers are depending on us for more and more material. Since
auto bodies are an important source of scrap, we’re constantly looking
for new sources,” he said. “We’d like nothing more than
to grow our business by helping recyclers in the region grow theirs at
the same time.”
In addition to the ferrous output, Toledo Shredding has
also established an on-site warehouse for non-ferrous scrap. There, employees
of the firm sort and analyze inbound material and prepare it for delivery
to special accounts. “Our new warehouse is fully equipped with shears
and balers for the wide variety of aluminum, copper and other non-ferrous
metals we handle,” said McVey.
With prices for scrap metals moving steadily upward,
the timing to get started could not have been better. Foreign demand,
coupled with returning strength in the domestic market has depleted scrap
metal supplies on a regional basis and bolstered pricing as a result.
“We firmly believe there’s room in the market for a supplier
like us,” said Doug Dauer. “Customers appreciate great quality
product - on time - at a fair price.” It’s a formula that’s
right for the times.