Jerry Simms
Photo: ISRI

In memoriam: Jerry Simms

Robin Wiener, president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, sent an email alert out to the association’s members in mid- January notifying them of the death of former ISRI Chair Jerry Simms of Atlas Metal & Iron Corp., Denver.

Wiener writes that Simms, who had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease, “reinvigorated our state program, expanded ISRI’s resources to fight metals theft, successfully prevented [the] EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] from going down the path of regulating scrap as hazardous waste and obtained EPA’s authorization to recycle plastics from shredder fluff” during his tenure from 2012 to 2014.

“Jerry received ISRI’s Lifetime Achievement award last year for his decades of dedication and leadership within the industry,” Wiener writes. “It was Jerry who inspired and led ISRI’s efforts to reform Superfund that resulted in the passage of the Superfund Recycling Equity Act (SREA) in 1999. His letter to the ISRI leadership in the early ’90s, calling for the rallying of ISRI members at the grassroots level and the leveraging of their political power to effect change, spurred ISRI’s efforts on this critical issue.”

Wiener adds that Simms, alongside Mark Reiter, ISRI’s vice president of government relations who died suddenly Jan. 15, helped to mobilize the industry and build the political structure that remains today at ISRI.

“Simms showed us the power one person can have, bringing together an entire industry to fight for a cause,” Wiener says.

She describes him as an “incredibly special person” and a great friend and colleague who will be “missed by so many within and outside ISRI and the recycling industry.”

Wiener says a tribute page has been set up on ISRI’s website for members to leave messages and memories. In lieu of flowers, people can honor and remember Simms through donations to either the Michael J. Fox Foundation or the Colorado-based Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s.

Tom Modrowski
Photo: Braidy Industries

Braidy Industries makes CEO change

Braidy Industries, Ashland, Kentucky, has announced that Chairman and CEO Craig Bouchard is stepping down from those positions. President Tom Modrowski has been named interim CEO, and Charles Price has been named board chairman.

Braidy Industries describes itself as entering its “final fundraising stage” as it builds a $1.7 billion aluminum alloys plant near Ashland. (A 2019 Recycling Today interview with Modrowski about the project is at

According to a Braidy press release, Bouchard remains a member of Braidy Industries’ board of directors.

The company describes new board Chairman Price as a native of Kentucky and a successful entrepreneur who “is well-positioned to focus the company on the completion of the aluminum mill initiative in Ashland.”

Modrowski, the new company CEO, has been with Braidy since its inception and has more than 30 years of experience in the metals business, including senior roles at various metal and metal processing businesses, according to Braidy.

The company adds, “Site planning work and fundraising continues unabated for the first greenfield aluminum rolling mill in the U.S. in more than 37 years. The 1.5 million-square-foot complex will use state-of-the-art technology to serve the rapidly growing needs of the transportation industry.”

However, Bouchard filed a lawsuit against the company and its shareholders in mid-February at press time regarding the leadership change. Also, the leadership change has added to scrutiny the project is receiving from some media organizations in Kentucky. That scrutiny largely started when former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin pledged $15 million in taxpayer dollars to become an investor in Braidy Industries.

The scrutiny has intensified as funding for the project has failed to be finalized, and one of the funders is Russia-based aluminum firm Rusal. Rusal has spent part of the last decade subject to U.S. Treasury sanctions, tied in part to a Mueller report-related investigation into Rusal’s owner’s potential involvement in the 2016 U.S. elections.

Christopher Dods
Photo: Strategic Materials

Strategic Materials names CEO

Houston-based glass recycler Strategic Materials Inc. has announced the appointment of Christopher Dods as chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president. Denis Suggs leaves his position as president and CEO of Strategic Materials after five years of service to the company.

Dods has significant executive leadership experience in the environmental and industrial services industries with a proven ability to drive sustainable and profitable growth in the sector. Prior to joining Strategic Materials, he served as CEO of waste management services company Clean Earth. He also served as president of the environmental services division at Philips Services Corp. Earlier in his career, he was a senior vice president at Aramark Corp., Strategic Materials says in the news release announcing his appointment.

“On behalf of the entire company, we thank Denis for his steady leadership during a successful phase in the company’s history and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” says Steven Raich, a managing director at Littlejohn & Co., Greenwich, Connecticut, of which Strategic Materials is a portfolio company. “Denis created a strong foundation for growth as the leading North American glass recycler, and we are eager to embark on the next phase of our journey under Chris.”

Brian Michaud, who also is a managing director at Littlejohn & Co., adds, “Littlejohn has worked with Chris previously and seen firsthand his ability to build high-performance, team-oriented cultures and drive growth organically and through strategic acquisitions.”

Dods says, “I’m thrilled to join Strategic Materials and further the company’s mission to create a better future for the planet by increasing recycled content in existing and new applications. I look forward to working with the deeply talented team at the company as we focus on the next phase of growth and execute on the enormous opportunities to better serve our customers.”