Patrick Richardson

Trader at Kripke Enterprises Inc.

Patrick Richardson says it was by “dumb luck” that he ended up in the recycling industry. He studied marketing at the University of Toledo, taking a job in the metals industry after receiving his bachelor’s degree. Then, about three years ago, a friend told him about a job opportunity as a metals trader that had opened up at Kripke Enterprises Inc., Toledo, Ohio.

Richardson says he reached out to Andy Golding, vice president of sales and marketing at Kripke, about the career opportunity. They had a lunch interview, and within a month Richardson began working at Kripke as a trader. He says he enjoys working on the company’s trading team, which he describes as a “close-knit group.”

Richardson says, “It’s really like a family where anybody will help each other out with anything. Everyone on the team wants everyone to succeed. We also go to each other’s events outside of work.”

“We are getting by in bad markets, and we know market conditions will come back and be fine since it’s cyclical.”

He adds that many of his colleagues at Kripke are very involved in volunteer positions with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington. Richardson is a committee member for ISRI’s Best Young & Brightest (BYAB) event for young professionals in the association. Outside of Kripke, he’s a city councilman for Sylvania, Ohio.

Recycling Today (RT): You recently became a councilman in Sylvania. What made you want to run for a local office and what is it like juggling that role with your job at Kripke?

Patrick Richardson (PR): I always had interest in politics from a young age. I’ve lived in this community my whole life. I went to high school there, and so did my parents, so it just seemed right. I got frustrated with what seemed like a lack of people my generation in government. I didn’t want to complain about it, so I got into government; the local level is a good place to effect change and make a difference. So, I ran in 2017 and won. I was fortunate everyone at Kripke was supportive. If I needed to take a long lunch [when running for office], nobody said anything.

RT: How has Kripke been working through tough commodity markets for aluminum recently?

PR: Things aren’t as good as they were last year with market conditions being what they are. But markets are cyclical. We’re playing the long game. We are getting by in bad markets, and we know market conditions will come back and be fine since it’s cyclical. I watched the market climb in 2016, it peaked in April 2018 and it went down. I was lucky [Kripke traders] prepared me for that with the training I had.

RT: What do you see as the biggest challenge in the recycling industry today and why?

PR: The inability to recycle some single-use plastic items is a big issue right now. Just throwing these things into the landfill is not a sustainable system, so there needs to be more solutions, and the biggest solution will come with manufacturers. They need to think about how [products] can be recycled.

Also, [there is the challenge] of educating people on what to put in recycling bins. Most people don’t know what goes to trash and what goes to recycling. They don’t realize what contamination can do to a batch. So, people should be educated on what can and can’t be recycled.