Nidhi Turakhia

Executive Vice President at Allied Alloys

Upon receiving a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003, Nidhi Turakhia intended to go to law school with the goal of working in legal aid or as a defense attorney. At the same time, her father, Mukesh Turakhia, was starting a scrap business called Titan Metals in Houston, and he asked Nidhi to help with the new venture.

“He convinced me to give it a year,” she says. “He said, ‘If you don’t like it after a year, then you could always still go to law school.’”

During that year, Nidhi also studied for and took the Law School Admission Test. However, after talking to several friends and family members who worked in law, she thought that career might not be a good fit. Nidhi says she also started to enjoy the scrap recycling industry.

“When you’re going to hire, think outside the box. Hire nontraditional hires, such as second-chance candidates or international students.”

“I realized quickly how exciting metal trading can be,” she says.

Since 2003, Nidhi has held several positions with Titan Metals and Allied Alloys. She currently manages human resources and safety and logistics for Allied Alloys.

Recycling Today (RT): Allied Alloys focuses on stainless steel. How have stainless steel markets been in 2020 so far?

Nidhi Turakhia (NT): They’ve been on a decline. It’s been interesting because you read these publications and market news where they’re predicting the decline for stainless steel is going to be almost 10 percent compared to last year. I feel like we are now seeing the aftermath of the first COVID-19 wave in March, and then on top of it we’re following the stainless steel mills’ summer shutdowns and cutbacks.

... On an Allied Alloys scrap metal recycling side, we’ve seen the opposite. ... [P]rices have been competitive. We’re all fighting for the same short supply of stainless steel. Even though there’s a decrease, we feel like the supply is just not meeting it.

So, it’s been interesting to see this kind of contradicting market play out. I don’t think that it’s going to get better anytime soon. It’s kind of our new normal. We’re just hoping it’s not a new normal for the next four to five years.

RT: What are challenges you were able to overcome in your career?

NT: One of the challenges I experienced very early on is seeing that this is such a male-dominated industry, and I’m coming in as a woman of color. I found that it was very intimidating for me to walk into a room in these industries that are predominantly male. So, I’ve overcome that, but it’s taken me years.

I think I definitely increased my confidence through education and knowledge and being surrounded by top advisors and mentors [who] have helped me to overcome that challenge.

RT: As a human resources manager, what advice would you give to companies on hiring the right people?

NT: When you’re going to hire, think outside the box. Hire nontraditional hires, such as second-chance candidates or international students. Instead of looking at the resume and what they specialize in, look more at their work ethics and personality.

We’re big believers at Allied Alloys that someone might come in and may not have a CPA for an accounting position, but they have the right DNA and determination for the job. We can put them through school to get that certification. I think that is extremely important when you’re looking for new hires.