Great Lakes Electronics is not a sexy business. But it is a smart one.
Back in 2000, founder Nathan Zack – all of 18 years old – tinkered with disassembly of electronics in his parents' garage. Now, at 26, he runs one of the five largest electronics recycling operations in the nation – ensuring that more than 25 million pounds of electronics waste stays out of landfills annually.
Headquartered in a Detroit warehouse space that is currently being expanded to 80,000 square feet, GLE is paid to pick up old computers, printers, monitors, keyboards – "whatever has parts," laughs Zack – from companies around the Midwest and Ontario. They are then sorted, disassembled, and each separate component recycled.
The benefit to the companies that utilize GLE is twofold: "It's the environment and security," says company vice president Kerry Grushoff, explaining that all data-containing devices are shredded before they are recycled. Companies that utilize GLE's service include General Motors, DTE and Rock Financial – Zack and Grushoff point out that their client's diversity has made them immune to any dips in the economy.
GLE also runs operations in Daytona and Orlando, Florida and Ontario, with plans to open one shortly in Chicago. Sixty-five employees currently work at the Detroit location and 100 overall. More hiring is certain – Zack says, "We're always expanding."
Where will GLE be in five years? Zack says, "We'll keep expanding, keep growing. And open more locations."
Yes, by then he will have just hit his thirties. Maybe smart is sexy after all.
Sources: Kerry Grushoff and Nathan Zack, Great Lakes Electronics Corp.
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh