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Third-generation leaders guide family business into the future

Sadoff Iron & Metal has slowly evolved under the guidance of founder Edward Rudoy’s three grandsons

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January 12, 2023

FOND DU LAC – Though he grew up around the family business – Sadoff Iron & Metal – Jason Lasky said he didn’t know for sure that following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather was the path he was meant to take, until after he graduated college.

Now as third-generation leaders, Lasky said he and his brothers Brad and Mark were never expected to take over, but all ended up at the company for different reasons.

“My brothers and I hadn’t been pushed into the business or we hadn’t really had this as a life goal,” he said. “For me personally, it was when I had finished college. I went to the University of Denver in Colorado, and I had finished and was reflecting on what was happening next.”

Lasky said his return to the area and to Sadoff was in the beginning, a nod of thanks to his grandfather.

“My grandfather afforded me the privilege of my education through being able to pay for my college,” he said. “I thought I’d be remiss if I didn’t understand what that opportunity was. So, I basically said, ‘I’ll go back to Oshkosh, give it five years to learn the business and see if it’s something I enjoy doing.’ That was more than 20 years ago, and I’m still here.”

A little background
Lasky said his grandfather – a Ukrainian immigrant and former welder of World War II submarines in Manitowoc – set the stage for the Sadoff of today with his “lead dog” mentality.

Edward Rudoy, Lasky’s grandfather, purchased the Block Salvage Company in Oshkosh in 1947.

Jason Lasky said Sadoff Iron & Metal was the first in the state to purchase an automobile shredder in 1964. Submitted Photo

Lasky said his grandfather continued to evolve the business as demand itself evolved – purchasing Sadoff salvage yard and Wisconsin’s first automobile shredder in 1964.

Lasky’s father Sheldon – Rudoy’s son-in-law – joined the business in 1973, taking over in 1991 when Rudoy retired.

Lasky said he and his brothers – now third-generation leadership – are honored to carry on the company’s legacy.
“My grandfather was the founder, my father was the grower, and we’re taking it and refining it,” he said. “We’re putting our stamp on the company with the teams we’ve developed over the last decade.”

Sadoff E-Recycling & Data Destruction
Part of that development, Lasky said, included the addition of the R2-certified e-recycling and data destruction aspect of the business in 2016.

“We decided to take a formal approach into electronics recycling, and it required us to become certified to an international standard, which is called R2,” he said. “I was charged with building that program. I wanted to ensure the alignment with our customer base. The intent was to build a customer-centric approach through the eyes of the customer.”

Lasky said he used the expertise of Sadoff’s chief technology officer Chad Hayes to accomplish this.

“He went forward and built up (the e-recycling and data destruction) management, helped us achieve our certification and developed our processes,” he said. “Last year, we (had) more needs in our IT department, so I needed his talents back in IT, and I took over the recycling side as director of e-recycling.”

Lasky said Sadoff originally looked at purchasing a company locally, but instead decided to follow its own path.

“The money we were going to put into for that purchase, I said ‘let’s invest in ourselves to build ourselves out instead,’” he said.

Since branching out, Lasky said the company has assisted clients – both old and new – meet their security and sustainability objectives.

“We wanted to ensure we could help our existing clients, but then also it gave us the ability to grow to a whole new sector,” he said. “Typically, service providers like lawyers, financial institutions and things like that don’t have a lot of scrap often, unless they’re building buildings. However, electronics are prevalent around every industry. (The launch of Sadoff E-Recycling & Data Destruction) allowed us to service more businesses in the service sector that traditionally weren’t our customers for metal recycling. So, it allowed us to grow in our current geography with a whole new customer.”

Jason Lasky said he and his brothers – now third-generation leadership – are honored to carry on the family company’s legacy. Submitted Photo

Lasky said Sadoff E-Recycling & Data Destruction has an international presence.

“We are able to offer our services nationally and internationally, as well,” he said. “We do have some customers in Canada, and we do export material.”

Lasky said one of the biggest things Sadoff E-Recycling & Data Destruction helps companies manage is the security of their end-of-life technology.

“Cybersecurity has become a large issue globally, and oftentimes technology equipment end-of-life processes are overlooked from the standpoint of risk,” he said. “So, we’ve taken a bigger approach in helping our customers manage their cybersecurity through the end-of-life process of their equipment.”

Lasky said Sadoff offers a variety of services based on customer needs – “everything from physical destruction to electronic wiping of equipment.”

“We offer total destruction of hard drives,” he said. “It incorporates the shredding of the actual physical unit so nothing is ever readable off of it ever again. You can’t put it back together. You can’t get anything off of it.”

Lasky said the company can also destroy data electronically.

“We can wipe data using certified equipment that gets it to government standards for wiping that data off the hard drives, which then would leave a hard drive for resale,” he said. “We also offer certificates of destruction. So, basically, the liability transfers to us. So, if there was ever a data breach or a data leak from the equipment we’ve been provided, we are responsible for that.”

Lasky said Sadoff can offer companies “peace of mind.”

“IT professionals need to be concerned about their business, their customers internally and externally, as far as their data is concerned,” he said. “What we offer them is that peace of mind that once they select us and use our audited processes, they won’t have to worry about managing that any further from the point we have it.”

Since launching the e-recycling and data destruction aspect of Sadoff, Lasky said he has seen more of an awareness from companies on their needs in terms of electronic recycling/destruction.

“Five years ago, people didn’t exactly know what they needed or if they needed anything at all as far as recycling or protection from a risk standpoint,” he said. “They’re getting a little bit more savvy as to what to ask, which is great… and more educated as to responsible recycling and responsible management for end-of-life information technology and infrastructure.”

Lasky said the electronic recycling/destruction side of the business had its own learning curves.

“I thought because of our reputation and our experiences of being a recycler for more than 70 years in this region, we’d be able to leverage it pretty easily to build our clientele base,” he said. “But what I didn’t take into consideration was that the clientele that were our ‘biggest targets’ we weren’t doing business with before, so they didn’t have a lot of knowledge about who we were because we were a metal recycler.”

Jason Lasky, right, said his brothers, Mark, center, and Brad all came to the company for different reasons. Submitted Photo

Lasky said he was a bit taken aback by how much of an uphill climb it’s been.

“But, in that climb, what we found out is one we’ve defined and refined who we are,” he said. “And two, we’ve developed a niche, and that niche is in the space of telecommunications equipment.”

Lasky said Sadoff has become one of the largest recyclers of telecommunications infrastructure in the country. 

“Think of 5G replacing 3G and 4G infrastructure for cell phone technology,” he said. “We’re recycling, and a lot of the radios are coming off of those towers. That’s something unexpected that happened, that through our reputation and our abilities, we’ve found some good players in the industry and then we’ve taken a larger approach to helping service that space.”

Looking to the future, Lasky said he sees Sadoff as an integral part of companies’ pushes for sustainability.

“I think there’s a greater focus on people and for businesses to be more sustainable,” he said. “We fit in that philosophy well by helping people with outlets and resources to fulfill their desires of sustainability.”

Another generation?
Lasky said what the future leadership looks like in terms of another generation taking the reins of the long-standing family business in the future is, at this point, unknown.

“That’s determined by the next generation,” he said. “I would say we don’t have any restrictions. There’s no formal plan. We want to offer our kids what we were offered and that is a choice. The choice is probably most important because then they’re here because they want to be.”

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