Friday, April 20, 2018
Business

The mission at Regency Technologies: Finding new life in old equipment

BROOKSVILLE

Anyone who has yearned to take a hammer or hatchet to a computer might find their dream job at Regency Technologies, where some 85 employees have been whacking apart information technology equipment since February at the Brooksville facility.

It is the first step in the company's overall work of recycling and disposing of computerized electronics.

In short, the company is in the business of "information technology asset management."

"When you're done with IT, we're just beginning" is a motto of the Cleveland-based corporation, which has operations in seven states, from Wisconsin to Florida, and a workforce of more than 600.

Said Brooksville facility manager Paul Kordahi: "People now will recycle anything and everything."

Regency is a business-to-business operator, taking in electronic castaways of corporations, institutions, banks, universities, hospitals, dealers and government agencies, said president Jim Levine.

"Some (suppliers) have protocols of what must be recycled," Levine noted.

The equipment arrives at the Brooksville plant by the hundreds of pounds in cardboard boxes that once held watermelons and cabbages. A peak inside reveals a jumble of computer monitors, laptops and consumer electronics, tabletop televisions, medical gizmos, snake pits of connection cords, the odd vacuum cleaner, never-activated gift cards — maybe a few batteries rattling around in their bottoms.

At a what's-in-there glance, Kordahi acknowledges, "It's like Christmas every day."

At the first sorting station, workers toss out what has no possibility of a reclaimed life.

"Old TVs are not worth it," said Kordahi. Computers manufactured in 2000 are too old. "Newer? This might be worth fixing," he nodded.

On to the breakdown table, where men and a few women wield hammers and other elementary tools to smash plastic frames and extract glass, metal fittings, motherboards and batteries, sending each part to its appropriate receptacle.

Recyclables are sorted further within their grouping. For instance, nearly a dozen barrels stand in a line, labeled lithium-ion, cadmium-ion, polymer, alkaline, sealed acid, wet acid and the list goes on, Kordahi enumerated.

Whether parts are to be shredded and forwarded for disposal, or sent to a Regency technical center where the highly skilled pick over them for refurbishing or rebuilding, the movement of each component is documented throughout the process, Kordahi said.

The Brooksville facility is too new to have established reportable figures of tonnage in and out.

"The numbers are still in flux," Kordahi said.

Also, contracts and sales are handled at corporate headquarters, their numbers closely guarded.

Some of Regency's operation protocols are protected as well. Levine pointed out that the company, even the field, is highly competitive.

While employment at the site near Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport is holding steady at 85, an agency is currently conducting job interviews at the plant.

"I always like to have people lined up," Kordahi said.

New hires need tool-handling skills and only rudimentary technical knowledge.

"They get trained here all the way from the outset," the manager said.

Kordahi, an engineering grad with a master's degree in business, is hopeful about workforce expansion at the 167,000-square-foot warehouse-like building.

"I can only hope," said Kordahi, a four-year employee who moved here from Atlanta. "I'm a selfish guy. I would love to add a technical center here. We definitely have the space."

Contact Beth Gray at [email protected]

 
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