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Bedwell retires from OmniSource after 32 years

Keywords: Tags  metals recycling, OmniSource, Phillip Bedwell, Scott Keuneke, scrapyard, scrap, Lisa Gordon

PITTSBURGH — OmniSource Corp. veteran Phillip R. Bedwell, corporate logistics and transportation resources manager, has retired after more than three decades with the company.

Bedwell worked in the transportation industry for 44 years, 32 years of which were spent at OmniSource.

"There are a lot of changes I see coming down the road in the recycling and transportation industry, and it was time to step aside and let some of the young ones take over," the 66-year old told AMM.

Scott Keuneke succeeds Bedwell, with whom he has worked for 16 years along with a group of transportation specialists.

Bedwell has watched OmniSource grow to a company that owns or leases 1,900 railcars and 389 trucks serving 82 recycling locations and mills from one with 27 trucks and no rail cars at three locations, he said.

As for future changes along the route, Bedwell expects consolidation of scrapyards to continue and sees 2014 as a strong one for the industry.

"We have been seeing sideways moves and are on a plateau, but things are starting to pick up. It will be a couple more quarters until the incline, but I see a big jump coming in 2014 as some industries are starting to pick up," he said.

Consolidation will increase in the scrap industry as large metals recyclers deepen their foothold in existing markets over the next two years.

"We are going to lose more mom and pops that have been the roots in the industry. It will be a combination of it becoming harder for them to compete or they don’t have the family members to take over the organizations. The larger organizations will continue to come in and make it easy for sellers to bow out gracefully," Bedwell said.

Bedwell always ran his operations one man short to force employees to become better assets to the company, he said.

"It’s been a very good thing because it has forced people to learn about transportation. Being short one person means that when people come in they are going to have a full plate that day, and if someone was off others could cover for him. This enabled the people replacing me to be just as good because they were cross-trained from the bottom to the top," Bedwell said, adding that it served him well to be open minded and not cast blame during stressful moments. "You must have respect for others and know everyone by their first name."

The management at OmniSource has always been willing to listen before speaking, Bedwell said. "It made my job so much better being surrounded by really great people," he said.

The best change Bedwell has witnessed in the modernization of transportation is the speed of information. "When you sent a truck driver on the road 30 years ago you didn’t hear from him for two or three days, and now you can pinpoint him at all times within 50 feet," he said.

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