Rightfully so, every November 11 we honor our veterans and thank them for their courage, service and sacrifice. This year, in conjunction with America Recycles Week (Nov. 10–16) – and to celebrate America Recycles Day Nov. 15 – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is highlighting veterans who work in recycling.
Veterans comprise an important segment of the workforce, and employers find that veterans’ military training provides the foundation for excellent leadership ability, flexibility and the drive to get things done. With that in mind, we asked members of Battery Council International to provide stories of their military veteran employees that we could share with the EPA.
In the weeks ahead, we’ll feature a series of blog posts showcasing veterans who work in the lead battery recycling industry and share why they think it’s important. Here is the first in our three-part series.
Exide Technologies: Employing Veterans in Canon Hollow, Mo.
Exide Technologies, a global provider of stored energy solutions, recycles millions of batteries each year. The military veterans in Exide’s workforce are an important part of that process.
“At Exide, we value the discipline, skills and experience our military veterans bring to our organization,” said Patricia VanDeventer, human resources manager for Exide’s battery recycling facility in Canon Hollow, Mo. “Exide provides a veteran-friendly culture, and we actively recruit veterans to fill roles here at our recycling facility.”
Exide’s employees in Canon Hollow understand how their jobs directly impact protecting the environment. Three veteran employees there provided their perspectives on the importance of recycling, specifically, the recycling of batteries, to our economy and environment.
Billy Broadhead is the health and safety manager at Canon Hollow. He joined Exide after serving in the United States Marine Corps and has nine years of service in active and reserve duty.
“The battery recycling industry provides many different jobs that are well-suited for military veterans,” Broadhead said. “Recycling really begins with the employment of those who mine or produce the raw materials, those who work in one way or another to deliver the raw materials (land, rail, water), those who produce the product from the raw materials, those who deliver the finished goods, those who sell the finished goods, and on and on, until the used batteries are delivered to a battery recycler to safely recover raw materials to start the process over again. Recycling is extremely beneficial to the environment and our U.S. economy.”
Shane Anderson served in the Army National Guard for six years before joining Exide as a transportation supervisor. He shared his view that recycling batteries is not only vital to our environmental well-being, but it also helps keep battery prices sustainable and provides much-needed employment.
“Many recycling facilities in the U.S. are in areas that do not have many job opportunities. The jobs the recycling industry provides are valuable to individuals and the communities where they live.”
Nathanael Loew has been with Exide since 2015 and is an Army veteran with four years of service in Operation Desert Storm. As the blast furnace production leader, he works alongside fellow Army veteran Paul Miller who has been with Exide for over 20 years. Miller and Loew experience firsthand the thousands of batteries that are recycled daily in Canon Hollow.
“Recycling batteries is a win-win,” Loew stated. “We keep the batteries out of the environment and recycle resources that can be used to manufacture new batteries, ensuring that we never run out of the raw materials we need to produce new lead batteries to power the world forward.”
How You Can Thank a Veteran
We encourage everyone to support our veterans. Attend a Veterans Day event or visit a veterans hospital; donate to a veteran-related cause; ask a vet about his or her service history and give thanks, or fly the American flag (correctly, of course) to show your patriotic pride.