Without prior knowledge of the auto parts recycling industry, I developed a rapport with the owner of a major metals recycling facility for a feature article in the industry’s premier publication, the online magazine Locator Upfront. This was a freelance assignment, and I was given the contact information for the owner. The editor was impressed that I made the extra effort to obtain a second contact on my own (the general manager) to enliven the narrative.
Image: Ira Nozik Photographers for Locator Upfront
Vehicles, Farm Equipment and Planes – Leveille’s Recycles It All
Leveille’s Auto Recyclers, located in Somers, Conn. (www.leveilles.com), has been around since John Leveille founded it in 1956, but that tidy used auto parts business has kept up with a changing industry. The late Stanley Jablonski purchased Leveille’s Auto Recyclers in 1995, and quickly expanded it to a metals recycling facility.
Peter Brink, general manager, has been there since 1995. He echoed Stanley’s business plan: “dedication, professionalism and customer satisfaction.” Peter said that motto is accomplished “by turning around and doing the job promptly, efficiently, cleanly and satisfying the person we’re doing the job for. We’ll go out and do a job and leave the site cleaner than what it was when we got there.”
Leveille’s Auto Recyclers has been recycling a variety of different metals since 1995. Ralph Jamieson, facilities administrator since 2010, described the diversification from auto parts to trucks, farm equipment, construction equipment and more.
“We acquire our parts from any source that we can. We will process any scrap metal in volume. We break [scrap metal] down into key components,” he explained. “You can enhance the value of a product once you know what to do. We sort, we prepare, we do a good enough job that some of our buyers don’t even have to re-process, they can put it straight for sale.”
The public drives cars in and contractors schedule pick-ups or dropoffs. Containers are also purchased by volume. The surrounding farming community’s used equipment is an ongoing source, but automobile alternators, suspension parts and body parts are also among the most popular products.
“Typically, we have a 20-mile radius, unless it’s a very large item; […] I’ll drive the distance to do the business with them,” Ralph explained.
One of Leveille’s Auto Recyclers distinguishing projects included the removal of a French Caravelle airplane that had been on display at New England Air Museum of Bradley International Airport, in Windsor Locks, Conn., for 25 years, but was being retired. Leveille’s Auto Recyclers also removed a 727 aircraft from the museum.
The improvements in recent years set the business up to recycle just about any metal on the 15-acre lot.
“We realigned [the vehicles] to efficient rows. We developed a row system mimicking packing garages,” described Ralph. “We’ve got the scale house here and you can see the whole yard from the scale house.”
Leveille’s Auto Recyclers also donates wrecked vehicles for school safe driving education and fire department training. “We cleaned out a bus for them and they used it to train how to get in and out. Recently, we had people from five different fire departments here,” Ralph explained.
“When Stanley and I were young men, we both worked at the same garage and knew each other for years. Stanley was extremely proud of what he had built here,” Ralph said. The dedication to the community, customers and professionalism continues at Leveille’s Auto Recyclers.
Published: Fall 2013