ISRI honours two with lifetime achievement awards

ISRI will recognize Joel Denbo and Mel Wright with 2024 Lifetime Achievement Awards. Denbo is being honored for his inspirational leadership, priority on safety, and his lifelong commitment and service to the recycled materials industry. Wright is recognized for his dedication to advancing the recycled materials industry as well as his lifelong commitment, leadership and service to the industry.

Mel Wright

Wright has served in the recycled materials industry for more than 40 years, and has used his commitment to the industry and leadership skills to help lead the industry into the dynamic industry it is today. His vision for ISRI the recycled materials industry continues to make a lasting impact on the industry of the future. 

Beginning his career in high school at his family’s recycling facility in Beaumont, Texas, Wright continued working full-time alongside his father while studying business at Lamar University. After graduation, Wright was named vice president and currently serves as president of Wright’s Scrap Metals Inc. He has been active in most every aspect of ISRI serving on the Board of Directors and as president of ISRI Gulf Coast Chapter, as well as numerous national leadership and committee roles that include two terms as chair of ISRI’s Annual PAC Committee.

In addition to his professional service, Wright has served his community and the State of Texas in many roles. He is the president of Recycling Council of Texas, and has served for more than a decade on the Board of Directors of the Houston Livestock and Rodeo. Wright is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Beaumont Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the local American Red Cross chapter.

“Mel is an amazing leader within the recycled materials industry, and his significant contributions to the industry demonstrate the qualities of a lifetime of service,” said ISRI President Robin Wiener. “Mel has always shown great commitment to the recycled materials industry, his co-workers, family and community. By honouring Mel with the Lifetime Achievement Award, it serves to solidify his legacy of leadership.”

Joel Denbo

Denbo has served in the recycled materials industry for more than 40 years, formerly serving as chief manager of operations (CEO) of Tennessee Valley Recycling, LLC in Decatur, Alabama and as director of special projects, Georgia Region for SA Recycling, also in Decatur. Joel also serves as president of Denbo Iron & Metal Company, Inc. in Decatur, as well as managing member of Denbo Metal Recovery, LLC in Pulaski, Tennessee. 

Denbo has provided significant contributions to the recycled materials industry through his ISRI leadership. He is a former chair of the ISRI Board of Directors and a current Board member. He has maintained active involvement in ISRI and currently chairs the ISRI Resources committee. He served ISRI’s Southeastern Chapter as president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary, in addition to numerous ISRI committee chair and member positions. Denbo has been a frequent contributor to ISRI member publications. 

In addition to his professional service, Dendo has been an active member of his community in many roles. He has served on Lt. Governor Don Siegelman’s Legislative Council on Education, and participated in the Dreamweavers Children’s Theater, Decatur City Schools, Decatur Chamber of Commerce, Decatur Kiwanis Club, Operation Better Decatur, and United Way of Morgan County. Joel served as a board member of Temple B’nai Sholom in Huntsville, Alabama.

“I’m so excited that ISRI has chosen to honour Joel for his life-long contributions to the recycled materials industry through this award.” said Wiener.

“Joel has provided dynamic vision and dedicated leadership to the industry and to ISRI specifically. It was Joel’s vision that transformed ISRI’s focus on safety and risk management, creating ISRI’s safety outreach program that helped transform the safety record of the industry as a whole. His service and commitment to the industry and its workers are a testament to the impact leadership can have.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually by ISRI’s chair to bestow recognition and honour upon an individual(s) in the recycled materials industry whose name and deeds are synonymous with integrity and the pursuit of excellence, and who has made significant contributions over their lifetime to the recycled materials industry and the organization. Wright and Denbo will be recognized during the awards presentation on April 16, 2024 during ISRI2024 Convention and Exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada.