Veteran Industry Icons to Receive the 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award at ISRI2024

Mar 21, 2024, 16:33 PM
Content author:
Vicki Morgan
External link:
Image Url:

ISRI will recognize industry leaders Joel Denbo and Mel Wright with its 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is presented annually by ISRI’s chair to bestow recognition and honor 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 ISRI. Denbo and Wright will be recognized during the awards presentation on April 16, 2024, during the ISRI2024 Convention and Exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Joel Denbo

Joel Denbo

Denbo is being honored for his inspirational leadership, focus on safety, and commitment and service to the industry.

“I’m so excited that ISRI has chosen to honor Joel for his life-long contributions to the recycled materials industry through this award,” said ISRI President Robin 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. His service and commitment to the industry and its workers are a testament to the impact leadership can have.”

Denbo has been part of 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 in Decatur. He 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.

“Receiving the ISRI Lifetime Achievement Award is an incredible honor that I’m humbled by,” Denbo said. “I’ve been fortunate to be part of so many of ISRI’s initiatives and to work with the most incredible leaders. Together, I’m proud to have helped ISRI become such a driving force in championing the recycled materials industry on the important issues of our time.”

Denbo has made 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 also been a frequent contributor to ISRI member publications.

In addition to his professional service, Denbo has been active in his community. 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. He also served as a board member of Temple B’nai Sholom in Huntsville, Alabama.

“Joel’s unique leadership in the recycled materials industry is inspirational,” said ISRI Chair Brian Henesey. “Through the years, he’s been instrumental in helping guide our industry through innovation and positive transformation, especially in ISRI’s priority of safety.”

Mel Wright

Mel Wright

Wright is recognized for his dedication to advancing the recycled materials industry and his lifelong commitment, leadership, and service to the industry.

“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,” Wiener said. “Mel has always shown great commitment to the recycled materials industry, his co-workers, family, and community. By honoring Mel with the Lifetime Achievement Award, it serves to solidify his legacy of leadership.”

Wright has served in the industry for more than 40 years and has used his leadership skills to help lead the industry into the dynamic space it is today. His vision for ISRI, the recycled materials industry, continues to make a lasting impact on the future of the industry. “It is truly an honor to receive the ISRI Lifetime Achievement Award,” Wright said. “Taking on my role as a second-generation member of the recycled materials industry has been incredibly rewarding and provided a foundation for a rewarding career and life. My family has been a rock of support and encouragement throughout my career, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a dynamic industry.”

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, he was named vice president and currently serves as president of Wright’s Scrap Metals Inc. He has been an active ISRI member 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’s leadership within the recycled materials industry has helped transform the industry into the sustainable and evolved industry it is today,” Henesey said. “I’ve watched Mel make a lasting impact that will continue on within ISRI and in the recycled materials industry of tomorrow.”

Wright and his wife Neysa have been married for 35 years, and have two children, Ashley and Jonathan. Ashley resides in Benbrook, Texas and has twin sons, while Jonathan is a third-generation member of the recycled materials industry at Wright’s Scrap Metals Inc.

Photos Courtesy of Joel Denbo and Mel Wright.

ISRI will recognize industry leaders Joel Denbo and Mel Wright with its 2024 Lifetime Achievement...
  • Featured

Have Questions?