When it comes to community support, Steve Cadkin, owner of Midwest Industrial Metals, believes that when his company does well, “It should trickle down to employees and out to the community that has always supported us.”
The family-owned and operated metal recycling company based in Northlake, Illinois, was founded in 1981. Cadkin became the new owner in 2002 and made community support a priority. One company initiative in place before he bought the company, and that he has continued, is the assemblage of the giant menorah in Christkindlmarket in Chicago’s Daley Plaza during the winter holidays. The menorah is sponsored by Lubavitch Chabad. “It’s a big to-do,” Cadkin notes. “It takes two cranes to set it up. I believe it is one of the biggest in the country. We make it look beautiful every year.”
In the almost two decades since assuming management, Cadkin and Midwest Industrial Metals have instituted other programs, one of which hits especially close to home, Cadkin says. One of his three teenage daughters has type 1 diabetes and so the company (and Cadkin himself) is a strong supporter of the JDRF Foundation, a charity dedicated to combatting the disease. MIM also supports CURED Foundation, a not-for-profit committed to combating Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Diseases.
Financially, the company primarily supports Wounded Warrior Project, which is committed to providing programs and services to help wounded veterans transition to civilian life and enable them to better engage with their families and communities. As a visible sign of support, Midwest Industrial Metals has painted scrap-hauling trailers in camouflage colors.
Supporting the military is one of the factors MIM vice president Bob Kijewski considered when he joined the company last October. He is a Navy veteran and so supporting military families “is something I’m very passionate about,” he says.
He appreciates that MIM considered a veteran such as himself to be “a good resource” for the company. “Veterans are skilled, highly trainable, disciplined and respectful of the chain of command,” he elaborates. “Veterans follow instructions and adapt well. They possess many of the qualities companies look for in top-tier employees.”
Just as citizens are encouraged to “shop local,” so does MIM believe that companies should “support local.” The company has sponsored many youth sports teams and donated financially to firefighters.
Hand in hand with MIM’s community support initiatives is its support of its employees. Midwest Industrial Metals was included among Illinois’ essential companies. It has been open for business throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and to that end, the company implemented a safety program. “We do business with China,” Cadkin notes, “and right out of the gate one of our customers got us masks for all of our employees. We are taking this very seriously by practicing social distancing, providing hand sanitizer and staggering employee shifts. Our top priority is keeping our employees and their families safe. We have encouraged open dialogue at all times. We are very supportive of them.”
Kijewski has worked for multi-billion dollar corporations, including GE. He says he is impressed with how Midwest Industrial Metals marshals its more limited resources to do the most good. “We do our best to find opportunities to be involved in the community,” Kijewski says. “If we want the community to support us, it only makes sense to support the community around us.”