Here is what Raed Bechara had to say about: …arrived in Canada
I left Syria to settle in Quebec in 1987 at the age of 16. Leaving everything behind was not easy. I didn’t know a word of French or English. I didn’t have any friends here. But my parents wanted to give me and my two little sisters a better life.
We employed 15 Syrian refugees last year and made sure that they could take French courses on our premises during their working hours. Things were not easy when we immigrated to Canada, so I wanted them to be different. I wanted them to have a good job and learn French.
When we arrived, we had almost nothing. To support us, my father had three jobs. I was able to go to university to study biochemistry. I wanted to become a pharmacist.
…his first steps with his company
At the time, I was working part-time in customer service at Standard Pallet Industry. It was a small company that recycled used pallets at a rate of 3,000 per week.
One day, the company went bankrupt and I bought it for a bite. I was a student and I had almost no money, but people around me lent me some. I was able to collect receivables from some customers, which allowed me to free the company from bankruptcy. Soon after, I sold it and was able to repay my student loan with the profits I had made.
After that, I continued to work part-time at IPS until I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. With a degree in my pocket, I started looking for a job in my field. When I was ready to leave IPS, the owner asked me to stay and offered me shares in the company.
Raed Bechara, Standard Pallet Industry Raed Bechara, Standard Pallet Industry Raed Bechara, Standard Pallet Industry
…how he became the owner of his company
I saw that there was a lot of potential to exploit and, as I had the entrepreneurial spirit, I accepted. I got 24% of the company, and my career as a pharmacist ended before I even started.
We claimed barely half of the pallets we bought. The others were in too poor a condition to be repaired or were not of the right size. They had to be sent to a landfill or incineration site.
The environment has always been a major concern for me. One of my professors always told us that recycling was the industry of the future. I was convinced that solutions could be found to recycle more pallets.
In 2007, my partner passed away. I bought back his shares and became the sole owner of the company.
…the evolution of its activities
As we have grown, we have expanded our business from a simple repair and resale shop to an integrated pallet management service centre. It is the diversity of our activities that has made our company strong.
Most of our customers use large quantities of pallets every day. We can deliver a large number of recycled pallets to them, then recover their broken or damaged pallets for repair at our facilities.
We are offering more and more services. For example, suppliers or distributors may have pallets that they do not need. We buy them and sell them.
Some companies also use us for temporary storage of their pallets – 20,000 to 25,000 at a time. After collecting them, we inspect and repair them, then store them until the customer needs them again.
As we have grown, we have also taken recycling to the extreme. In 2009, I invested $450,000 in the purchase of a shredder. Instead of committing large sums of money to get rid of irreparable pallets, we use this machine to transform them into waste or wood chips and resell them. The shredder also sorts the nails, which are sold for metal. Every time we sell our chips, we save a tree.