Top Chicago Business of the Day – “United Scrap” – Cicero, Illinois


Marsha Serlin, Founder and CEO and Brad Serlin, President of United Scrap Metal

Marsha Serlin – Founder and CEO

Marsha Serlin founded United Scrap Metal in 1978 and began building her company with $200 and a rental truck. At that time, Marsha was a divorced single parent, solely responsible for two young children. She saw an opportunity to support her family by gathering scrap from alleys, manufacturers and facilities.  Competitors anticipated her start-up would soon fail as the industry entered an economic recession.

Marsha relentlessly knocked on doors soliciting businesses to sell her scrap and slowly made inroads. During the Chicago blizzard of 1979, while other scrap dealers took “snow days,” Marsha kept rolling. She promised Del Monte Foods she would keep their scrap moving, running her single truck 24 hours a day and enabling them to avoid a plant shutdown. Over thirty years later, this initial success story has helped define the culture of United Scrap and its commitment to over 2,500 customers coast to coast.  Marsha’s success story has been featured in major print, broadcast and cable media (click here to view).

Today, in addition to being a successful entrepreneur, Marsha is a philanthropist, always mindful of her roots and grateful for her opportunities. Year after year, Marsha leverages her success by supporting her community and numerous charities, while encouraging both her team members and customers to make a difference. Click here to learn more about United Scrap Metal’s community involvement.

Marsha Serlin’s energy continues to drive the growth of the company she founded over three decades ago. In addition to USM, Marsha’s passions include boating, world travel, an appreciation of the arts and gardening.


 Quality, Environmental, Health and Safety

Policy: The nature of the United Scrap Metal operations has a positive impact on the environment through the processing and conservation of metals, plastic, and other non-renewable resources. Consistent with these core operations, it is United Scrap Metal’s goal to accomplish its business objectives while meeting and exceeding the quality, environmental and health & safety expectations of our management, employees, customers, suppliers, and regulators.

We will continually improve our systems while striving to minimize adverse impacts on the environment throughout our operations. In order to achieve the above statement of this QEH&S and other objectives, United Scrap Metal is committed to the following:

Ensure that these policies are appropriate to our operations, and its potential environmental impacts and health and safety risks;

  • Comply with all relevant QEH&S legal requirements, customer and product requirements, industry guidelines applicable to RIOS member company industries and any other QEH&S commitments made by the RIOS member company;
  • We will strive for continual improvement;
  • Prevent work place injuries;
  • Provide  the framework for establishing QEH&S goals;
  • Ensure high customer satisfaction;
  • Prevent pollution;
  • This system and policies are communicated and understood by all employees;
  • That QEH&S is made available to the public, suppliers, customers, contractors, and other interested parties and is reviewed and amended, as necessary and appropriate.

We recognize that the responsibilities for protection of the environment are shared, requiring cooperation, not only between employees and their supervisors, but also among and between all those who assume the various positions within the company. United Scrap Metal will continually improve its environmental performance including the setting of quality, environmental, health, and safety goals while considering our footprint as well as business, financial, operational and legal requirements.

QEH&S Policy PDF

This is ONE company I’d love to work for!!  I am where she was right now…..I admire her tenacity.  – Jack Benton


2 thoughts on “Top Chicago Business of the Day – “United Scrap” – Cicero, Illinois

  1. Since the story is real, I found it highly inspiring and surprisingly close to my heart! Although we meet successful entrepreneurs each day, it’s truly a big deal for a woman to take stand like this! Compare her to any ordinary woman (or even a man!) who’s solely responsible for two kids as a divorced single parent! I’m really impressed with the way she began to gather scrap from different places in order to support her family.
    My bet is not all of us can stand out in the highly competitive corporate world like Marsha has done, especially with economic recession and competitors trying their best to discourage!


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