Dr. Herschel Cutler, ISRI’s first executive director, received the organization's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. Dr. Cutler received the award for his commitment to his family, his community, and his many friends and colleagues in the recycling industry.
Before entering the world of recycling, Cutler received a PhD from Syracuse University. He spent two years in the Army as a general’s aide in Washington, DC before becoming a full-time faculty member at The American University and starting a private consulting practice. His first client was the Institute of Scrap Iron and Steel. In 1971, Cutler was selected as the organization’s new executive director. Immediately, Cutler began to address the industry’s biggest challenges of the 1970s, including discriminatory railroad freight rates burdening ferrous scrap, He also led a fight with parts of the steel industry over ferrous scrap export controls. Herschel’s efforts on the Hill, and in a series of field hearings around the country helped pass legislation and develop regulations that have protected the industry from export controls ever since.
In 1987, the Institute of Scrap Iron and Steel and the National Association of Recycling Industries agreed to merge and to form ISRI. Herschel Cutler was designated as the executive director of the newly formed organization. His guidance and concern helped ISRI through its early growing pains to become the strong and powerful voice of the scrap recycling industry. Throughout the 1990s, Cutler fought for the Superfund Recycling Equity Act, which provides relief to recyclers from the Superfund legislation passed in 1980 that threatened the industry. Under his direction, the recycling industry was able to declare victory in 1999.
In 2001, Herschel retired from ISRI. He stays busy with his three children, and four grandchildren, along with consulting, teaching at Northwestern University, and volunteer activities in his local community.
The award was presented to Dr. Cutler during ISRI’s annual convention and exposition in New Orleans.