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9:37am EDT June 28, 2005

Marsha Scrlin started out with a house plant installation business and ended up in the scrap metal business.

With little more than desire and a rented truck, she set out to make United Scrap Metal a special business.

Her first break came in 1979, when a blizzard shut down the railroads serving the Del Monte plant in LaSalle. Using two trucks and with help from her brother, she helped Del Monte avoid a plant shutdown. As a result, Del Monte awarded United Scrap Metal with its first long-term service contract.

That was just the first of many successes.

United Scrap Metal developed a strategy to appeal to larger customers. The concept and prototype were originated by the company as a strategy for Commonwealth Edison to replace a variety of local scrap vendors with one vendor that would conduct itself as an extension of the customer.

This relationship would ensure that the utility would not continue to pay out large claims for improperly disposed of scrap and expanded the company's relationship with ComEd beyond that of a scrap vendor.

A similar program was developed for Nicor and its disposal of mercury regulators in 2000, and a plastics program was instituted with Andrew Corp.

United's view is that it acts as a partner with the customers and that better scrap management adds to everyone's bottom line. The concept with Andrew Corp. was one of removing plastic from Andrew's waste stream and providing a granulation of this plastic at United Scrap Metal.