Uptown Greenville, NC


Refining A Business Model

By Michael Abramowitz
The Daily Reflector

February 19, 2014 - Metallix Refining, a leader in the precious metals refining industry, was selected on Tuesday as Pitt County’s Industry of the Year for 2013-14.

“It’s an honor for the company and all of the employees who do such great work every day to have this recognition,” Plant Manager John Santos said in accepting the award from Pitt County Development Commission Chairman Mark Garner.

“The award recognizes a manufacturer or distributor that best represents the community as a model corporate citizen in specific selection criteria, including social, economic and environmental sustainability,” Garner said.

Companies that use precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, palladium and rhodium in their processes sell their scrap to Metallix for recycling. Seeking to expand, the New Jersey-based company purchased an 85,000-square-foot facility on 15 acres in the Greenville Industrial Park and began operations there on Jan. 2, 2004.

“I remember coming here 11 years ago from New Jersey with 12 people to start the plant,” Santos said. “We hired 10 more that first year, and now we staff 65.

“It’s one of the best moves we ever made and has been great for us and for the community,” he said. “We’re a very family-oriented company and like to help our neighbors any way we can.”

With more space, new equipment and an experienced workforce, Metallix has achieved rapid growth and a greater presence in the precious metals recycling industry, Garner said.

The plant operates 24 hours a day and processes more than 3.5 million pounds of materials per year. In 2010, Metallix began to serve the general public looking to recycle smaller lots of precious metals with the establishment of Metallix Direct Gold LLC.

Santos said the welcome he and his staff received from the Pitt County development community when they first came to Greenville was overwhelming.

“It was just the kind of place where we wanted to be,” Santos said. “We looked at many other places, and we’re glad we chose Pitt County.”

PCDC Executive Director Wanda Yuhas said she remembered when Metallix executives had decided on Greenville for its new site.

“It doesn’t seem very long ago that Metallix was a prospect, trying to decide where they would locate,” Yuhas said. “We all expected they would be a great addition to our corporate community, and their selection as Industry of the Year proves just how great.”

Santos described local business conditions as “very receptive” to his company and its industrial model.

“It’s just been overwhelming how much help we’ve gotten from everyone along the way on every project we undertake,” he said. “When we decided to expand our business, agencies like Greenville Utilities, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the development commission helped us tremendously.”

Giving back is a part of the corporate culture of Metallix, Yuhas said. It supports many charitable, scholastic and athletics initiatives, including the Pitt County Boys & Girls Clubs, Rocking Horse Ranch, the Ronald McDonald House, Pitt County Schools, Women for Women Power of the Purse and East Carolina University athletics. The company also is a member of the Pitt County Committee of 100 and Santos serves on the board of the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce.

Metallix strives to use local talent and services whenever possible, Yuhas said. Pitt Community College has been an ongoing partner, providing customized management, sales and process improvement training.

The company hires biology and chemistry majors from ECU to work in its lab which, according to Santos, may expand further in the near future.

Santos said his plant is dedicated to environmental health and safety.

The plant continually works to improve its precious metals refining processes, investing in new equipment and environmental controls to reduce industrial waste and ensure top health and safety standards for its employees, customers and visitors, Yuhas said.

Metallix is reducing its carbon footprint and greenhouse gases by installing a new precious metals refining furnace to increase its capacity and provide an air pollution-control process that will reduce emissions.

A 5,000-square-foot expansion of the facility recently was completed to house the new furnace, considered unique in the industry. Santos said he expects it to result in further growth.

The company was recognized Tuesday night at the annual Existing Industries Reception. Last year’s award went to pharmaceutical manufacturer DSM.

Contact Michael Abramowitz at mabramowitz@reflector.com or 252-329-9571.