2011 Rhode Island and New England Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business of the Year
“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” Wisely said by someone who remains unknown to this day.
An ambitious young Russian who immigrated to Rhode Island, Hymen Berger found opportunity and a livelihood in those words – acting on the sage advice, building a junk business from his horse and wagon, traveling the state to buy the scraps of metal and textile mill cast-off’s no one wanted.
Others saw re-use and value though, so Hymen resold his scrap to them. His business prospered and a family legacy was passed down the line.
Three generation’s later the business is a full-service recycling enterprise. Owners of Berger & Co. Recycling Inc., Sam Sinel and his brother, Charles, carry on the family tradition from their Pawtucket headquarters, a 4-acre industrial yard, and a distant improvement from the barn workshop grandfather Hymen operated. Great grandson Adam Sinel has worked in the family business since 2002, extending Berger’s lineage to the fourth generation.
Buying recyclables and reselling them on the global commodities market, Berger & Co. specializes in scrap metal, waste paper, scrap plastic, textiles, and precious metals, like gold and silver, where trace amounts are filtered from discarded electronics and auto parts. Pretty much anything non-hazardous is a sought after item and recycled. They employ 21 people in Rhode Island.
The recycling business markets the material to paper mills and metal smelters and other consumers worldwide. They are – point in fact – one of Rhode Island’s largest exporters. For nearly 15 years, Berger & Co. has helped area businesses, including health practices, law offices and police departments among many others, dispose of sensitive letters and documents.
The business is community-minded, in particular, Sam Sinel. He has been a two-time co-host of “Benefest,” an annual fundraising event for the Rhode Island Special Olympics. As a cub master and den leader, he has been involved with Cub Scout Pack 3 in East Greenwich.
In addition, with his wife, Pamela, they coached a creative problem solving team that won two Rhode Island state championships, and participated in the world finals held at the University of Iowa and the University of Tennessee. As a Freemason, Sam’s been an Elected Master at the Jenks Lodge in Pawtucket, and a former president of the Charles E. Lawton Memorial Masonic Home.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to present the 2011 Rhode Island and New England Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business of the Year Award to Samuel Sinel, owner of, Berger & Co. in Pawtrucket.