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George Adams

CEO – SA Recycling, Anaheim

OC METRO's Hot 25 for 2011Published: November 01, 2011

Status: Married with five sons, ages 11 to 27
Your proudest moment: The day that I finally got my first bulk exporting facility. This gave us the ability to load large oceangoing vessels with scrap metal.
Hot Factor: With more than $1 billion a year in sales, nearly 50 scrap yards and shipments from two ports, George Adams’ firm is one of the largest scrap-metal-recycling operations in the Western Hemisphere.

George Adams joined the family heavy-metal-recycling business at age 20, pillaging through city dumps for metal. His father told him that if they could produce revenue of $65,000 a month, they would be a success. Some 35 years later, Adams still chuckles about those numbers. SA Recycling and its Australian partner (Sims) bring in a minimum of $100 million in monthly business – often double that.
“My dad is 90 years old and still comes to the office every day. But even he can’t believe the success we’ve had,” says Adams, who earned a law degree along the way to help prepare him to run things.
SA Recycling deals in big steel: buildings, fences, high beams, trucks, buses. It ships 3.5 million tons each year to Asia from the ports of Long Beach and L.A. It operates almost 50 scrap yards in California, Arizona and Nevada, as well as one in Mexico. It has grown from 12 workers to 1,500. Part of his success, Adams says, is luck.“But you have to put yourself out there to get lucky. We’ve been 
willing to do that, to capitalize on our luck.”

Editor’s Note: To see who made our “Hot 25” lists in prior years, visit our Archives page.
And, we’re now on the hunt for exceptional women who are impacting O.C. If you know someone who deserves to be on our 20 Women to Watch list, please let us know at our Nominate page.