Company sees an average of one million pounds of material each month

Published in the January 20 – February 2, 2016 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Robert Airoldi

Photo by Marty Cheek John Mauro in the warehouse of Prism Electronics, which repurposes e-waste for resale or recycle.

Photo by Marty Cheek
John Mauro in the warehouse of Prism Electronics, which repurposes e-waste for resale or recycle.

Hidden conspicuously in a north Morgan Hill industrial park stands a company that sees an average of one million pounds of e-waste pass through its facility every month. Its warehouses store more than half a million items — from the smallest computer chip to the largest environmental testing chambers and furnaces for wafer fabrication — piled on dozens of shelves stacked 30-feet high.

Little known by the community but growing rapidly, Prism Electronics helps companies small and large get rid of obsolete, non-usable electronics that might be scrap or junk to them but gain “new life” in other uses, said CEO John Mauro.
“We can recover parts or pieces and sell them to people who need them,” he said.

The company buys this material from customers around the world.

The material is brought into the 73,600-square-foot facility on Sutter Boulevard where it is assigned a digital code.

Once in, it’s triaged and sorted into three categories, said General Manager Chris Eversole. Material destroyed, products that can be resold, and outbound material or scrap that is recycled. Prism has a zero landfill policy so 100 percent of the material it receives is reused or recycled.

“When companies have problems with end-of-life products, they just don’t know what to do with and it has to be disposed of properly,” Mauro said. “It just can’t be thrown in a dumpster.”

Their reverse logistics program provides companies with a revenue stream and maximize their return on investment for old and outdated material.

For example, when a data center sells Prism old servers, the Morgan Hill Company will either take them apart and resell the pieces, or take them apart and recycle the material. Either way, the data center company is paid, and knows exactly where the old electronics material went.

When he first started in the business two decades ago, Mauro said he’d visit companies and see them throwing away stuff and knew they’d be his next new account.

“They need to write those items off the books or destroy them and we give them a certificate of destruction,” he said.

They are an ISO14001 company, an international standards and organization that — using software developed by the company — allows the firm to track material from pickup to settlement and each customer gets a detailed report of what they sent in and where it went.

Prism Electronics is different from other e-waste recyclers. First, because of their high standards and certificates they give for destruction or recycling, customers know exactly what happens to the “reharvested” material. If hard drives need to be erased, Prism does it to the highest standards. Second, they pay the customer for their material.

“We offer a financial return on the product where most of our competitors charge,” Mauro said. They have a team that can re-market the product and pay the vendors for assets instead of charging them and give then trace-ability so they know its not going to someplace it shouldn’t.

“We have accountability and we offer a return,” Mauro said of how Prism differentiates itself from other similar firms. “Our customers actually get a check.”

Customers include everything from Fortune 500 company to small local recyclers. They work with Fox Racing, Centurian Surplus, Western Digital and Century Link. Prism also employs several people who operate 10 eBay stores that sell to individuals worldwide, Mauro said.

The company employs about 50 people and is looking to double that number in the next few years.

They recently opened a 62,000-square-foot facility on Lighthpost Way that is dedicated to integrated circuits, chips and other board products and sells them to wholesalers. It is run by his wife Sofia Fedotova , “the brains of the operation,” said Mauro. The couple has four children ages 3, 5, 8, and 15. The younger two are boys, the older two are girls.

The couple started the company 14 years ago, and attended the “school of hard knocks,” Mauro said. He grew up in Washington, D.C., and graduated from Lynnbrook High School in Cupertino.

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“We decided to start our own company in our garage and from there we had it in several locations before we ended up in Morgan Hill,” he said. “We live in Gilroy and we bought this building in Morgan Hill which is a good place between our customers in Silicon Valley and our home.”

The company helps support various local groups through e-waste events and worked with ARTTEC helping high school kids in Morgan Hill. They also help several other nonprofits in Santa Cruz, including the California Grey Bears.

This year they helped sponsor the Morgan Hill Citywide Science Fair.

“Our future is bright,” Mauro said. “We’re solid and going forward and we are looking at growing and expanding.”

PRISM ELECTRONICS

Where: 18305 Sutter Blvd., and 900 Lightpost Way – both in Morgan Hill
Contact: (408) 762-2000, ext 6337 or visit www.prismelectronics.net, or (408) 778-7050 (Lightpost Way facility)

Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi is the editor of Morgan Hill Life newspaper. If you have a story idea or an Around Town column item you want to tell him about, you can reach him at (408) 427-5865 or at editor@morganhilllife.com.
Robert Airoldi