CDRA member spotlight: Susanne Cobey, Eagle Crusher

CDRA member spotlight: Susanne Cobey, Eagle Crusher
What type of equipment do you produce?
Portable and stationary crushers for the RAP, concrete recycling and aggregate industries.
How did you get started in the business?
I started at Eagle Crusher in 1974 as the Parts Manager, after leaving Ford Motor Co. At Ford, I was the first female to be hired into a position other than a secretary. I was responsible for auditing the fleet leasing departments of dealerships around the country.
Eagle had just bought two crusher companies and had no one to handle part sales. I was the 10th person hired since the company was reorganized in 1970.
What are the biggest challenges in your market and C&D recycling?
In 1984, Eagle started the Concrete and Asphalt recycling industry in the United States. Since then numerous companies have entered the market. The challenges have changed through the years. An early challenge was convincing customers that an impactor was superior to a jaw/cone for recycling.
As track units became more prevalent, our challenge was to convince potential customers that these track crushers negatively affected production and serviceability. As time has gone by, many customers realized that their key to profitability was having reliable equipment that consistently produced at higher tonnages and was easy to maintain. The assumption that a track machine was easier to transport than a wheeled unit has also been proven to be incorrect. Sure smaller units can be transported on one trailer, but the larger track crushers developed require multiple truck loads.
Currently, this pandemic is challenging to all manufactures as well as producers and recyclers. ConExpo was a major success for Eagle, but the prevailing economy causes everyone to question where we stand in the near future.
Where are the biggest opportunities?
There still is a lot of growth in the recycling and C & D industries. Our reputation grows for having reliable equipment that produces at consistently high tonnages, that is easy to maintain and has strong service support. Eagle will continue to grow as the percentage of RAP allowed by individual states expands. The diversification of our product offerings is allowing us to address business segments we have not been able to enter in the past.
How long have you been a member of CDRA?
Eagle was the founding member of CDRA.
What inspired you to join CDRA?
Eagle saw the need for an organization that focused on a wider range of companies, in the recycling industry, that were being underserved in an existing organization.
What do you find most rewarding about working in this industry?
I am proud that, in 1984, I spearheaded Eagle Crusher to start the industry, in the United States, of recycling concrete with rebar and RAP.
It’s a good feeling to know that your company is part of an industry that redirects waste into a usable product that used to go directly to a landfill.
What challenges have you faced over the years and how have you overcome them?
Being a women-owned private business in a male-dominated industry that is mostly comprised of large public companies, should have been a challenge, but I have always taken it in stride.
What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?
I started to show Quarter Horses at the age of 10 and would win against grown men and women. At the age of 13, I had accumulated enough points that year with my horse to be awarded “The World Champion Pleasure Horse” and had to decide if I would become pro or continue with school. For some reason, school won out and so I retired from showing.
How do you think the industry is changing and what trends do you see coming up on the horizon?
The recycling industry is maturing and the needs of the end user is changing. Initially, the customer only needed to produce a 2” minus product. Now the product range has extensively expanded due to many new uses of the recycled materials. Also, the customer base has become more sophisticated and diverse, as well as government regulations have made the industry more complex.
All industries including the recycling industry will embrace Telematics to better run their operations by keeping track of their equipment for servicing and production. Additionally, autonomous operations will be in everyone’s future.
What advice would you give to someone interested in this industry?
Eagle is always selling to customers who have never been in the industry, but who realize the needs and opportunities the recycling industry presents. Eagle explains how critical it is to operate reliable equipment, that produces the needed tonnage continuously, has easy serviceability, as well as strong Dealer and Factory support. Eagle also has been able to finance customers who do not have a strong track record in the industry.
Best piece of business advice you’ve gotten or learned over the years?
I have two business philosophies. One is to believe in yourself, believe in others and believe in God and everything is possible.
The other is if you are Stupid, Crazy, Stubborn and Lazy, you will succeed. If you are stupid enough to think something can be done; crazy enough to actually do it; stubborn enough to stick to it and the most important thing is being lazy, because no one can accomplish something by themselves. You need to surround yourself with the smartest people you can find. I used this philosophy to steer Eagle into the Recycling Industry in 1984 and have never looked back.
Eagle is a leader in our industry, continually developing new equipment and improving existing equipment. Eagle has and will continue to add new members to our Team, one customer at a time. That is why we have the nickname “Team Eagle”. Once a customer buys our equipment, they become part of our Team. They become family and we take care of family.
Would you like to have your company in a spotlight like this? Contact CDRA Executive Director William Turley at turley@cdrecycling.org; 630-585-7530.

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