Jim Novy arrived in Galveston from Knishin Poland. He moved to Ennis first and then to Austin and started Austin Metal and Iron in 1913 with his brother Sam. There is a large picture in the the Front Office of the Company showing them in front of a sign that says “ We Buy Metals of All Kinds, Bottles, Bones, Rubber, Rags, Hides, Furs and Rope”. Unfortunately, Sam died during the flu epidemic of the 20’s.
Jim and his other brother Louis, were also in the motion picture business, for a short time and had one theater. Jim ended up staying with the Scrap business and Louis kept the theater.
When Jim started the yard, it was on rail road property between 4th & 5th street in downtown Austin, when Interstate 35, SSW, and the bright lights of infamous sixth street wasn’t even a dream. Jim started buying property across the street between 3rd and 4th street in the 20s and 30s. In 1958 the Southern Gas Property Block was purchased. In 1986 the rail road property was vacated and the yard was moved to its present location across 4th street.
In 1947, Jim was joined by his new son in law, Morris Shapiro. Later on Dave Novy, Jim’s Son, joined his father and brother in law in the scrap business after a time in the furniture business.
In 1971, Morris’ son Bobby, joined the Company after graduating from the University of Texas. That same year, Jim passed away.
In 1981, Morris, Dave and Bobby became partners. Dave retired in 1983.
For the next 29 years the Company was owned by Morris and Bobby Shapiro, but there was more to come.
Jim, Bobby’s son, joined the Company in 1998, after graduating from Texas Tech and a stint with Newell Recycling of San Antonio.
Ike, Bobby’s youngest son, also a Texas Tech graduate, joined the family business in 2011 after being with Plains Capital Bank and Allied Alloys in Houston.
In 2003, Morris Shapiro & Austin Metal and Iron were named to the Commercial Metals Supplier Hall of Fame. This honor was in recognition of the five suppliers that helped supply the original Steel Mill in Seguin in the late 50’s
Today, Austin Metal and Iron is managed by Bobby, Jim and Ike with 90 yr old Morris as a Consultant to the Company.
When Morris started in 1947 the Equipment consisted of an alligator shear and a winch & pole truck for loading rail road cars. Today, the Company operates two yards with 45 employees. Austin Metal and Iron, the original and oldest recycling business in Recycling Friendly, Austin, Texas is going strong into its 102nd year of business.
The Shapiro Family, including the ladies, is a great example of a successful family business. One of only a handful in Texas that have been in business for over 100 years. The Shapiro’s have been involved and supporters of the Austin Community, the Scrap Industry, active with ISRI and especially the Recycling Council of Texas. Bobby, Jim and Ike are all past board members of Gulf Coast ISRI. The conference room and kitchen table of the Company has been the war room during the last four sessions of the Texas Legislature with Jim serving three of those sessions as the President of RCOT.
It is a honor for to present the 2015 Israel Proler Award to the Shapiro Family.