L.A. stories of inspiration and success

L.A. stories of inspiration and success

Operators of Pacific Resource Recovery, Jennifer Lahoda (left) and Veeken Tashjian (right), on the floor of their TSD facility
The East Los Angeles BusinessSource Center helped Pacific Resource Recovery (PRR), a Boyle Heights-based solvent waste management company, with community outreach efforts. These efforts will allow the business to expand its capacity, retain its existing workforce and hire two new employees.

Founded in 1976 by Bob Berg, PRR is now operated by his granddaughter Jennifer Lahoda and Veeken Tashjian, a second-generation member of the Berg Family of Companies.

The company originally started in paint manufacturing. Bob Berg owned Ellis Paint Company, a facility that produced automotive and industrial paint. In 1979, Mr. Berg noticed how much waste was being generated in the paint industry and pioneered the PCL System. "The System," as it came to be known, was a solvent recycling program that was the first of its kind in California. The 'closed loop' system recycled dirty solvent when a lot of solvent waste was still being dumped into local landfills and waterways.

The PCL System became Pacific Resource Recovery (PRR) in 1991 under the leadership of Bob Berg's daughter, Sandy Berg. The company offers a full range of waste management services for industrial hazardous waste. Today, Jennifer and Veeken are passionate about continuing the PRR's legacy of trust, integrity, care, and growth that the generations before them worked so hard to keep at the forefront of their business.

In the four decades that PRR has been in existence, California has seen regulatory, technology, and paradigm shifts in California manufacturing. As a result, many companies have left the state. However, the Berg family (now in its sixth generation) remains firmly intact.

"California is our home and we truly believe that through innovation, integrity, and investing in our team and community, there is opportunity for growth and a thriving business," Jennifer said.

The East Los Angeles BusinessSource Center (ELA BSC) began its client relationship with PRR through its involvement with the Boyle Heights Chamber of Commerce. PRR was seeking reorganization of its business structure when the Berg Family sold Ellis Paint Company and was looking to continue the growth of its waste management business.

Pacific Resource Recovery staff photo
Pacific Resource Recovery Crew
To assist with this business transition, the ELA BSC referred PRR to a State of California Employment Training Panel (ETP) for guidance on retraining key personnel and providing relocation assistance to other employees at the company. The ELA BSC also put PRR in touch with the Boyle Heights Worksource Center for further job placement assistance.

The ELA BSC, in partnership with other community-based organizations, assisted PRR with community outreach in support of their Part B Permit renewal application through the Department of Toxic Substance Control, which will allow PRR to expand its operations and capacity. This resulted in hiring two new employees and the retention of PRR's current workforce. Once the permit is approved, PRR will be allowed to expand into an additional 20,000 square feet at their existing facility, which will create the need to hire additional staff. PRR and the ELA BSC are already in the process of creating the strategic framework for those hiring needs.

The ELA BSC continues to work directly with PRR in developing activities on the Eastside that benefit other small businesses like the annual Business Expo and Conference at the California Endowment. PRR is located in LA City Council District 14.

EWDD’s BusinessSource and WorkSource Centers offer a variety of Business Services, including several Financial Programs and Development Incentives for businesses of all sizes. Learn how EWDD can help.

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of January 17, 2022. Read this issue and more.

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