Washoe Arc sets its sights on document destruction | nnbw.com
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Washoe Arc sets its sights on document destruction

Judith Harlan

When Washoe Arc launches its document destruction business this month, its earnings will get about a $100,000 boost for the year, with hopes of up to $500,000 within three years.

And, yes,Washoe Arc is a business, says Executive Director James L.Meyer.

Albeit a not-for-profit firm with a mission to turn any profits back into programs that help train, educate and employ people with developmental disabilities.

A mission supported by a $5 million annual revenue stream of business- generated monies, charitable donations and government assistance.

The organization’s new document destruction business,National Data Guard, to be housed at 1105 Marietta Way in Sparks, is getting off the ground, says Meyer, with one prominent federal client and with the regional business of a national corporation.

The business is a perfect fit for Washoe Arc, adds Meyer.”It’s attractive because of the ease of the job.” It’s a smart business move, too, says Robert Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Information Destruction, because information destruction is a rapidly growing business segment, boosted in recent years by individual concerns about identity theft.

And it was recently turbo-charged by federal legislation FACTA, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act which went into affect on June 1.

The act, says Johnson, rules that anyone who runs a credit history on an individual must destroy the information before discarding it.

That legal responsibility falls on the shoulders of thousands of businesses, from apartment managers running checks on new renters to banks taking applications for loans.

And expect the law to extend even farther in the future, says Johnson.He’s working with legislators to tweak the law’s reach to include personal information, such as birth dates, addresses the pieces that identity thieves gather to wreak their havoc.

The number of businesses getting into information destruction is growing exponentially, adds Johnson.NAID,whose members are information destruction firms, had 170 members in 2002, and currently counts 620 members, with two to three new ones coming in every working day.

The business is a great niche, too, he adds, for those who actively seek to hire people with disabilities.

Meyer adds: the system Washoe Arc is setting up will be one that provides success for the organization’s employees with developmental disabilities.Documents, once dropped off at the center,will be sorted,with employees removing paper clips and the like.

But it’s a business,Meyer emphasizes, that will be competing head-to-head with other document-shredding facilities in the area.

To that end, it will provide 24-hour surveillance of the premises, locked containers, contracts to shred all documents within 36 hours, controlled access to the building and drug/alcohol testing for all employees.

It will be certified by NAID.And all trucks will be equipped with Global Positioning Systems so their movements can be tracked.

The not-for-profit corporation is leasing 10,000 square feet in a deal brokered by the Trammell Crow Co.,with plans to devote 5,000 square feet to document shredding and the other 5,000 to assembly work or similar work that can employ people with disabilities.

Meyer,who took on the job as executive director three years ago,was brought on, he says, because of his business acumen.And he’s been building the revenue underpinnings of Washoe Arc ever since.

He spearheaded Washoe Arc’s sale of Moxie Java, a coffeehouse at 465 S.Meadows Parkway, in fall, 2004.”It never met the goals of the organization,” says Meyer.

It, as well as Pier One Imports, a retail store in Reno’s Smithridge Plaza,Reno, still owned by Washoe Arc, were set up as for-profit subsidiaries ofWashoe Arc Profits to support Washoe Arc.

Retail is not the fit that document shredding could be, says Meyer.And the difference goes back simply to Washoe Arc’s mission: to employ and train people with developmental disabilities.

Washoe Arc also operates four thrift stores, ranging from 4,000 square feet to 11,000 square feet “the oldest thrift stores in the county,” says Meyer.And it also provides janitorial and grounds keeping services for local clients.


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