Raed Bechara is helping to save the planet—one industrial pallet at a time. His Laval, Quebec, company, Industrie de Palettes Standard (IPS), has turned recycling into a fine art. It repairs used wooden pallets and sells them to businesses, saving 50,000 trees a year by situs slot online Bechara’s estimate.

Bechara’s environmentally friendly business has earned him a major prize for sustainable development and led to rapid growth at his company. However, Bechara hasn’t forgotten his roots as an immigrant from Syria. Last year, he hired 15 Syrian refugees and arranged for them to learn French during paid work time.

On first arriving in Canada…

I came to Quebec from Syria in 1987 when I was 16. It was hard to leave everything behind. I didn’t know any French or English. I didn’t have friends here. But my parents wanted me and my two younger sisters to have a better life.

At our company, we gave jobs to 15 Syrian refugees last year and arranged for them to have French courses in our facility during paid work time. I didn’t want them to live through what we went through when we moved to Canada. I wanted them to have good jobs and to know French.

We didn’t have a lot when we arrived. My father took three jobs to support us. I was able to go to university, where I studied biochemistry. I wanted to become a pharmacist.

On how he joined his company…

At the time, I was working part time in customer service for Industrie de Palettes Standard. It was a small company that recycled used pallets— 3,000 per week.

At some point, the company went bankrupt, and I bought it for a small amount. I was a student and hardly had any money of my own, but I was able to raise it from friends and family. The company had some accounts receivable, so I was able to bring it out of bankruptcy and sell it not long after with enough profit to pay off my student loan.

Afterwards, I kept working at IPS part time until I finished my bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. When I graduated, I started looking for a job in my field. I told IPS I was going to leave, but the man who had bought the company said he wanted me to stay on. He offered me shares in the company.