LINDA McFARLAND:
 
ALEX BURKULAS




 
 
 
 
 
Founder, President, and CEO, Classic Computer Recovery Inc. (CCR), and Co-Founder, Paragon Green, in Garden City. CCR’s asset management program is a full-circle, zero-waste solution for electronic equipment at the end of its useful life. The company reuses and recycles all types of computers, laptops, monitors, fax machines, copiers, cell phones, POS technology, and UNIX-based equipment. Paragon Green, a joint venture between CCR and 5R Processors LLC, has extensive e-waste asset recovery experience. McFarland spent her early career in the wholesale computer industry and today seeks to divert e-waste from curbside disposal and responsibly convert electronic products into reusable commodities. Since founding CCR in 2002, McFarland has expanded the company’s core goal of providing low-cost asset recovery for businesses and large corporations to also serving municipal solid waste agencies, recycling authorities, and public works departments and school districts in Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana. CCR’s award-winning Go Green Community Recycle Project program provides opportunities for high school students to earn academic credit while learning the value of community service. Under McFarland’s direction, her female- and minority-owned business has made significant progress in making e-waste recycling accessible to the residential market as well, working with municipalities throughout the Midwest to create permanent drop-off facilities. CCR also works with commercial markets to service businesses in need of responsible redistribution and recycling of obsolete IT equipment. She received her bachelor’s degree in marketing and business administration from the University of Arizona.


WHERE BORN: “Waukegan, Illinois.”

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “Three people. My father because his work ethic was enormous and he always taught that if you work hard, success will come sooner or later. It might be later but don’t get off message. He was very disciplined. One of my professors at the University of Arizona, Dr. Osclund. He was from the Wharton School and transferred to Arizona and worked with business ventures. I got a C in his class when I usually did better but it’s the class I learned the most in. I’ve kept the book throughout my career and was able to apply stuff immediately. Also, my second boss out of college who worked at a computer hardware firm, Tony Gould. He was a fabulous person to work for and was schooled in IBM’s way of thinking – upbeat, positive, and solution-oriented.”

LAST BOOK READ: "Age of Miracles by Marianne Williamson. She’s a nondenominational priestess and very prophetic. I recommend it to any female.”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Passionate, aggressive, advocate, positive, glass is always half full.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED:  “A lot of legislation is looming because of the toxic and hazardous materials in electronics, computers, TVs, etc., not being handled right. Legislation is going to have a major hand in which way the industry goes. Although controversial, legislation on e-waste and the environment is needed. It will separate the people who aren’t doing what they say they do and those of us who are doing what we say. For example, lead-based glass from TVs and computer monitors from the early 1980s to late ’90s – companies have to partner and reconcile with people who recycle it. We want to recycle but need end markets for the material. Industry has to solve the e-waste problem.”

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: “My notebook with high speed Internet card. I can take my notebook anywhere in the world, talk on it, never have to reset it, plug it in at hotels, and always have it on at a trade show.”

FAVORITE PLACE: “San Francisco. It’s one of the most romantic cities in the nation.”

FAVORITE HOBBIES: “I’m definitely into boating. I grew up around water. I’m now a big golfer and my favorite down time is lying in the sun.”

FAVORITE FOOD: “Sushi.”

MY HIDDEN TALENT: “I have a sixth sense of what’s going to happen, particularly with the economy and the business world. I’ve always been in sales and marketing and seen trends and captured the moment before others, like the digital transition. I was in the e-waste industry in 2002.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “My life goal is to help people in need while helping to protect and preserve animals and the earth. If I died tomorrow, I would feel like I’ve put a thumbprint on something good in the world.”


At the annual awards reception in May 2015, one Leader & Innovator from the previous 12 months will be selected as the Leader & Innovator of the Year.