Margaret Meier is president of UltraShred Technologies, which provides high-security onsite shredding services to businesses, government offices, institutions and residents in Northern Florida and parts of Georgia. The business she founded with her husband 23 years ago offers secure paper shredding, non-paper media destruction and computer hard drive destruction.
Tell me about UltraShred Technologies.
UltraShred Technologies was started in 2000. It was an initiative coming out of a business that my husband, Walt Meier, was running: a commercial cleaning company that served large office complexes.
One of the facilities’ managers was interested in getting shredding as a service. We looked into it and decided to go ahead and start that business.
Our main line of business is commercial onsite shredding. It can be scheduled service where we place certain kinds of containers in office buildings, medical clinics, hospitals, schools, courthouses — everywhere people need to have their information destroyed.
Our second line of business would be more like e-cycling or helping people with their outdated electronics. They need that information destroyed, also. We do that with the help of downstream partners. They will first remove all of the information that is on the device, destroy that and then refurbish the equipment so it stays out of the landfill.
How does this work?
If you need shredding, you would call the office. We can offer either a drop-off service or our trucks can come onsite. It’s on camera. You get a certificate of destruction.
If you have devices that you needed taken care of, we also provide a certificate of destruction for your records.
For our scheduled service clients, we also provide a volume report. If you have a container, you’ll know how full those containers are every time we come, and that helps you to understand: Is that the right size container? Do I need service monthly, weekly, bi-monthly?
We also provide environmental impact reporting, so you know how much water was saved, oil was saved, how much paper was recycled, all of that.
And we do shred events. Cities, municipalities and private business owners hire us to come, park our truck at a certain location. Then, they have these drive-through shredding events where our truck is there to shred for residents and customers.
I understand you do product destructions, too.
We’ve destroyed straw bags, plastic plants made to be sold but that had a flaw in them, magazines, books, clothing — some of the police departments want to destroy their uniforms so they don’t get on the street.
We don’t destroy tires, anything with wood, anything with metal. We do hard drive destruction, and that is metal, but the truck has to be completely clear of paper. We have a special mechanism on our truck that we can do shredding as long as the truck is empty.
Tell me about the need for these services. It seems we aren’t quite a paperless society yet.
One of the needs for the service, in spite of the reduction of the use of paper, is compliance. Some very small organizations may be completely paperless, but almost everyone has some kind of paper. So, even though it’s less paper, you still have to show compliance.
Also, if they do in-office shredding, everybody has access to wherever the paper was. And not all employees need to see everything you’re shredding, so it provides privacy in the office.
In your role as president, what are some of your responsibilities?
Pretty much making sure that we make money. Because the whole purpose is to help the community, but my immediate community are all my employees. And I feel like that’s one of my top responsibilities, taking care of them. They come first.
What do you like best about what you do?
My favorite thing about being a business owner is really and truly all of the connections that I make. I love people. It is fun to talk to people. It’s fun to make friends everywhere.
I’ve stayed active in my industry. I serve on the board for our international trade association, i-SIGMA. Through those connections, I’ve been able to visit other shredding companies, storage companies, and really learn.
Have you lived in Northeast Florida long? What do you like best about living here?
I was a teacher in the ‘80s. At the time, it was not easy to get jobs where I’m from, Long Island. So, I got a job here in Florida at a private school. A really nice school. Enjoyed it. Did that for two years. Worked at Hope Haven Children’s Clinic doing a variety of things to grow my professional life in education and testing.
I was with St. Johns County Schools for several years. I did adjunct work at UNF, teaching teachers; I love to mentor people. Then, I was a stay-at-home mom with six kids.
I love Ponte Vedra. It’s a great community.
How do you like to spend your free time?
We love to go to the scenic overlook on A1A and see both our beautiful estuary and the ocean. I love to ride my bike; it just makes me so happy.
And spend time with the family, of course. That’s what it’s all about.
How can people learn more about UltraShred Technologies?
They can go to www.ultrashredtechnologies.com.