She became an account executive for Hill Holliday, where she worked with a variety of sports clients.
And that’s where she still might be had she not made a trip to the Catskills.
“It was a singles weekend,” she says. “I met my husband, Alan, there. We were engaged six weeks later.”
They settled in Chicago, where Rothman got back into the real estate business. The couple returned to New York when she was pregnant with the first of their two children. They joined her family’s scrap metal business for a couple of years.
Nineteen years ago, they established City Scrap Metal, whose logo is a scrappy, in-your-face English bulldog.
“I started the company in my house,” she says. “My son was one year old. I used to hold him on my lap while I was on the phone doing sales calls. Then we bought this building and moved here.”
Although City Scrap Metal is open only six days a week, Rothman is on duty seven.
“The work never stops,” she says. “I do paperwork at night and on weekends because I don’t want to waste income-producing hours on it.”
City Scrap Metal, whose offices and warehouse cover 8,000 square feet, collects scrap from job sites. Its trucks have digital scales, so sellers are paid on the spot. Customers also drop metal off at the warehouse, where it is processed and shipped to mills for recycling.
“We are not a stereotypical junkyard,” Rothman says. “We’re a serious business, and we’re a brand. At nearly every construction site, you’ll see someone in a hard hat wearing one of our City Scrap Metal bulldog T-shirts.”
There aren’t many women in the scrap-metal business, a fact that Rothman is very aware of. (Yes, she’s had her share of #MeToo moments but says she deflected them with humor.) Rothman’s work at City Scrap Metal is all consuming, but that’s okay with her. She considers the 15 people who work for her her extended family.
“There were years that I cut my salary to less than what my employees were making so I could make payroll,” she says.
City Scrap Metal recently was certified as a woman-owned business, and Rothman has other changes in the works.
“I’m looking for 2018 to be a breakout year,” she says. “I’m planting the seeds to move the company in a different direction because the industry is changing. I want to stay ahead of the curve.”
For the next few minutes, though, she’ll continue helping her copper crew. Sometimes, it’s nice to take a break.
City Scrap Metal is located at 34-12 Borden Avenue in Long Island City.
Nancy A. Ruhling may be reached at Nruhling@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter at @nancyruhling and visit astoriacharacters.com.