Storage or shredding? Firm makes managing paperwork easier

Tracy Pederson, above, owner of Recordsmaster, and Zack Barnett, right, warehouse manager for the Grand Junction company, demonstrate the before and after of secure document destruction: locked storage bins and shredded paper. The firm has offered document storage and shredding in Western Colorado for nearly 25 years. (Business Times photos by Phil Castle)

Zack Barnett

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Tracy Pederson describes the longevity of his document management business with a single sentence borrowed in part from the lyrics of a country western song.

“We were shredding when shredding wasn’t cool,” said Pederson, owner of Recordsmaster based in Grand Junction.

For nearly 25 years, in fact, Recordsmaster has been managing documents for a wide range of clients, securely storing documents for accountants, banks, hospitals and lawyers, among others. And when those documents are no longer needed, Recordsmaster shreds all that paperwork into so much confetti.

Now that the increasing threats of identity theft and penalties imposed under federal regulations have made document security more important — and popular — than ever, Recordsmaster continues its services with an unblemished record, Pederson said. “We’ve never had an incident in 25 years.”

The business performs yet another service in shipping what are literally truck loads of shredded paper to mills to be recycled and used over in paper products, Pederson added.

By one estimate Pederson described as conservative, Recordsmaster has recycled more than 6 million pounds of paper,  saving more than 500,000 trees in the process. “We pride ourselves in recycling,” he said.

Pederson helped started what become Recordsmaster in 1989, serving as manager of the operation before buying the business from the original owners.

Recordsmaster operates a records management facility that stores documents and computer backup files as well as shreds documents. For many clients, documents are stored for a required amount of time and then destroyed according to a rotation schedule.

Over the years, Recordsmaster has worked for a wide range of clients not only in the Grand Valley, but elsewhere across Western Colorado and Eastern Utah, Pederson said. “You name it, we’ve probably shredded for them.”

Recordsmaster provides locked storage bins for clients and pick ups and transport those bins aboard locked trucks. Clients also can drop off bins or simply the documents at the company’s facility on 25 1/2 Road in Grand Junction.

Massive machinery can shred up to 3 tons of paperwork an hour. The end product is compressed into 1,000-pound bales for shipment to paper mills for recycling, Pederson said.

The process is secure from one end to another, Pederson said. The records management facility features such security measures as fences, locks, cameras, motion detectors and alarms.

Clients who need to witness the destruction of their documents can do so via video cameras connected to a flat screen television in the lobby. “That’s real reality TV,” Pederson said.

It’s also possible to set up an online system in which clients can watch the destruction of their documents from the computer monitors at their desks, he added.

The operation offers an advantage over mobile shredding, he said, in that clients don’t have to wait outdoors in what can be inclement weather to watch as their documents are destroyed.

While Recordsmaster long has offered various record management services to customers in the region, the growing risk of identify theft and the growing number of federal regulations have driven business in recent years, Pederson said.

A lengthy list of federal regulations require the security and proper destruction of consumer, financial and medication records. The latest regulations substantially broadened the scope of liability for those responsible for securing records as well as imposed mandatory fines that increased from a maximum of $25,000 to $1.5 million.

Even as regulations change and the pace of business increases, Pederson said he expects some aspects of Recordsmaster to remain the same in offering quality customer service and a secure operation.

And shredding will continue as well, he said, although shredding has become cool.

Phil Castle is editor of the Grand Valley Business Times, a twice-monthly business journal published in Grand Junction. Castle brings to his duties nearly 30 years of experience in editorial management positions with Western Colorado newspapers. In addition, his free-lance work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Washington Post. He holds a bachelor's degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University.
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