Gopher at a glance
Headquarters: Eagan, Minnesota
CEO: Brian Leen, hired in 2019
History: Gopher operates two lead battery recycling factories in the country, one in Minnesota and a second in Tampa. It bought the east Tampa factory in 2006. Gopher is classified as a secondary lead smelter because it recycles lead. It’s the only company of its kind operating in Florida.
What it does: The Tampa location recycles about 50,000 car batteries a day, extracting the lead, melting it, purifying it and forging it into new blocks that have been sold to ammunition suppliers, battery makers and the U.S. military.
Employees: About 600 in its two locations, with more than 300 in Tampa.
Revenues: As a private company, it doesn’t have to disclose this, but estimates are that it generates hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue.
Ownership: Gopher is a private company founded in 1946 by Irving Kutoff. It operated as a family business for decades. It was bought in 2018 by Energy Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in New Jersey.
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Projects like Poisoned are important and expensive. More than 25 journalists participated in our lead reporting initiative at the Tampa Bay Times over the past two years.
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We want to talk with you
Do you live in the neighborhoods of Grant Park, Oak Park, Florence Villa, Dixie Farms or Uceta Gardens in Hillsborough County? And do you suffer from these health issues?
- Heart ailments
- Kidney disease
- Muscle weakness
- Behavioral problems
- Reduced attention span
- Cognitive disabilities
- Debilitating headaches
These are among the factors associated with high levels of lead exposure. Please contact us if you are interested in talking.