James Parker is the picture of a young entrepreneur. At 24, he owns a mobile shredding company with a staff of 10 and has found a niche uniquely suited to his abilities. He uses a wheelchair and does not speak due to a rare genetic disorder, but with the support of his family he founded Shredding on the Go in 2010 to use his shredding skills as well as provide work for others with disabilities.
“We’ve always wanted James to be involved in the community in some way, so when he got into middle school I started thinking seriously about what he was going to do when he got out of high school,” James’ mother and business manager Renee Parker said.
The idea for the business came from James’ love of putting paper into the shredder at his grandmother’s house, Renee said.
In 2010 the family purchased an industrial shredder with the help of the state Department of Assisted and Rehabilitative Services and developed the idea of using a wheelchair-accessible van to create a mobile service.
The company employs 10 individuals with disabilities to assist with the work. Each staff member works part time several hours a week, and James works five days a week.
“They’re not hiding that they have a disability or a challenge,” Renee said. “What our business has proven is that these individuals have abilities they can use, and it benefits their lives and the community.”
Troy Albert, a 51-year-old employee with cerebral palsy who had not previously worked, received his first paycheck several weeks before Christmas in 2013. He told Renee it was the first time he was able to purchase Christmas presents for his family.
The company shreds paper material in any quantity on-site and can pick up orders for secure off-site shredding within 24 to 48 hours.
All material is shredded to confetti-size pieces and recycled.
The company serves the Spring area and Northwest Houston corridor from Katy to The Woodlands.
Sara McMahan, owner of The TEAM Approach, a physical therapy clinic on FM 529, said the convenience and confidentiality of the business appealed to her.
“As a small business, we can’t always contract with the bigger companies because it is cost-prohibitive,” McMahan said. “He comes when we need him; it’s a really good match.”
Shredding on the Go is certified as a disability-owned business through the U.S. Business Leadership Network, a nonprofit organization that promotes disability inclusion. It is also a member of the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce.
“Our foundational beliefs are that all people have unique abilities and have something to give to the community,” Renee said. “We chose to pursue it and not give up, and knock down every door to make this happen.”