By Sandy Blalock • ARA Executive Director
As we all celebrate the holidays and look forward to a New Year, it’s good to reflect on what you have accomplished, what you still need to do, and what your goals will be for next year. We do the same thing here at ARA, as it is vitally important that we continue our efforts to assure a viable and profitable market for our members.
As many of you know, 2022 was a busy year for not only our members but ARA. We found ourselves deeply enmeshed in state legislative efforts to protect auto recyclers and remove the stigma that we are part of the growing problem of catalytic converter theft. We found ourselves the target of many legislators that, through their misunderstanding of our industry and the role we play, thought we were the buyers of detached catalytic converters and were encouraging the thefts.
Some of the proposed changes would have auto recyclers engage in burdensome reporting and even some additional licensing and permitting just to report the sale of our catalytic converters. Our stand is and will always be that our members’ business model is purchasing vehicles for the purpose of removing and selling parts and components into the most profitable marketplace available. We will always fight to protect that right.
Hopefully 2023 will not see as many catalytic converter bills, but there will be some. We also expect to see some potential parts restriction bills, along with the continued right to repair issue that we fully support. ARA Government Affairs staff will continue monitoring all state legislation and work closely with our affiliates during the legislative sessions to make sure you have the assets and assistance that you need.
High voltage vehicles (EVs) will also be a hot topic in many state legislatures this coming year. The good news is that ARA is well versed and stays on top of this issue. I believe we are years ahead of many of the other repair sectors in our training, certification and working knowledge of EVs. If you have not yet seen the training on ARA University (ARAUniversity.org) now is a good time to start. Remember all the training on ARAU is a member benefit and free to you and all your staff. Don’t forget to take advantage of this training.
ARA staff and some members of leadership will once again attend the annual NaatBatt Conference in February. NaatBatt International is a not-for-profit trade association of companies, associations and research institutions commercializing advanced electrochemical energy storage technology for emerging, high-tech applications. This was an informative and successful meeting for us last year and as a result, we made many important contacts with those involved in EV battery production, repurposing, reuse and recycling for critical materials.
Most of our state Affiliate programs had successful conferences this year and are ready for 2023 to be even better. ARA will attend and be a part of every affiliate program that we can, to ensure that we are participating, networking and hearing about the needs of our members wherever they are. If you have a conference scheduled and have not yet let us know please reach out to ARA staff at email@example.com so we can get it on our 2023 industry calendar and help you promote your event.
As many of you know we launched a program with eBay to endorse our Certified Automotive Recycler (CAR) program. Very soon eBay will no longer allow airbags or airbag components to be sold on their site unless the recycler listing is certified under our CAR certification program. We will continue to look for endorsements for our certification as we believe that professional auto recyclers who take their business seriously are certified and therefore more qualified. We believe certified auto recyclers deserve benefits and recognition for their efforts. We will continue to highlight that in everything that we do.
To make certain we are meeting the needs of our members and the industry, ARA will be conducting our Strategic Planning in early January 2023. This planning process is where ARA leaders define their vision for the future and identify ARA’s goals and objectives. The process will include establishing a sequence in which those goals should be realized so that we can reach our stated vision. ARA has a strategic planning session every couple of years so that we can always make sure that the current and near future needs of our industry are identified and a plan put into place to ensure ARA’s and our members’ future success.
From all of us at ARA, we wish you the best this holiday season, be safe and enjoy time with your family and friends.
Reach Sandy Blalock at firstname.lastname@example.org. Share your thoughts pertaining to the advancement of professional automotive recycling. Your letter could be published in an upcoming issue.