By Scott Robertson Jr.
Growing up attending school in Massachusetts, I was taught about Paul Revere’s midnight ride to alert colonial militia of British forces. Today, I wonder what would have become of our nation if our forefathers did not act and were unprepared for arrival of the mightiest army in the world. Fast forward 245 years; our industry needs to be rallied, just as were the revolutionary forces, in order to be prepared to fight for the rights of ROE–Recycled Original Equipment® auto parts in vehicle repairs.
ARA, recognized as the eyes, ears and voice of the automotive recycling industry, is in constant communication with Federal and State government agencies, other trade associations, industry standards groups, political groups, and recycling industry committees to protect the rights of businesses that offer ROE–Recycled Original Equipment®. It seems like daily, ARA’s Executive Director Sandy Blalock and the ARA staff listen to meetings, take notes, give input, and answer questions about our industry. Some days we get hit on all sides, other days it is smooth sailing, but often it seems like we run from fire to fire.
One of ARA’s strategic pillars to serve the auto recycling industry is to provide leading-edge training so that company’s that sell ROE may remain in good standing with regulatory obligations and utilize best business practices. This is not only accomplished through ARA University (arauniversity.org) – ARA’s premier training platform for workforce advancement – but also through ARA committees, such as the ARA Certification Committee, and our annual ARA Convention & Exposition.
This year, we saw widespread cancellation of all in-person industry shows across the U.S., and the world for that matter, due to COVID-19. Recently, we announced that the ARA in-person event, Reno 2020, was also subject to the times. Yet, the show must go on.
We have quickly redirected our efforts to EDGE 2020, 77th Annual ARA Convention & Expo, the first-ever global 100 percent virtual automotive recycling convention – occurring over the same dates, Nov. 11-13! Since you cannot come to us, ARA will come to you! It will include the exceptional sessions you expect from ARA, as well as an interactive Expo experience as if you are standing with the vendor in their physical booth talking shop. REGISTER TODAY at https://s3.goeshow.com/ara/edge/2020/registration_form.cfm.
It’s all hands on deck, with every ARA staff member tasked with making this first-of-its-kind show a huge success. And now, with no travel time or expense, you really have no excuse not to attend or not to involve your team in the experience, as well. We are making it very cost-effective to do so!
As an auto recycler, many of us are fortunate to have a state association, or if you are outside of the USA, a regional and national association, to represent our best interests. These groups rely heavily on expos to fund their budgets in an effort to keep membership dues low. Operating an association is not cheap, it takes real money to pay overhead and expenses to properly represent members. ARA recognizes the damage COVID-19 imposed on the budgets of our state affiliates. Therefore, there will be fundraising activities during Edge 2020 to help affiliates who have lost income from canceled events. I am personally asking that if you can dig deep into your pocket, please help. They are the “eyes” of the industry for potential issues that could become national ones if not addressed at the state level. I will even go as far to say that if your paycheck relies on the sale of ROE parts, please consider a donation when asked.
Just imagine not having an industry association … it’s not easy to go it alone. We would no longer have representation at conferences and government agency meetings. We would no longer have input on how proposed regulations affect our businesses. Each of us will be left standing without a ticket to the show or a seat at the table while others carelessly dictate our fate. I can’t even imagine what would become of our industry. We are far better off with a unified representation and working together on all levels in bettering our own industry.
Let’s circle back to look at American history.
The signal was posted through Boston’s North Church and Paul Revere carried the message of invasion to our forefathers – and they won their independence. Be on the lookout, ARA is our Paul Revere. The message to you right now is to get engaged to improve our industry and actively defend your ability to sell original equipment parts. Without sounding too trite, the message for today could simply be, “The OEMs are coming, the OEMs are coming.” Are you ready?