By Marty Hollingshead
2021 was definitely another year to remember, with COVID and all of its challenges, not to mention dealing with a lot that we have never seen or experienced before. I want to start off with talking about our convention in Dallas in November. Beforehand, I was wondering if we were going to be able to have the convention with everything going on, but we did. I also want to add that with all things considered, it was a great success. I think the best thing was being able to get out and about and meet and connect with others. The turnout was much better than I had expected, but I did miss seeing our international members and friends.
The support from our vendors, both last year and this year, was fantastic. This just goes to show us all who the friends to our industry really are. We should all support these vendors as much as possible because they have been there for us.
This convention was also a success because of the ARA staff, the committees, and all of their hard work.
So, What Should We Expect Now?
What are the challenges that our industry will be facing this year, and what can we do to meet and beat these challenges?
1. Electric vehicles: For the auto recycler, this is a new frontier. There will be many things we will need to learn such as how to safely handle and process these vehicles.
2. Environmental: If you look at a lot of stories in the news lately, there has been a lot of attention given to fires at shredders and scrap processors. Why is this? As in anything that happens, good or bad, there is a cause and effect. The effect is obvious, but what is the cause, and where is it coming from? How will this affect our industry directly? Will we now fall under more scrutiny from the EPA, as well as OSHA and other regulators?
3. Hiring new talent: One thing is for sure, anyone you talk to in any industry, they all will tell you the same thing: They cannot find good help.
So, what can we do to prepare ourselves for what will probably be coming?
Certification and Training
One thing is certain, if you want to remain relevant and viable in this industry, you will need to commit to training and certification. ARA has a great certification and training program that all auto recyclers need to participate in.
From handling electric vehicles, depollution, as well as environmental and safety compliance, we have it all covered. This is a great program and is just another direct benefit of being an ARA member.
For this association to remain relevant and viable, we need participation first and foremost. Yes, we need members, but more importantly, we need engaged membership. While business is good and everybody is happy, it seems that at times there is a lack of participation. But, when there is a crisis, everybody wants to become involved. We need to be proactive. We need membership growth and participation now. While things are going well, as a group, we can take advantage of this and be proactive to help shape these issues that will affect us, instead of putting our fate in the hands of others.
In the words of RD Hopper, “You are either at the table or on the plate.”
The ARA Executive Committee and the ARA Staff are at your side, working hard to address and protect the interests and concerns of you, the auto recycler.
I think this is a great industry with a lot of great recyclers, from big corporations to the smaller “mom and pop” yards. We pay a living wage and offer long-term employment with benefits, and at a time when these types of jobs are disappearing. I also think we have a great story to tell. I know we are the hardest working and most misunderstood member of the automotive industry.
We need to eliminate the “junkyard” image and be recognized for what we really are.
We are professional automotive recyclers.
Get trained, get certified!
Participate and get involved!
Marty Hollingshead has been in the auto recycling business since 1973 and is the owner of Northlake Auto Recyclers, Inc., Hammond, Indiana, since 1984. Marty is on the ARA Executive Committee, currently serving as President. He is a board member of the Indiana Automotive Recyclers Association. Both Marty and Northlake have received numerous awards and recognition for excellence in the industry and the community. Reach Marty at 219-937-3960 or visit www.narparts.com.