Next Man Up

Nov 1, 2021 | Industry

By Marty Hollingshead • ARA President

This Association is what it is today because of the dedication, commitment, and hard work of the great leaders before me. I definitely have some big shoes to fill.

As many know, I recently assumed the role of President of ARA. While this is an honor, and I am truly humbled, it got me to thinking about our Association and the industry, with its past, present, and future. One thing I keep in mind is to “always remember your roots, never forget where you came from.” The same can be said about this Association.

Over 75 years ago, this Association was born out of adversity. In the past, it has been a constant battle to overcome adversity, as well as adapting and dealing with the changes that affect us. This Association is what it is today because of the dedication, commitment, and hard work of the great leaders before me. I definitely have some big shoes to fill. It makes me wonder if I am the right guy for the job at this point in time.

I hope I can do a good job. I will try my best to do what is right for the Association and this industry. I am a blue collar, hands-on guy, and I always try to lead by example. However, this is not about one person, or one thing. ARA is a team, with the Executive Committee, which includes Scott Robertson, Shan Lathem, Nick Daurio, and our newest member Eric Wilbert, as well as our Executive Director Sandy Blalock, and the ARA staff. I am proud and honored to be working with these folks. I don’t think I could be surrounded by a better group.

Our job as the Executive Committee has been made easier because of the hard work that is done by Sandy, Jessica, Emile, Kelly, Maria, and Vince. These folks do a huge amount of the “behind the scenes” work that most are not aware of. As I say all of the time, there is no substitute for hard work, and these folks are proof of that.

Looking at the present, we have many challenges before us: Electric vehicles, evolution in technology, regulatory issues, as well as safety and environmental, pushback from the OEMs from using recycled original equipment parts, and changing the negative perception, junkyard image that our industry suffers. But with challenges come opportunities. Here are some of my hopes and my vision for our industry.

We need to secure our future because we are forced to do the most with the least resources. We are one of the hardest working and most misunderstood industries in the world. We need to improve our image. We have a great story to tell. To the OEMs: We are not an adversary. We are a relevant partner.

Changes are upon us. We will need to stay current with how to dismantle, harvest, and sell parts off of newer vehicles. This can be accomplished through training and education. This Association has committed to providing members with all of the latest and greatest methods.

So, how do we get better as an industry? Simply put, there is strength in numbers. We need membership, and more importantly, we need to unite as an industry and we need all members to participate and be involved so that we can all speak with one loud and unified voice. History has shown us that individually we can accomplish very little, but as a group we can do great things!

Throughout the history of this industry, there have been times where others before us were worried that there would not be a need or a place for our industry in the future. Today is no different. The world is definitely changing and our industry will change also. What the future holds for our industry is up to us. Our fate is in

our hands. As I say to others, “If you want to be successful, what are you prepared to do?”

This Association is not a “good old boys” club.

We are here to represent and protect the interests and concerns for the automotive recycler. We are here for ALL Auto Recyclers, from the mom and pops to the largest operators, full and self-service. It doesn’t matter how big you are or how big you aren’t. We are all equals in this Association. I hope that when my term is done,

I will be remembered for doing a good job. With the help and support of the Executive Committee, as well as the ARA staff, I know this will be the case. To paraphrase Mercury 7 astronaut Alan Shepherd: Dear Lord, please don’t let me screw up.

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