ARA’s Annual Meeting Celebrates 80 Years of Protecting the Industry and Brings Auto Recyclers from Around the World Together to Recharge and Connect
By Caryn Smith & Maura Keller
Each year, the Automotive Recyclers Association hosts its Annual Convention & Expo, drawing industry professionals from across the globe. This year’s convention is going to be extra exciting as the Association is celebrating its 80th anniversary! Held to Kansas City – which was established in 1850 with plenty of its own history, the event will be October 12-14, 2023 and held at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center.
In fact, celebrating the city’s western roots and the Association’s anniversary will be a Friday evening boots-and-band shindig. Attendees will enjoy a reception in the hotel foyer with cocktails and networking, a buffet dinner and short awards ceremony, followed by a party complete with selfie stations, a dance band and trivia contest.
“We’ve made having a good time the priority at the annual conference dinner,” says Shan Lathem, ARA President. “After we present the big awards – the President’s Award, the Certified Auto Recycler (CAR) Facility of the Year Award and the Member of the Year Award – we will be kicking up our boots and having a great time. This year’s convention theme is ‘Red, White and Boots,’ so be sure to pack yours for the Friday night event. The live band will play a great variety of music and we are going to dance the night away. As I turn the gavel over to Nick Daurio, we are going to have a party to remember!”
“The change in the format of the annual awards dinner – from a formal sit-down event to a more casual buffet experience, as well as incorporating a lot of fun activities throughout the evening – is something that we’ve learned appeals to attendees. We’ve listened to input and made appropriate changes,” says Kim Glasscock, Event Planner at ARA. “The event is intended to be inviting, casual and a whole lot of fun.”
Having fun at the convention takes many forms. Touring peer facilities and casual networking is always a highlight for attendees. ARA members pride themselves on learning from one another. That’s why attendees can embark on two facility tours on Saturday. Beginning at 5 p.m., tour groups will leave the hotel and travel to nearby Vander Haags – also in the business for over 80 years – where visitors can take a tour of their facility, enjoy hors d’oeuvres, drinks and compete in corn hole and other fun activities. Following the Vander Haags’ facility tour, the group will head to Midway Auto Parts, where additional facility tours will be held, along with a buffet dinner and drinks.
“Vander Haags is thrilled to be a part of the ARA organization and we are excited to host the group at our 40-acre facility and yard here in KC,” says Jesse Wheeler, general manager. “In addition to heavy truck salvage, we have a full-service repair shop, new and used parts, and truck and trailer sales, all of which will be open and on display that evening. We are looking forward to seeing you all then!”
Ryan Falco, president at Aesop Auto Parts, which is powered by Midway Auto Parts, is also looking forward to “hosting everyone for some famous Kansas City BBQ, libations and good times.” Boasting a spacious 20-acre facility, Midway Auto Parts, which has maintained a presence on the same street since 1988, showcases an impressive inventory of over 2,000 vehicles. The location is further enhanced by its substantial warehouse capacity, with a combined area exceeding 150,000 square feet, and facilitates the production of 250 full-service vehicles each month.
Down to Business
ARA has put together an exciting lineup of convention speakers, and general session topics, as usual. A sneak peek on the topic brought by keynote speaker Ryan Mandell – Director of Claims Performance for Mitchell’s Auto Physical Damage Business Unit – is found on page 32.
Throughout the day on Friday and Saturday, numerous auto recycling industry experts will be sharing their insights on the hottest topics facing the industry today – from operating a hybrid salvage yard to successful self-service operating secrets to succession planning.
Attendees can also enjoy the annual ARA Exposition, one of the largest in the industry, which provides the unique opportunity to interact with industry vendors one to one and learn about innovative products and technologies to enhance your business.
“The valuable insights from your peers and the relationships you will establish at the 80th Annual ARA Convention and Expo will be forever yours,” says Sandy Blalock, ARA Executive Director. “There is no better time to find out about the latest updates in products and services available to members of our industry than attending the annual convention and expo. It’s such a great opportunity to get exposed to a better way of doing things by networking with your industry peers, where they are not shy about sharing their accomplishments, successes and, often, even what does not work well. Don’t miss being a part of this historical event!”
History Coming to Life
As part of the event, be sure to bring a few historical photos of your own to display on ARA’s Wall of History! Come help us celebrate ARA’s 80th anniversary and the long-standing history of the association and the ongoing impact of the automotive recycling history.
What Speakers have to Say about their Sessions
Andy Latham, Have We Been Doing it Wrong All This Time?
Vehicle dismantling and recycling has been a very green industry for a considerable number of years, however, more can be done to reduce emissions, become carbon neutral and contribute to the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Join with fellow vehicle dismantlers and recyclers as we investigate how much more could be done to help each and every business become greener and have the added benefit of cost savings, greater employee satisfaction, meeting customer and client expectations and being a leader in this industry.
Greg Daurio, Parts Grading and Inventory Best Practices
Building on the soon-to-be released NEW ARA University course on the same topic, this session will cover a variety of best practices when it comes to inventorying a car and grading your parts. Consistency across the industry is key to everyone's success! (Panel: Greg Daurio, Roger Schroder, Emily Yancey)
Tom Andrade, Operating a Hybrid Salvage Yard
This session will highlight the operation of a hybrid salvage facility. All aspects of the operation will be covered: acquisitions, vehicle processing & dismantling, material harvesting, self-service sales, full-service sales. In addition, the session will include scrap, precious metal, and core markets. Everett’s Auto Parts has operated as hybrid for the past 35 years, as a high-volume, retail-focused facility.
Theresa Colbert, Do’s & Don’ts of Brokering and Tiering
The do’s and don’ts of brokering. Everything you ever wanted to know about trading partners, tiering and duplicate accounts.
KEYNOTE: Ryan Mandell, Director, Claims Performance, Auto Physical Damage Solutions Mitchell
“Thriving in an Age of Disruption: Reimagining Your Business to Capitalize in the Growing Trends of Automotive Complexity & Electrification”
The automotive industry has experienced an unprecedented explosion of technology over the past decade. We’ve heard “experts” make bold predictions that have appeared to threaten the demand for used parts such as the ubiquity of autonomous vehicles, the disappearance of collisions, and the dominance of OEMs over the repair landscape.
The truth is that none of these claims have materialized and the outlook for the auto recycling industry is brighter than ever before. This session will challenge you to expand the horizons of your business strategy and lean into the changes taking place around us with a particular focus on the collision industry and backed by data from ‘my Mitchell International’ to identify trends and opportunities.
Ryan Mandell has spent his entire career in the automotive industry and has a wide array of experiences ranging from field claims appraiser, body shop manager, and as a regional director for a large, recycled parts supplier. In his current role, Ryan works a wide range of industry stakeholders including insurance executives and material damage leaders to provide actionable insights and consultative direction for their organizations.
He earned his Master of Arts degree from Northern Arizona University and Bachelor of Arts from the University of San Diego. He also received the Accredited Automotive Manager designation from the Automotive Management Institute in 2016. He has spoken at numerous industry events and is a frequent author of content related to auto insurance and collision repair. You can find a link to his industry podcast and written materials at mpower.mitchell.com.
Recycler KEYNOTE: Mark Brown, Browns Auto Salvage
Mark Brown is a first-generation auto recycler from Bomoseen, Vermont. He and his wife Joanie have been partners for over 40 years and have grown their company to a 60-person facility that processes 2,400 late model cars a year. They are currently transitioning company ownership to their general manager and son Matt. Mark is an active member of PRP NE as well as past president. He credits his success to the free exchange of ideas between independent auto recyclers and to hard work. He can talk passionately about auto recycling, family-owned business, and American life.
Convention Speakers (as of July 15, 2023)
Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center
2345 McGee Street
Kansas City, MO 64108
For the best rate, please secure your reservation through the ARA Hotel Reservations link on the official convention website. Go to a-r-a.org/convention and follow the links to the site.
You will receive a reservation link within your registration confirmation. Please note: The ARA room block will close on September 15, 2023. Please secure accommodations before this date to ensure the best rates possible.
For full agenda, go to a-r-a.org/convention. Follow links to the official convention site.
Thursday, October 12
Auto Recycling Training Institute Meeting
Affiliate Chapters Meeting
Annual Convention Educational Programming Committee
Industry Relations Committee
Government Affairs Committee
MATR Board/Member Meeting
ARA Annual Membership/Board Meeting
Ribbon Cutting & Past President’s Reception/Expo Opening
International Networking Reception (by invitation only)
Friday, October 13
New Member Welcome Meeting
Welcome, Friday Highlights and Awards
General Session: Recycler Keynote
Is the U.S. Facing a Shredded Scrap Shortage
New CAR Member Success Stories: How & Why
Building for the Future – People, Processes, Profit
Credit Card Best Practices Panel
High Level EV Battery Panel
How to Make SHIFT Work for Your Vehicles Needs
Self-Service Safety Panel
Opportunities and Resources for Today’s Independent Operator
Tech Talks: Car-Part.com
Networking & Awards Dinner
Saturday, October 14
General Session: Recycler Keynote
Exposition Open w/Brunch
Operation EV Panel
Do’s & Don’ts of Brokering and Tiering
Parts Grading & Inventory Best Practices
Second Life Battery Panel
Being Your Customer’s First Choice
Management by the Numbers
Operating a Hybrid Facility
Have We Been Doing it Wrong All This Time?
Selling Airbags on eBay Motors
Do You Understand the Game?
Towing & Vehicle Recovery Panel
Techniques to Increase Gross Sales
Estate Planning & Succession
Self-Service: Marketing & Advertising
CLOSER: Recap & Takeaways
Departure to Facility Tours: Vander Haags and Midway
Sponsors (as of July 15, 2023)
eBay, Premiere Partner
Hollander, Premiere Partner
GJ Sullivan, Diamond
366 Processing, Gold
Global Refining, Gold
PGM of Texas, Silver
Arrowhead General Insurance Agency, Inc., Associate
WEN Industries, Associate
United Catalyst Corp, Associate
Parts Trader LLC, Associate
Wolfpack Enterprises, Associate