How Will I Be Remembered?

Apr 1, 2024 | Toolbox

Promoting and helping grow our annual conventions is the key to a healthy industry.

By D.J. Harrington

Some of you have recently asked about my health. So yes, I was diagnosed on December 29th, 2023, with a serious disease called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS). Many have not heard of GuillainBarre before now but it’s not a contagious disease. It can’t spread from person to person. Less than 20,000 people are diagnosed with GBS every year. This rare disorder causes my legs not to work very well, and I continue doing physical therapy every day to stay strong. I will not let GBS get the best of me. Because of my recent diagnosis, I have thought about how I prefer to be remembered after I’m gone, and maybe you’re also wondering how you’ll be remembered too.

I hope people will remember me wearing my doctor’s outfit giving out prescriptions for success or maybe those monthly articles targeting why you, as a recycler, need to go to every big convention held in our industry.

My friend, Paul D’Adamo from RAS calls the two big conventions “bookends.” That’s a unique description for URG joining forces with Team PRP when they have their Annual Training Conference in April. And the other bookend? It’s ARA doing their 81st Annual Convention and Expo on October 23-26, 2024, in Reno, Nevada. URG with PRP and ARA really are bookends. They support each other. Thank you for that insightful thought, Paul.

Start your year off right with URG and Team PRP, and then make plans to be in Reno for ARA in late October for another great informational gathering. I do the podcast each week for URG and promote the URG Training Conference.

Starting the end of April, I will begin reminding listeners to mark their calendars for October 23rd – 26th to be in Reno, Nevada for ARA. While attending both conventions, I hope that everyone will remember it’s important to NOT eat dinner or meals with the same people they traveled with to get there.

Here’s another huge tip. Look for people that you don’t already know and sit with them. Pick their brains and listen to how they handle dismantling work and how they handle challenges at their place of business. When you have a drink in the evening, make it a point to walk over and mingle with other recyclers and listen to what new software they are using. Ask lots of questions. You’ll get some wonderful answers.

I spoke with Nick Daurio, the ARA President for this year. He and his family run a stellar place in Colorado. I told Nick that when the URG meeting is over, I will do my best to promote ARA, the Convention & Expo along with my true love – ARA University. I am one of the people that helped start ARA University. It is a tremendous resource for all members of ARA.

So, start now and offer a sales contest that awards the best counter salesperson a trip to Reno, or the most improved team member wins a trip to Reno. Maybe a trip to Reno should be awarded to someone who is never late to work or has not missed a day of work between today and October 1st.

It’s imperative that, as recyclers, we go to the two big shows during the year. However, at the same time, I believe you should continue to support your own state association. One last tip, make sure to also support the vendors that come to your shows because they support you.

Since I have been writing for this industry for 30-plus years, maybe I will be remembered for my medical jacket, a stethoscope or being “The Car-dialogist.” Or maybe, I will be remembered for my I-CAN prop and I-CAN attitude. Perhaps, I will be remembered for getting recyclers to come to URG, Team PRP and the ARA Convention & Expo.

Please, if you are a praying person, add my name to your prayer list. I sure could use some prayers for my health these days. You might be walking faster than me at both conventions this year because I’ll be slower than normal.

Now, ask yourself how you want to be remembered, and be that person.

See you on the podcast.

D.J. Harrington is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Phone Logic, Inc., an international training company based in Atlanta, GA. He serves as a consultant and trainer to over 1,000 privately-owned businesses throughout the country, training personnel at all levels of the company, from the dispatcher to the customer service and sales staff. Please visit his website for more information at

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