Women of the Industry

Feb 1, 2024 | Toolbox

Among the automotive recycling industry are dedicated professional women who make significant contributions to the success of the business. Here are their stories.

By Coleen Krause

Kristi Werner, President/CEO, URG

Cirba Solutions

Kristi grew up in Avon, MN, a small town in north central Minnesota, with five brothers and two sisters. After high school she attended St. Cloud State University and earned her Bachelor of Science. In the small town, her parents owned a mechanic shop, and she witnessed how her dad would help to search for affordable parts for other families. Little did Kristi know then that her future would be in the auto recycling industry.

Following graduation, she moved to Denver, CO, where she met her husband, Jeff. After relocating to CO and looking for work, she saw a job posting for a Software Trainer at Actual Systems of America, Pinnacle. She found the job attractive because the role offered the chance to travel the U.S. and Canada and she joined Pinnacle in 2005. She was promoted to project manager, and then worked her way onto the sales team. While on the road, she earned her master’s from Colorado Technical University. 

In 2011, she joined URG as the Director of Business Development and as of August 2023, Kristi is now serving as its President/CEO. “Becoming URG’s CEO has been an honor, and I am grateful to our board of directors for their confidence in me. My primary goal is to enhance the programs and benefits for all URG members. Witnessing the challenges in the industry, I am passionate about helping recyclers reach their full potential,” said Werner.

“I’m thrilled about the changes for the 2024 conference in St. Louis, MO, in April. This year’s theme, ‘We are ONE,’ aligns perfectly with our annual conference, now that URG and PRP will be hosting side by side once again.  When we come together as ONE, for the better of the industry, it benefits everyone. This is a trend I hope to continue as we move forward!” 

“Being a successful woman in a predominantly male industry is inspiring, demonstrating that hard work pays off. As more women join, the industry’s landscape evolves. The collective success of women not only inspires but also paves the way for others to enter. When I started, there were few of us, but it has drastically changed. It’s fantastic to see women in various roles, from owners to executives and managers. The support we offer each other is incredible. I’m pleased that ARA started LARA, providing a better way for us to meet and network. The events are always enjoyable, and I invite any lady in the industry to attend the LARA event at ARA each year.”

Kristi lives in Rapid City, SD with her husband, Jeff and her three wonderful children: Weston, 10; Logan, 7; and Pearl, 5.

Find Kristi and URG at u-r-g.com or email krist@u-r-g.com.

Georgia Carver, Global Account Director, AutoPARTnered Solutions

“I love being a part of the automotive recycling industry. As a woman who is a “newbie” on the scene (despite 10 years working with auto recyclers in Australia, I’m relatively new to the U.S. market), I was unsure what to expect when I started working in the U.S. But meeting strong women like Kristi, Kirsten and Amanda from URG, Shan from Cocoa Auto Salvage and so many other strong, successful women who are innovating and leading the industry – I have witnessed firsthand, that there is no glass ceiling and no limits for women to succeed in the automotive recycling. I feel excited to be part of an innovative and forward-thinking industry where people succeed based on merit and experience.”

LARA – Ladies of the Automotive Recyclers Association seeks to promote automotive recycling as a career choice to women and open pathways to enter and thrive in a fulling career within this business community. LARA also provides networking and educational events, usually held at the annual convention of the ARA.

If you interested in participation, contact staff@a-r-a.org to find out more on LARA. You can also email Coleen Krause at ColeenKrause@comcast.net to be featured here in a future column of “Women of the Industry.”

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