The ARA (Peer to Peer) Mentoring Program

There have been a lot of changes recently with ARA, our National Association. ARA and its leadership are focused on how to better serve its members, and the biggest need as I see it is in training and education. ARA is reinventing itself, and more importantly, each and every Recycler in this industry must participate, contribute, and support this organization at this crucial time for us. ARA and our State Associations represent us. While they do their best to protect our interests as an industry, for them to be more effective, they need each and every Recycler’s support, participation, and commitment to address and help overcome problems facing our industry both now and in the future.

There is a need for mentoring in the industry to make all Recyclers better operators.

For its 75th Annual Convention & Exposition in November ARA is putting together a panel composed of some of the industry’s leading Recyclers to advise and coach all Recyclers, big and small, full and self-service, and be available to help any Recyclers that may be struggling or may simply be looking for answers and tips on how to be better operators. I think successful operators have an obligation to help others in our industry to improve their own businesses, with the ultimate goal of making the industry more consistent. This program will focus on the 3 P’s, (People, Product, and Process.)

  1. People – How to attract, hire, train, and retain good employees. The importance of building a good team. Employees are a company’s greatest asset.
  2. Product – Purchasing the right vehicles to supply the customers in your market. Using data from your YMS to help you make informed business decisions to fill those needs.
  3. Process – How to properly inventory, dismantle, store, proper preparation, quality control, as well as proper handling, packaging, shipping and transportation of parts.
  4. Customer Service – How to better serve and fill the needs of your customers. The importance of providing a great customer experience. Customer retention, and the benefits of how good reviews can drive new customers to you.

The mentoring program will focus on the big picture (getting back to the basics), with an emphasis on proper fundamentals. Do things right the first time. Don’t take the easy way out. While there are some quick fixes, over time big accomplishments can be made when done properly in small steps.

Change can be difficult and overwhelming at times. The best approach is to first realize the need for change, then to accept and embrace it.

This industry is undergoing a constant state of change. In any industry, those that can learn, adapt, and apply change, will not only survive, but prosper and become better operators.

Like the old Chinese saying goes, “May you live in interesting times.” It’s not all doom and gloom, folks. Challenges can be opportunity in disguise, it’s all about how you look at it.

We all have a stake in our industry’s future. ARA is our voice and our advocate. Let’s get behind them and make our voice heard!

Let’s use these great resources we have to make our industry great again!

Marty Hollingshead has been in the business since 1973 and the owner of Northlake Auto Recyclers, Inc., Hammond, Indiana, since 1984. Both Marty and Northlake have received numerous awards and recognition for excellence in the industry and in the community. You can reach Marty by phone: 219-937-3960, or email at