Associations: Who Needs ‘Em?

I’m writing this article to talk about all of the challenges we are facing as an industry, all the adversity that we will need to overcome, as well as the uncertainty about current events facing all of us with COVID-19. One thing is for certain, we are living in a different world now. These are anxious and fearful times, indeed. This is shaping up to be for our generation: the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression, World War II, and the Riots of the 60’s, all rolled up into one package. 2020 may very well end up being the year that never should have been.

What we do know is, as with any bad things that happen, in time all things pass. Throughout history, we have been able to prevail through whatever has happened, and this is no different. We will prevail, we will get through it.

So, let’s take a look at our National and State Associations. Do we need them? What do they do for us? Why should I participate? Why should I support them?

So, what are some of the challenges facing us now and in the future?

  1. OEM Position Statements on how vehicles should be repaired: This is an area that unfairly targets Auto Recyclers. After all, parts that we sell come off of the very same vehicles that the OEMs built. So, with this being said, why should these parts be unsafe for use on repairs?
  2. Information denial by the OEMs: Besides us not having access to the Build information that is available to all others in the automotive industry but excludes only us Auto Recyclers, now there are people saying that we will be breaking the law by unknowingly selling parts that are on recall. The recall information is something that we should have. We should not have to beg, borrow, steal, or have to pay for it. The OEMs should provide this to us. It should be part of our Yard Management System (YMS).
  3. What type of parts will we be able to sell? As vehicles evolve, and with more and more components being VIN specific, which parts will no longer have a resale value?
  4. Unfair competition from Unlicensed Buyers.
  5. Safety and Environmental Compliance Issues: Just look at what has happened recently in the proposed changes with the Stormwater Permits. Will we be facing more scrutiny from the regulators now, and what will the cost of doing business be as a result of this?
  6. Insurance issues: Higher costs, and limited markets.
  7. Our data and how do we regain control of it?
  8. Lastly, the negative perception that others have of our industry: How do we overcome this “junkyard” stigma? How do we communicate to the rest of the world who we really are and what we do?

So, now with all of this considered, do we need them? Most definitely. They represent the interests and concerns of our industry; they work hard on a legislative level monitoring legislation coming through, as well as having a voice in shaping the things that affect our industry. We can’t leave our fate to be decided by lawmakers that don’t know who we are or what we do. They are also a great resource for training and education.

These are tough times for everybody. What we need to remember is for our industry to survive, and hopefully thrive in the future, we need to stick together. We need to unite for the same cause.

Our Associations have gone through some difficult times of late, financially. All of the State Conventions have been canceled due to COVID-19 to date, and this has created budget problems for them. We all need to support our National and our State Associations. Remember that these are “not for profit,” and they cannot exist without our support. What the future holds

for us is unknown, but one thing is for certain: the past and the present are the best predictors of the future. Please bear in mind that you only get out of something what you put into it.

This industry needs the State Associations as well as ARA to keep it relevant and viable. The strength of any Association comes from its members and their level of participation. We all need to “kick in” and do our part. We need to invest the time, work, and money that is needed to ensure our future.

Support your State Associations! Support ARA!

Marty Hollingshead

ARA Secretary · Northlake Auto Recyclers — Hammond, IN

Hollingshead has been in the professional automotive recycling industry for 45 years, including 34 years as President/Owner of Northlake Auto Recyclers, one of the industry’s leading facilities. Hollingshead prides himself on taking a hands-on approach in the business, employing the use of checks and balances for quality control to ensure customers only receive the highest quality parts. Northlake was one of the first automotive recycling facilities in the state of Indiana to receive from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management the Indiana Clean Yard – Gold Level Certification in 2009. Northlake was certified as one of the Indiana Certified Automotive Recycler Exemplary Standards (INCARES) program’s inaugural medalists and was the highest scoring facility in Indiana in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and tied for first place in 2018. Northlake was also the recipient of the 2016 ARA Certified Automotive Recycler of the Year award, having been nominated by his peers in the industry.