Together We Succeed

Succeeding in automotive recycling involves understanding the status of many industry aspects, many of which were discussed in sessions and hallways at the 78th Annual Convention & Expo in November 2021, held in Dallas, Texas. Facility efficiency, understanding the future of artificial intelligence in insurance estimating, electric vehicle safety, end-of-life utilization of the electric battery, certification and standards, workforce shortages, technology and cyber-security were just some of the buzzwords mentioned over the course of several days of peer networking.

A stellar list of speakers and keynotes brought the high-level view of these topics and more, that create both opportunities and concerns. The most important benefit of attending the annual convention is the opportunity to receive this information first-hand.

One thing is for sure:  There are many unknowns currently working themselves out in real time in the industry. As they unfold, an auto recycler’s best strategy is to stay ahead of the curve with business best practices, training, certification, information, and collaboration until the dust settles on some of these issues.

The leadership of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) emphasized their commitment to continue providing ongoing avenues for auto recyclers to gain the knowledge they need. Their current efforts include joining with stakeholders in various aspects of the supply chain and process management to ensure ARA members, and the entire industry, are considered in all high-level decisions impacting recyclers.

A significant aspect of every convention is the passing of the Executive Committee leadership torch. This year, Marty Hollingshead (Northlake Auto Recyclers in Hammond, IN) takes the helm as President. Hollingshead has been instrumental in developing the ARA Mentoring Program and is a strong supporter of certification and ARA University, topics you will likely hear more about in the coming year.

Also changing roles are First Vice President Shan Lathem (Cocoa Auto Salvage, Cocoa, FL); Second Vice President/Treasurer Nick Daurio (Daurio Auto Truck, Pueblo, CO); and new EC member Secretary Eric Wilbert (Wilbert’s U-Pull It, Williamson, NY). After a historic two-year term as President, Scott Robertson Jr. (Robertson’s Auto Salvage, Inc., Wareham, MA) becomes Immediate Past President.

Winner’s Circle
The ARA Annual Star Awards were bestowed on very worthy recipients who are strong leaders across the industry.

  • ARA Member of the Year – Shannon Nordstrom, Nordstrom’s Automotive, Inc., Garretson, SD
  • ARA Affiliate Chapter of the Year – Pennsylvania Automotive Recycling Trade Society (PARTS)
  • ARA Certification Member of the Year – Chuck’s Auto Salvage, Inc., Douglassville, PA
  • President’s Award – Sandy Blalock
  • Lifetime Achievement Members – Posthumous – James Watson, Jr. – ABC Auto Parts & Sales, Inc., Riverdale, IL and Charles Arcangelo – Mitchells Auto Parts dba Chuck & Eddies Used Auto Parts, Plantsville, CT
  • ARA Educational Foundation Apple Award – Automotive Recyclers of Massachusetts, Inc.

ARA in the News
At the ARA annual membership meeting, the news was positive and progressive. The highlights include:

  • ARA announced a new educational arm of the association, the Automotive Recyclers Training Institute (ARTI). This will be pivotal in the future creation and disbursement of critical educational data needed in handling new technologies in vehicle dismantling.
  • The ARA Scholarship Foundation raised almost $20,000 at its annual fundraiser, and is pleased to announce three newly named scholarships: Don & Rachel Egelseer Honorial Scholarship; Ron, Keith & Brian Sturgeon Honorial Scholarship; and Gary Bevell Honorial Scholarship.
  • ARA created a new soon-to-be registered trademark for use in the industry ¬– Reuse, then Recycle™ to call attention to reusing auto parts. If you would like this logo for use, contact
  • ARA is leading the way with involvement in electric vehicle battery discussions across the automotive industry, including being active in NAATBAT, an organization dedicated to advocating for advanced battery technology in North America.
  • ARA launched “MyARA,” which is a social media platform specifically for ARA members, and where ARA committees can conduct meetings in a Zoom-like setting. They invite members to check it out by going to and entering your membership login for the ARA website.
  • The AutoRecyclers ToolBox® announced that it is now selling regional advertising to automotive recyclers who want to connect with their peers in business. Contact for more information.

Expo for All
This year, the Exposition was buzzing with excitement as vendors and recyclers reconnected on matters of business and friendship. Over 70 exhibitors gathered to share their business intelligence on their products and services. As usual, it delivered on expectations.

The COVID pandemic changed the way recyclers interact. With the cancellation of 2020’s ARA Convention, the association pivoted to a virtual event, and therefore started a trend that is being more widely embraced — online meetings. Nothing replaces the “Together” part of “Together We Succeed.” It brought the best of our industry back out under one roof this year. Yet, continued collaboration is required to ensure change tracks in favor of the automotive recycling industry, not working against it.

Therefore, you can expect to see more online meetings than before, as ARA now hosts their own recycler-driven social media — “MyARA” – for members to participate in a Zoom-like meeting format. Facebook Live, YouTube and other social media are gaining traction with progressive auto recyclers.

ARA urges the industry to take advantage of all the education and information sharing you can — it could be what gets you to the level of business you are working to achieve. Next year, ARA will be back in Orlando, Florida from Sept. 22-24 for “Agents of Change,” as the 79th Annual ARA Convention & Expo focuses on being proactive as change comes upon the industry.

Caryn Smith is the editor of Automotive Recycling™ magazine and Recycler’s ToolBox® magazine, both published by the Automotive Recyclers Association. Caryn has been covering the automotive recycling industry for over 20 years.