Theresa’s Top 5 Reasons To Attend Trade Shows:

Trade show season is upon us! My calendar is quite full right now, and some days, I ask myself, “Are you really able to leave the yard for a trade show for 3 or 4 days, when you also should be doing inventory?”

My answer is always, “YES!” (even though I really should be doing inventory!), because I truly feel that our industry needs our involvement! I volunteer for several auto recycling associations and boards, because I firmly believe that we ALL need to be involved in making our industry a better place. So here are my Top 5 reasons trade shows are worth the trip (in no particular order):

Every state and national trade show that I have ever been to has offered some type of training or classes for yard owners, managers, and employees. It could be training from your yard management system, forklift or hazmat certification, or how to inventory your parts correctly.

If you were not at ARA this past year and you sell airbags on eBay, you may not be aware that as of Feb. 28th, 2023, unless you are CAR-certified or in the process of it on the ARA site, you are no longer allowed to sell airbags on eBay. That is correct – according to my eBay contact, they are going to start removing airbags and SRS components, and if you list them anyway, you may be subject to suspension or removal from selling anything on eBay.

There will be all kinds of vendors at these shows. They give up nights and weekends at home to show you the items that they have to make your life easier. You will see so many different companies showing cool new software, or how to sell more cores. You may be able to take a look at equipment or fuel/fluid removal systems and so much more!

You can sit in class or at lunch with fellow recyclers and take back that one bit of information to your yard that could change how you do business. I remember one time saying something about GM RP Codes and this older gentleman asked where they were located—in those days it was usually the glovebox—and he was SHOCKED! He ran a beautiful facility and had been around for many years, but didn’t know where to find these codes unless he called the dealer. He said us talking about that saved him so much time every week.

How many of you have a lobbyist that you can send to Washington, DC or to your state capitol on your behalf? How many politicians would listen to a lobbyist for 1 person? But when we group together and get them talking about issues that affect ALL recyclers, it becomes more important. Especially when our lobbyists talk about the safety of the American public when we ask for build sheet data or recall data. There were over 250 catalytic converter bills brought up last year in the United States. Guess how many were monitored by ARA? I am betting that is was all of them! That’s what they do for us! I once heard Sandy Blalock, Executive Director of ARA say, “ARA is only here so that recyclers can continue to sell THEIR parts off of THEIR Cars! We are here to protect those rights.” All I can say to that is, “AMEN!”

As always, have a great month! Email me at, text or call me at 859-802-2382 if you have any comments, questions, or need help signing up for ARA or any other association in your area.

Theresa Colbert is a public speaker who goes to state association meetings, at no charge, to give classes on cores, brokering and much more. She offers on-site support to salvage yards in many areas and has been an on-the-ground representative for for five years. Prior, she worked at Nu-Parts Automotive Products for 10 years, was a manager at Winter Auto Japanese Engines in Glendale, Arizona, and at AAA Economy Auto Parts in Phoenix, Arizona. With 23 years of industry experience, Theresa has seen the auto recycling world from almost every point of view.