Why Are You The Only One Here?

Last year at the ARA convention, I was speaking to a class and found out that these words:

“Why are you the only one here?”

made a big impression on one of my yard owner friends. I am telling you this story with his permission.

Last month, out of the blue, I get a call from Steve Kosiski from Kosiski Auto Parts. He said, “Do you remember what you said to me at the ARA convention last year?” Well, Steve, we all know I say a LOT of stuff! Haha! He said, “When you called me out in class when you were talking about training? You asked how many Kosiski employees were at ARA with me. And my answer was one. Just me. Then you said, ‘why are you the only one here? Doesn’t anyone else at your yard need training?’”

Then I laughed because I DO remember feeling like I kind of threw him under the bus in front of everyone, and I did try to apologize for it. But Steve, gracious as ever, said, “No, it was a GOOD thing! It really got me thinking!” Steve then proceeds to tell me that he was thinking about it for quite some time. He thinks that we all get busy with life, kids, grandkids, sports, and so many other activities, that we forget that there is training for owners, managers, and employees in every department. He went on to talk about how they used to bring so many employees and that the networking was a BIG part of it for them. But, sometimes they forget that meeting others in our industry and picking up a few little tips and tricks can really help the yard in the long run.

Then, it REALLY got him thinking as he was the President of the Automotive Recycling Industry of Nebraska, and they were getting ready to have the annual meeting in March. Now, Steve could have gotten on with his busy life, but instead he got on the phone! He started calling Nebraska recyclers who he had not spoken to in YEARS! And you know what? Some of them came to the show! One guy had not been to a show in 11 years or something crazy like that. You know what else? SEVERAL Kosiski employees were at the show!

When Steve and I were talking about ARA, he said it’s also tough when you have to keep the yard running AND get employees to the training. I said, “Steve, I know your yard is 50 times bigger than my yard and we only have 5 employees, but we are closing on Friday and Saturday so that they can come to the training classes.” He said “Well, you have to be careful, that could hurt you.” Oh, heck yes, it’s going to hurt us in the pocketbook and in extra work the next week! I said, “I know it will hurt, but how else are they going to get the networking and training? Especially at a small yard!” The funny thing is that the new president of the Nebraska association, Jason Kliment (owner at Jim DeFreece Auto), came to a training once and brought every employee with him. At the time I was shocked, as I had never known anyone to do so. I said, “How can you close the shop for a day and a half and have no one there?” He said, “Well, I figured, how else are we going to get better at our jobs? I told all of our regular customers and delivery drivers, I put a recording on the phone and a sign on the door: WE ARE CLOSED FOR EMPLOYEE TRAINING TO BETTER SERVE YOU.”  You know what? He is exactly right!

One last thing: when I was at the GMARE Show in Nebraska, I asked Steve, “Well, how many are you brining to ARA this year?” He looked at me and laughed and said, “Several, Theresa!! Several!”

As always, have a great month! Email me at TheresaC@Car-Part.com, 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 Car-Part.com 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.