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An Insight into the Journey of Kristi Werner, CEO of United Recyclers Group

Auto Recycling World had the opportunity to find out more about the current CEO of United Recyclers Group (URG), Kristi Werner, who unveils her distinctive journey, offering insights into the individual beyond the CEO title and her dedication to instigating positive transformations within the auto recycling community.


An Insight into the Journey of Kristi Werner, CEO of United Recyclers Group p
Kristi Werner

From Small-Town Roots to Family Foundations

I grew up in Avon, a small town in north-central Minnesota, with five brothers and two sisters. After high school, I attended St. Cloud State University and earned my Bachelors of Science. Following graduation, I moved to Denver, Colorado (CO), where I met my husband, Jeff. We married in 2008 and now have three wonderful kids: Weston, 10; Logan, 8; and Pearl, 5. We moved to Rapid City, South Dakota, a few years ago, where we plan to raise our family.  We enjoy camping, hiking, skiing, and just spending time together as a family.

Entering the Recycling Arena

My journey into the recycling community began when, after relocating to CO, I was lucky to come across a job posting at Actual Systems of America, Pinnacle.  This role allowed me to travel the US and Canada as a software trainer.  Interestingly, my parents owned a mechanic shop, and I witnessed my dad work with a local recycling yard to find affordable parts for a stranded family.  Little did I know that my future would be in the auto recycling industry.  I joined Pinnacle in 2005, progressed to project manager, and ended my tenure on the sales team.  While on the road, I earned my Masters from Colorado Technical University.  In 2011, I assumed the role of Director of Business Development at URG, eventually becoming CEO in August 2023.

Leadership at URG

Becoming URG’s CEO has been an honor, and I am grateful to our past and current board of directors for their confidence in me. The team at URG have been so supportive in my new role and I couldn’t ask for a better team to lead.  I plan to listen to our members and provide them with the technology they need to run their business and sell more parts.  Our member’s ideas are what drives URG to build what it does.

We are ONE – The 2024 Conference

I’m thrilled about the changes for the 2024 conference in St. Louis, MO, in April. This year’s theme, “We are ONE,” aligns perfectly with our annual conference now that URG and PRP will host side by side again.  When we come together as ONE for the betterment of the industry, it benefits everyone. This is a trend I hope to continue as we move forward!

Breaking Barriers: Inspiring Women in the Recycling Industry

Being a successful woman in a predominantly male industry is inspiring, demonstrating that hard work pays off. As more women join, the industry’s landscape evolves. The collective success of women not only inspires but also paves the way for others to enter. There were few of us when I started, but it has drastically changed. It’s fantastic to see women in various roles, from owners to executives and managers. The support we offer each other is incredible. I’m pleased that ARA started LARA, providing a better way to meet and network. The events are always enjoyable, and I invite any lady in the industry to attend the LARA event at ARA each year.”