The first major in-person auto recycling event of 2022 kicked off in Toronto at the 29th Annual Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association (OARA) Convention & Trade Show March 31 to April 2, 2022.
The event saw 320 delegates pre-register and a healthy number of walk-ins to round out a successful weekend. The 39 Exhibitors in the Trade Show and 18 educational sessions over the two days had something for everyone.
“I think our number of delegates was down very slightly from previous years, but at the same time we had more companies attend,” said Greg Woodbeck, President of OARA. “I think that is an indicator of staffing levels out there, with many companies down in staff, so they couldn’t send as many delegates as in previous years. Coming off of the Pandemic restrictions though – we are thrilled with the attendance. And I believe that there was significantly more engagement from those attending too – every event seemed to be very well attended.”
The headliners for the show were Mike Kunkell, Rob Rainwater and Lee Worman from Profit Team Consulting. They provided the bulk of the educational content with topics such as “Buy or Die: A comprehensive look is taken at the ramifications of not buying, the proper way to determine the buying budget”, “The 7 Line Profit & Loss Statement: A simple way to look at the monthly P & L to spot trouble areas”, “Sales Management Basics: Keys to monitor, measure & grow sales.” They also provided a 3-hour hands-on Sales School at the end of the Convention. Profit Team Consulting had a surprise guest speaker all the way from Australia Chris Daglis from Auto Partnered Solutions, who augmented their “E-Commerce: The Past, Present & Future” with many of the examples and great work coming out of the UK, VRA and eBay.
The Friday night social ended up raising $25,000 for the OARA Employee Scholarship Fund, with a charity casino, silent and live auctions, and 50-50 draws. eBay Motors, a first-time exhibitor and Platinum Sponsor at the event, donated nine auction items that generated significant interest. We still aren’t sure how a signed Paul Henderson Team Canada 1972 Summit Series Hockey Jersey left Canada, but it was purchased by ARA President Marty Hollingshead, so it will go to a loving home.
The official event – the trade show, training, seminars and social events, were all great and very well attended. But the real success of the event? The opportunity for auto recyclers and interested parties from insurers to repairers, buyers and suppliers to get together share information and the love of the auto recycling industry.
Mary Poirier from Valley Automotive and the longtime Treasurer of OARA summed it up well “We need this now, and it’s fantastic to see everyone together again.”