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Reflecting on a Transformative Year: Past President of the ARA

As Shan Lathem completes her tenure as President of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), she reflects on the past year, highlighting the accomplishments achieved under her guidance, from the establishment of the Automotive Recycling Training Institute (ARTI) to fostering industry relationships and addressing environmental concerns, and shedding light on the challenges and triumphs that marked her term.


Reflecting on a Transformative Year: Past President of the ARA soc
Shan Lathem

I’ve had a couple of months to reflect on my year as President of the ARA.  I used to think a year was too short of a time frame, but it turns out a year was more than enough to sit in that seat. It’s a whirlwind, with many Zoom calls, traveling to conferences and planning. There is so much planning for the future of our industry as well as the association itself. So much time away from my own business, which I love working in and on, and I already have so many plans as my team moves forward into 2024 – it’s an exciting time! There is no end in sight to learning, growing and continuing to serve this great industry that has given so much to me.

I am proud to have been a part of some significant accomplishments in the last four years as part of the ARA Executive Committee, especially this past year as President. They include:

  • ARTI, or the Automotive Recycling Training Institute, which was established – ARA University released new and improved training. This includes new modules and Spanish-language modules.
  • Certified Automotive Recyclers (CAR) program: Endorsements from eBay, as well as the recently announced new ARA member benefit called SHiFT – a way for consumers to retire ICE vehicles where CAR participants receive priority in accessing additional vehicle inventory at best pricing. We continue working on other endorsements for the CAR certification program.
  • Communications: Identifying weaknesses in strategy, both inside and outside of the industry, ARA has initiated a marketing and digital audit to help understand how to facilitate and grow participation in ARA and utilize all that media and technology offers to cast a positive light on automotive recyclers.
  • Fiscal Responsibility: With a change in accounting personnel and procedures, we are ushering in a higher standard of accountability to ensure ARA maximizes its budget and invests wisely in initiatives and resources for members’ benefit.
  • Strengthening Industry: We have diligently sought to strengthen communications with State Chapters and mended some relationships to be stronger together.
  • Grow Repair, Reuse and Recycle Message: We continue to collaborate with the OEMs and others to find working solutions to benefit the growing need to meet the environmental demands of consumers and government.
  • Industry Relations: ARA hosted a successful 2023 Legislative Summit. ARA has formed a new committee focused on fostering better working relationships with the salvage pools.
  • Environmental Impact: We authorized a national carbon study with WPI – the Worchester Polytechnic Institute, a university familiar with automotive recycling. This will prove the carbon-neutral impact of auto recycling on the Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance story.
  • Networking: As part of our goal to offer smaller events for auto recyclers to enjoy time together, we have held the first two – one-day social events, allowing us to fellowship in between national meetings.

I have enjoyed attending many state conferences across the US and Canada and even had the opportunity to attend the CARS conference in the UK; so many firsts for me! I have met so many wonderful people, successful automotive recyclers and industry experts that I now call friends. You have taught me so much, and I will be forever grateful for that.

ARA has been advocating for recyclers for 80 years, and I am very proud to be written into the history of this great organization.

To find out more about the ARA, visit