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Upcoming ARA Convention & Expo – Together We Succeed

As automotive recyclers come together to reconnect, retool and recharge at the 78th Annual ARA Convention & Expo, they’ll evaluate the impact of industry changes and work together for success.


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Automotive recyclers are good at many things auto related, but one thing the industry excels at has nothing to do with vehicles. It has to do with industry collaboration.

Few industries can say that competitors come together and share processes and best practices, even secrets to success, to benefit others, on an annual basis. The “Together We Succeed” credo comes from a rich history (78+ years) of uniting to discuss and debate the future, where recyclers have gathered with the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) to challenge the status quo.

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This year, auto recyclers are appreciating the opportunity to gather more than ever. In the history of ARA, only 9/11 completely cancelled an ARA convention. That year, there was no virtual option, yet life and business continued despite the national tragedy – and auto recyclers could still assemble for state shows, etc. On this 20th anniversary year of 9/11 (this September), it is apropos that after a year-long mandated global shutdown that prevented ANY assembling of ANYONE, that we all come back together for the 78th Annual ARA Convention & Expo, November 11-14, in Dallas, Texas.

Last year with all industry events cancelled, ARA made a historic decision to facilitate “ARA EDGE 2020,” the first-ever virtual convention and expo for the industry. The stellar training and exposition experience offered a much-needed lifeline to many recyclers and industry vendor businesses. (Find EDGE 2020 sessions on, under Industry Training.)

Yet, as beneficial as it was to hold the event online, everyone knows that nothing replaces an in-person gathering for this giant industry family.

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Scott Robertson

Scott Robertson, ARA President said:

“ARA is very excited to get the community back together in Dallas,” He added: “So much is happening simultaneously to impact the way we do business, it is vital we get back together to discuss what is coming. I am looking forward to co-facilitating another Recycler’s Roundtable to put these issues on the table and discuss strategies that will help us all thrive amid rapid change.”

Tackling Change Head-On

The time is now to embrace improved processes and new business models. It is best to be “in the room” to discuss and learn from the industry’s brightest minds.

Keynote speaker Tony Graham, Solera’s Executive Vice President of Sales, Customer Success and Growth COE, will bring insight into industry changes from the bird’s-eye perspective. His session, the Evolving Automotive Industry, will detail the impact of technology on the vehicle life cycle.

Closing the convention is leadership trainer keynote speaker Heather Christie. Christie shares her passion for leadership through her company, Evolve Global, where she has attained Global Award-Winning Master Coach and Trainer, as well as Certified Executive and Leadership Coach, among other notable achievements. “Have you ever left ARA’s Convention with so many ideas that you went from excited to overwhelmed?” asks Christie. “The key to realizing your ROI is to sift through all of those good ideas before you leave convention to find the one that will have the greatest impact on your business. Creating a simple action plan for your team is the best way to realize your ROI from the investment that you made to attend.” You don’t want to miss this session!

Andy Latham tackles advanced training in two different sessions: first, the impact of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and then, High Voltage Vehicles. Andy is one of the educated experts on these topics, for one thing, as the author of the recently revised ARA Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Technology Guide (available as a free download from

“High Voltage Vehicles are very high risk,” says Latham. “I look forward to a discussion on how to stay safe when collecting, inventorying, storing and dismantling these vehicles and how to safely ship the high voltage parts to customers or final recycling.”

Shannon Nordstrom, chair of the ARA Certification Committee is joined by Sue Schauls in the “Environmental Ethos” session which explores the practices of an environmentally conscious recycler. They de-mystify the process of compliance, ease of the new online certification process, and how most auto recyclers are already doing all the things needed to certify their facility.

In The Future of Mobility: Recycling Converters, Batteries, Sensors, ECUs & More, an esteemed panel from Umicore, Spiers New Technologies, Cox Automotive, and UCC explore this revolutionary vehicle technology. What does autonomous driving, connectivity, electrification of vehicles, and shared mobility will mean for automotive recycling? These companies are actively working on solutions that auto recyclers can learn from and leverage.

Speaker Ryan Mandell has worked in an automotive recycling environment prior to joining Mitchell International and therefore understands how change impacts the recycler’s workflow. At Mitchell, he explores the data and brings real understanding, and profit center ideas, to auto recyclers. His session, The Coming World of Estimate Automation and Making Sure Your Business Is Prepared, is guaranteed to help you navigate macro trends taking place in the auto insurance industry, namely AI, and how recyclers can put this data to use and best position their businesses to capitalize on the wave of automation that is on the horizon.

Other sessions explore mentoring, yard valuation, batteries, best business practices, self-service best practices, and more (see tentative agenda). On the Exposition floor, you can meet with near 100 quality businesses that are ready to share their innovations with attendees at one of the largest industry expos around!

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Sandy Blalock

“This year, we really want auto recyclers to see farther into the future than the day-to-day or even the year ahead,” says Sandy Blalock, ARA Executive Director. “Our industry needs to embrace what is coming and change accordingly. There are really no excuses for not knowing what is ahead when opportunities like ARA’s annual convention exist to share this information. ARA is there every step of the way to help auto recyclers who want to advance their business. We hope recyclers take advantage them.”

It Is Not All Work

If you have been to an ARA convention, you know working together includes FUN. From the Past President’s reception at the opening night of the Exposition to the final event – the Facility Tour, with the Annual ARA Awards Dinner in between, there is plenty of time for networking, conversations, and meeting new people. There is so much for everyone, so bring your team too!

For more information and to register, go to

About the author

Caryn Smith is the editor of Automotive Recycling™ magazine and Recycler’s ToolBox® magazine, both of which are published by the Automotive Recyclers Association. Caryn has been covering the automotive recycling industry for over 20 years.