Cue music. If this article could have background music, it might be country or it might be jazz. But then again it could be pop or rock or latino. That’s because this year’s 67th Annual Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) Convention & Exhibition is located in one of the coolest music towns in the country, Austin, Texas, on October 20-23. Calling itself the “Live Music Capital of the World®,” Austin has more live music venues per capita than anywhere else in the nation. So whatever your liking, start humming and read on about the big plans ARA has as they descend upon big sky country in the great state of Texas.
“Whether you’ve never attended an ARA Convention or if you’ve never missed one, you’ll be sure to learn something new at this year’s event,” says Kim Glasscock, ARA’s meeting planner. “In response to member feedback, this year’s event features 40 percent more educational seminars than we have offered the past two years,” she says. “Members told us what they want, and we listened.”
ARA will provide attendees with the tools of the industry to prepare them to meet whatever the future may hold. With the recession, fluctuating energy, and scrap prices, Cash for Clunkers, VIN reporting, and all the other issues auto recyclers are tackling in the current marketplace, now is not the time to be complacent.
Glasscock, Chief Executive Officer Michael Wilson, ARA President Bill Tolpa, the Executive Committee, Events Advisory Committee Chair Steve Holland, and Holland’s committee have put together an outstanding program of educational sessions, networking opportunities, and social events.
As always, Wilson says, “Our goal is to present a forum for the latest and the best ideas that will help our members add to their bottom line.” To this end, the Convention includes education sessions that offer something for everyone from the industry veteran looking for a fresh marketing idea to the newbie who’s learning how to buy cars.
“We have seminars on every aspect of the business that you can think of,” Tolpa says. “What’s happening in the recycling industry; what’s new in marketing, hiring, and managing employees; technical training – we have it all this year.” With three education sessions scheduled in every time slot, he suggests bringing a business partner, spouse, or key employees to cover as many sessions as possible and make the most of your time in Austin.
Keynote speaker Chris LoCurto
Team Building. Have you ever wondered why one team member asks so many questions while another seems to ask none? Or why one person is so sensitive while another is too blunt? Understanding the personalities of your team members and how to communicate with them is the number one way to impact the success of your business. Personality profiling is the universal language of behavior. Join Chris LoCurto for the Keynote Session as he explains how to understand the unique characteristics of each individual on your team.
Plus, LoCurto will break down the 10 specific steps to making the best decision every time. Fear will get you killed – think of the indecisive squirrel in the road that becomes roadkill. A great man once said, “Indecision is the greatest thief of opportunity.” Listen as LoCurto explains the right way to “make the call.”
Boost Up Sales. Join Greenleaf’s Bill Stevens for a dynamic session on boosting your sales. In “Supercharge Your Sales,” Stevens will give you the inside scoop on how to create sustainable improvement using proven sales management techniques. You’ll learn how to get more from the inventory and people you already have using phone metrics, goal setting, motivation, and effective sales leadership.
Market Trends. The incomparable Jim Counts returns with tips for “The 21st Century Recycler.” Join Counts and learn how to be prepared for the ever-changing marketplace and new technology coming your way. Fewer buyers, salespeople, and more effort toward part preparation and delivery are the coming trends; Counts will teach you how to take advantage of them to increase profits and deliver better service to your customers.
Leadership. You won’t want to miss John Graci, speaker, author, and director of Leadership Training, Employers Association, Inc. He will speak on “Motivating Employees Using Common Sense.” Graci is one of the most in-demand business motivational experts in the country. His advice has helped leaders at all levels to fully understand the power they possess in motivating employees to work harder, faster, and smarter at companies ranging from Andersen Window to Best Buy to Mall of America. Now, you can benefit from his impressive expertise.
Graci’s message is loud and clear: Leaders have the power to help employees feel good when they come to work, but they also have the power to make employees feel miserable. He will help you evaluate the leader/employee relationships in your organization and coach you through the techniques to involve employees in change, accept different value systems, practice constant and open communication, and challenge others to grow and develop.
Diversification: Be sure to check out the session on self-service operations with John (JC) Cahill, Regional Director of APG Chandler, and maybe find a new direction for your business. Formerly National Sales Manager for Greenleaf Auto Recyclers, Cahill is an expert in full-service and self-service and plays a pivotal role in developing a new hybrid model of recycling for Schnitzer Steel Auto Parts Group. His presentation includes acquisition, dismantling, and processing for vehicles in a self-service environment.
Internet. New this year are several sessions on maximizing the Internet for your business, including the secrets to building brand awareness through social marketing sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The Latest on Software. Want more hands-on advice? The Saturday software user sessions are for you. Reps from Pinnacle, Hollander, Checkmate, and S3 Software Solutions will demonstrate the latest developments and provide on-site training. This is also a great time to ask questions about your system and any little problems you may be experiencing as a user.
Women in the Industry
All women involved in the recycling industry, from all ages and backgrounds, are invited to the Women in Recycling Networking Meeting, Thursday, 7:30-8:50 a.m. The goal of this informal group is to enhance the automotive recycling industry and the role of women within it through education, networking, and sharing of resources.
The group plans to develop a mentoring program to help women advance in the automotive recycling industry, offer education and leadership development opportunities to build skills for success, and provide networking opportunities for women.
Bring your ideas for programs to attract more women to the industry, suggestions for encouraging the exchange of ideas and perspectives on the challenges women face, and your opinions on how to advance women in the industry. No requirements are necessary except your enthusiasm and willingness to share ideas and experiences. This forum is a great way to jump-start your day!
Friday Night Lights
On Friday evening, enjoy some of that famous Texas hospitality when the Snyder family welcomes ARA members to Snyder’s Recycled Auto and Truck Parts in Holland, Texas, for the yard tour, heavy equipment display, barbecue, and ARA Scholarship Foundation fundraiser. Situated on 20 acres in Bell County about 45 minutes from Austin, Snyder’s is a state-of-the-art facility operated by two generations of the Snyder family.
Dedicated to ongoing investment in infrastructure, Snyder’s is considered one of the premier recycling facilities in Texas. You’ll want to take advantage of this opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes view of their operation and see what it means to truly be a professional auto recycler.
After you’ve had the yard tour and checked out the heavy equipment on display from our exhibitors, kick back and relax, Texas style, with a genuine Texas barbecue with all the trimmings. Then, saddle up to ride the Buckin’ Bull in the ARA Scholarship Foundation “Buckin’ for Brains” contest. This fun-filled fundraiser is guaranteed to be like no other. If bull riding isn’t your style, you can still support the ARA Scholarship Foundation with the reverse raffle. Buy a chance to win a 2010 Mustang Convertible or $25,000. Tickets are $100 each or six for $500, and the drawing will take place at the Friday night event. You need not be present to win.
Texas-sized Trade Show
They do things big in Texas, including the 2010 ARA Exposition. By early May, nearly three dozen exhibitors had already signed up even before the exhibitor prospectus was mailed!
Mike James, President of James Environmental Management in Round Rock, Texas, exhibiting for 15 years with ARA, explains why: “Being at the ARA Convention is an integral part of our business plan,” he says. “It’s an important event for us every year where we catch up with our existing customers and meet new ones. Over the years, they’ve become our friends, too.”
There’s no other event like the ARA Exposition, according to Steve Kriter, Vice President of Sales for Hollander, a Solera company, a long-time exhibitor and one of this year’s Diamond Sponsors. “The ARA trade show is the automotive recycling industry’s largest annual event. It is an excellent forum to showcase our product and services for our customers – automotive recyclers,” he says. “Besides providing great networking opportunities, the show helps us keep a pulse on the latest trends in the industry.”
For 2010, Kriter and Senior Product Manager Chris Andersen are looking forward to showcasing product innovations aimed at improving sales and profits for recyclers. Trade show attendees will have the opportunity to test drive Hollander e-Link, the company’s new advanced e-commerce solution, and a new graphical parts identification tool that uses the Audatex parts identification system.
Jerry Brock, President of Brock Supply Co., is looking forward to the Austin Exposition in a special way. A loyal ARA member since 1968, when he owned an auto salvage operation, Brock this year celebrates his company’s 50th year in business and the opening of their new Texas warehouse.
In honor of their golden anniversary and its long association with ARA, Brock Supply is a Diamond Sponsor for this year’s show.
“We’ve been exhibiting with ARA since before there was a trade show,” Brock recalls. “The first year, we mounted some photos on poster board and displayed it on an easel outside one of the meeting rooms. From then until now, it’s always beneficial to our business to participate, and we have never missed a show.” Look for Brock Supply’s fully restored vintage tow truck on display in the exhibit hall in honor of the occasion.
Lap of Luxury
Headquarters for the 67th Annual ARA Convention and Exposition is the beautiful and luxurious Renaissance Austin Hotel, a Marriott property. Situated in the Texas Hills Country about 18 miles from Austin Bergstrom International Airport and 20 minutes from downtown Austin, the Renaissance features Texas-sized guest rooms, 65,000 square feet of stateof-the-art meeting space, and upscale amenities including bars and restaurants, a pool, exercise room, and free Wi-Fi in the public areas.
You’ll find a unique shopping experience as well, on-site at Austin’s premier retail area, The Arboretum. Take time to enjoy the ambiance of this beautiful and relaxed park-like setting while you shop at more than 40 fine shops and restaurants. The Arboretum is ideal for strolling, shopping, and lunching surrounded by nature’s landscape and Austin’s landmark marble cow sculptures.
Spouse Tours Extraordinaire
All spouses are invited to enjoy a lovely day on Thursday, October 21, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Zilker Botanical Garden. Situated on the south bank of the Colorado River, the public gardens provide a delight for the senses with diverse topography that includes a Green Garden, the Cactus and Succulent Garden, Hartman Prehistoric Garden, Herb and Fragrance Garden, the Isamu Taniguchil Oriental Garden, Mabel Davis Rose Garden, the Doug Blachly Butterfly Trail and Garden, and an interesting Pioneer Village. After the garden tour, enjoy a breathtaking view of Lake Travis during lunch at The Oasis, one of Austin’s most delectable dining spots.
Follow this relaxing day with a super-shopping spree at the ARA-exclusive Chico’s Shopping Party, October 22, in The Arboretum. Experience the personalized service that Chico’s is known for as their style experts help you coordinate, accessorize, and build a trendy fall wardrobe that you’ll love. You’ll get 10 percent off in addition to the great fashion advice when you show your ARA name badge during the ARA Shopping Party hours of 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
All of this industry education, business networking, and Texas-sized fun is waiting for you! For more information and to register, visit www.araexpo.org.
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