NASCAR racing is all about team efforts, coordinated and skilled drivers, pit crews, families, and, of course, the fans.
Automotive recyclers are much the same; both have passion for what they do, use strategy to succeed, actively plan, constantly hone their skills and train, work hard to please those they serve, and have a profound love of family as well as a tradition of family involvement in their businesses. So, as NASCAR racer Darrell Waltrip says, “boogity, boogity, boogity, let’s go racing…!” ARA has dropped the green flag and the race is on.
Now is the time to get in the groove and sign up for ARA’s most anticipated event, the 68th Annual ARA Convention & Exposition to be held in North Carolina’s most exciting city, Charlotte, home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and hundreds of other cool attractions. Whether you have been in the business for a long time or are a rookie, this is the place to be October 11-15, 2011.
“How many times do you get to one of your most favorite things in life and write it off as a business expense?” ARA Chief Executive Officer Michael Wilson said. “ARA’s extensive planning is your golden opportunity to learn, network, and enjoy some of the best NASCAR racing the sport has to offer – this year the convention will coincide with NASCAR race week in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“But more important to the industry, this year’s event is a significant time to unite together to work to preserve the industry as we know it,” Wilson continues. “Many outside forces are working to seize market opportunities from auto recyclers. They see the profit potential and want the market for themselves. The Annual Convention & Exposition is the prime opportunity that ARA has to share what can be done to move the automotive recycling industry forward, as each business has a part in protecting their industry. We encourage all to bring a fellow auto recycler to attend the convention.”
“This year’s convention should be one of the best of all times!” said Sales Manager Curt Spry of Al-jon, a Diamond Co-Sponsor, sponsoring with Tom Klauer from Pick-N-Pull Auto Dismantling, Inc., – of the Friday evening at the Nationwide Series Race. “We are happy to partner this year with Pick-N-Pull and sponsor at the Diamond level. Pick-N-Pull has been a long-standing customer of Al-jon. Any time we have the opportunity to partner with them we do so. It is important to both Al-jon and Pick-N-Pull to support ARA and all it does for the automotive recycling industry.”
“Schnitzer and its Pick-N-Pull Division are proud to be a Diamond Sponsor because the ARA Convention is one of the premier gatherings of our industry’s leaders,” said Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc.’s President and Chief Executive Officer Tamara Lundgren, who is the 2011 Convention Keynote Speaker. “The event offers remarkable opportunities for everyone interested in automobile recycling. We are pleased to participate.”
ARA’s primary focus for crafting convention activities year after year is providing opportunities to discover new vendors via the trade show, networking, and, of course, education. “There will be innovative products, a chance to learn new technology and strategies, a trade show that features top name brands and large equipment displays, yard tours, association and Educational Foundation fundraisers, and the industry awards ceremony sponsored by Brock Supply,” ARA Meeting Planner Kim Glasscock notes.
At least 100 exhibitors are anticipated to attend this year’s tradeshow. It’s guaranteed to be big with plenty of new exhibitors. Included in the amazing opportunity to get the attention of convention attendees at the trade show is the opportunity for exhibitors to sponsor one of the events or activities, where special recognition is achieved.“
The expo has consistently proven to be an invaluable opportunity to collaborate with industry experts and network with partners and customers,” said Managing Director Rich Lauria of Hollander, Inc., sponsor of the Wednesday night NASCAR Hall of Fame reception. “Hollander is pleased, for the third year in a row, to be a Diamond Sponsor of the ARA Convention & Exposition. We value our strong partnership with the ARA in advocating for the success of independent recyclers nationwide. As always, it is a privilege to work with the ARA to sponsor this important event.”
“It is our honor to be a Diamond Sponsor for ARA,” said President/CEO Jerry Brock of Brock Supply, sponsor of the ARA Awards Dinner, Gavel Passing, and the evening’s Educational Foundation Fundraiser.
“We want to show the same support and appreciation for the association and its members as they have shown to us over the years,” said Brock. “We have been in business for over 50 years and a member of ARA since 1968; before ARA had a tradeshow. Once they started having them, we have exhibited at every one and have always benefitted greatly. We will continue with our support of ARA well into the future.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be a worthwhile event without the social and networking factor. The convention is jammed packed full of chances to enjoy the surroundings with friends. ARA has mixed in plenty of those for this awesome event, such as the guided NASCAR Garage Tours, an insider’s look at a number of NASCAR facilities, Golf Tournament at Old Sycamore Golf Plantation (left), Past Presidents’ Reception and Educational Foundation Fundraiser at the NASCAR Hall of Fame (below right; see box, page 30), two Spouse Tours – a Historical City Tour, Luncheon, and Tour of the Duke Mansion (below, center) and a shopping excursion at Gibson Mill Depot, an antique and designer mall. (See page 35
for detailed descriptions.)
The week culminates with the annual ARA Awards Dinner and the final turbo blast of fun – the NASCAR Nationwide Series Race event on Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It is at events like these that business relationships are developed.
“We attend the National ARA convention and participate as a Diamond Sponsor as it presents us with the perfect opportunities to socialize and network with many prospective customers as well as other vendors in the automotive recycling industry,” said Diamond Sponsor and convention speaker Senior Vice President Bill Velin, Wells Fargo Insurance Services, (right). “As the endorsed agent for the ARA Business Insurance Program, this is an opportunity that is too good to pass up.”
Kim Glasscock agrees, “Most important at the convention is the opportunity to network and socialize with industry colleagues and associates from around the world. It is so important for auto recyclers to attend the convention.”
High Performance Education
Getting rev’d up on valuable information is what attendees receive as a take-away from the ARA convention experience. This year is no different.“This year, we have more top-notch educational sessions than ever before,” Glasscock said.
A sampling of those sessions includes Safety in the Workplace with John Gilstrap, 10 Imperatives for Strategic Employee Learning with Sue Rueter, Maxmizing Sales with Rob Rainwater, Self Service Yard Layout with Dimitri Gerontis, the Impact of Healthcare Reform on Small Businesses with Wade Johnson of Wells Fargo Insurance Services, and Effective Steps to be a Good Insurance Buyer presented by Bill Velin.
Also for the fourth year, the Ladies of the Automotive Recyclers Association (LARA) will meet to ratify their proposed mission statement: To enhance the role of women within the automotive recycling industry and bring education, networking and sharing. ARAU Managing Director Ginny Whelan said, “Among other things, we will also try to formalize how we’ll network. My recommendation to the group is that we have pages within the ARA Website exclusive to the Ladies of Automotive Recycling that will enable the development of mentoring programs, recruitment, and a career center, as well as share news, articles, events, and resources. I will be presenting a web page template to the group to discuss recommendations. If time allows, we will look at aspects of leadership development and funding, as well.”
Throughout the event, attendees will be afforded opportunities to learn how to maximize their ARA membership. “There are many programs that ARA has in place that every automotive recycler should take advantage of,” Wilson said, “from our BizUnite program to our partnership with Wells Fargo Insurance Services to the new Green Recycled Parts™ marketing program. The Charlotte convention offers every automotive recycler an opportunity to learn about these programs and services, and more importantly, to sign up to take advantage of them.”
“Also, as the largest automotive recycling exposition in the world,” Wilson adds, “participants will get a chance to connect with all the vendors that provide valuable services to the industry. Attending is worth every dollar spent. Your colleagues will be there. Your competitors will be there. This is the year to make sure you are, too.”
Thrills and Chill-Outs
With Charlotte as our host city, of course we are talking about a NASCAR backdrop for the most exciting events of the convention. You will enjoy a private evening reception at the new NASCAR Hall of Fame. Another ARA special event will be Friday evening’s NASCAR Dollar General 300 Nationwide Series Race at the Charlotte Speedway, with access to discounted tickets only available to ARA convention attendees. This fun night includes club level seating and a special ARA hospitality tent. Then, optional to attendees on Saturday evening, you have access to discounted tickets to the Bank of America 500 Sprint Cup race. Both Speedway events include roundtrip charter bus services from downtown to the venue.
But that’s not all to look forward to! Your luxurious convention accommodations at The Weston Charlotte, just minutes from the Charlotte Convention Center where the ARA Exposition will be held, is perfect for plenty of chilling out and recharging. The first thing you will notice about The Weston Charlotte is its stunning architectural features, but as soon as you enter the lobby you’ll be drawn in by its tranquil lighting, pleasing and artful seasonal botanical arrangements, calming music, and transformative white tea scent. The Weston offers its guests a calming experience that tends to all of your senses. Amenities include The Weston Heavenly Bed™ and The Weston Heavenly Bath™, massage therapists available by appointment in massage therapy rooms, a workout room, an indoor heated lap pool, saunas, nourishing superfoods in the Ember Grille restaurant, and two concierges on duty to help you plan special activities and dining.
The Final Lap
Sometimes NASCAR is referred to as a game of inches; a driver can win a race by being an inch ahead of the driver behind him. Although being out in front by an inch may work for a driver, that’s not good enough to win for the automotive recycler. There is no checkered flag because there is a continual stream of change in the industry – new products; information; technologies; policies and procedures; rules, guidelines, laws; and equipment. Then, add in all the new ideas that you learn from fellow automotive recyclers, vendors, and those who work with the industry in government affairs, insurance, Internet, and business solutions. The final stretch can seem elusive.
Consider the Automotive Recyclers Association’s 68th Annual Convention & Exposition your much needed pit-stop – a time to get perspective and strategize your next move back onto the business track. Positioning your business with all the opportunities ARA offers is the fastest path to victory lane and the winner’s circle.
Two NASCAR drivers say it best: Dale Earnhardt, Sr., former legendary NASCAR driver, said, “The winner ain’t the one with the fastest car; it’s the one who refuses to lose.” Jeff Gordon, NASCAR driver says, “Teamwork is everything. It takes all of us working together. We win and lose together.”
So, Crank It Up!’ and let’s hear those engines roar as you race ahead in the automotive recycling industry and sign up for, and attend, the 68th Annual ARA Convention & Exposition, October 11-15, 2011, Charlotte, North Carolina. Get in the Driver’s seat to take your business to the Winner’s Circle!
To register for the convention or for more convention information visit www.araexpo.org.
D.L. Foor is a freelance writer and editor in Cape Coral, FL.
The Queen City Editor’s Pick of the “101 Things to do in Charlotte” – www.charlottesgotalot.com – beyond ARA convention offerings!
Charlotte, a high energy city, invites you to dine, tour, play, and just plain have fun! “Charlotte has the charm and hospitality of a Southern city,” a Communications Coordinator Rachel Walker, Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, said, “while offering world-class entertainment, nightlife, dining, attractions, and kid-friendly activities. There are over 200 entertainment and dining venues within walking distance of the Charlotte Convention Center. There’s also shopping at SouthPark Mall, The Depot at Gibson Mill, and Concord Mills Outlet Mall; the Charlotte Motor Speedway; plenty of art and science museums; restaurants; and more a short drive from the Center City area. From budget to high-end, there’s something for everyone looking to have a good time.”
Billy Graham Library – Memorabilia; Carolina Raptor Center – Birds.
Carolinas Aviation Museum – Aircraft exhibits.
Carowinds – Home of the Intimidator, the Southeast’s tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster.
Charlotte Center City Carriage Tours – Horse-drawn, city street tours.
Charlotte Trolley Powerhouse Museum – Trolley tours.
Childress Vineyards – Explore auto racing legend Richard Childress’s vineyard or the Barrel Cave with cascading waterfall and wine casks.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden – 110 acres of gardens, fountains, orchids, etc.
Latta Plantation, Nature Preserve and/or Equestrian Center – Living history farm and trail rides.
Light Factory, The – nonprofit arts center exhibiting photography and film.
Queen’s Landing – Sunsets or cruise Lake Norman.
Richard Petty Driving Experience – Ride shotgun with a professional driver or train and get
behind the wheel yourself.
Reed Gold Mine – Pan for gold; Swan Creek Wine Trail – Wineries’ tours; or, The Green – Park, kid friendly.
U.S. National Whitewater Center – Unique outdoor adventure attractions.
Victory Lane Indoor Karting Center – Indoor road course with go-carts.
Whisky River – nightlife creation by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. with over 20 venues and mechanical bull.
Not enough to plan from? Charlotte has an iPhone App that identifies your location and maps nearby restaurants, attractions, and more. It’s available for free in the Apple App Store!
Win a Harley! Really, How Cool is That?!
Harley or Cash – Pick one!
ARA’s Educational Foundation Raffle Fundraiser is the coolest yet! Enter the raffle to buy chances to win a 2011 Harley Davidson Sportster or $5,000!
Tickets are $50 each or 5 for $200. Drawing will take place at noon during Saturday’s Exposition. Winner need not be present to win. Second Prize is a $500 Brock Supply Gift Certificate. Raffle tickets are available by calling ARA headquarters or members of the Educational Foundation.
ARA Simulator Racing Fundraiser
Gentlemen (and Ladies), start your engines! During the Wednesday night event at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, you may participate in the ARA Simulator Racing and dash to the checkered flag while raising funds to support the ARA Educational Foundation. Sign up to participate during racing heats. Be one of the top finishers (as outlined below) and advance to the next round of racing action. The action will progress as follows:
10 Pre-Qualifying Heats of 14 cars each – top 3 finishers of each race progress to the next Qualifying Round (buy-in $150)
Those not qualifying have the option to buy back in for another heat in the Outlaw Division (buy backs – $100; only 36 will be allowed). 3 Races of 12 each. Top 2 from each race proceed to the Final Qualifying Race.
Pre-qualifiers will participate in Final Qualifying Races – 3 races of 12 cars each – top 3 finishers from each race will proceed to Championship Race.
Championship race will consist of top 9 Qualifiers.
The top 3 finishers will receive Trophies and bragging rights.
Valve Cover Car Show
Build your car from a valve cover of your choice, meeting certain specifications. Enter the BEST OF SHOW competition where the cars will be on display throughout the exhibit hall ($200 Entry Fee).
Attendees, exhibitors, friends, and associates may buy tickets to vote on their favorite “car.” The entry with the highest number of votes will receive 50% of the money raised during voting and the other 50% will benefit the ARA Educational Foundation.
The winner will be announced just prior to Exhibit Hall close on Saturday, October 15.
Contact ARA at (888) 385-1005 for an entry form and specifications.
JOIN THE FUN TODAY and CONTRIBUTE TO THE CONTINUED EDUCATION OF YOUR INDUSTRY!
Highlights of Activities Galore!
Wednesday October 12
7:00 a.m. – GOLF
Olde Sycamore Golf Plantation, www.oldesycamoregolf.com, plays host to this year’s tournament. This course opened in May of 1997 and has been recognized as the “Best New Course” and “Best Eastside Course” in the Queen City. Award winning architect Tom Jackson used the natural lay of the land to create this 6,900 yard championship layout that winds through the natural setting of mature oak trees, scenic lakes, and tree lined fairways. The course features four sets of strategically placed tees to ensure every player a challenging but enjoyable round of golf time and time again! (Rental clubs will be available for $30/set)
Dress Code – Men: Shirts with collars and sleeves, No denim, and shorts must be Bermuda length. Women: Skirts, slacks, golf shorts, mid-length shorts, blouses, and sleeveless tops with a minimum of 3” of material covering the shoulder are considered appropriate. Softspikes are required.
7:45 a.m. – NASCAR Garage Tours
Join the tour that puts you inside the hub of some of the most notable teams in NASCAR racing. The tour will be led by Trisha Fuller, owner of Race Shop Tours. She has the ability to open doors and allow her clients to get “up close and personal” with the racing community. Her love for the sport and personal relationships with many racing team members make her a perfect host for the day. You’ll visit the facilities of Hendrick Motorsports, Penske Racing, Gibbs Racing, and enjoy an insider’s tour of Stewart-Haas Racing.
6:30 p.m. – NASCAR Hall of Fame
If you’re looking for some pedal-to-the-metal fun, look no further than the NASCAR Hall of Fame, www.nascarhall.com. The Hall is fueled with more than 50 interactive experiences like tire-changing stations, realistic race simulators, a broadcast booth, and even a Kids Zone where children can be wide open. We guarantee to get your adrenaline racing. And after you work up an appetite, grab a bite to eat at the Pit Stop Café or a souvenir to help remember it all at the NASCAR Hall of Fame Gear Shop.
You’ll find it all at the Hall.
Thursday, October 13
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Historical City Tour with Lunch & Tour of The Duke Mansion
Come experience some of what makes Charlotte one of the fastest growing travel destinations in the country! Affectionately known as the Queen City, Charlotte is home to many of our nation's top financial institutions. See Charlotte’s vibrant Center City, including the Levine Center for the Arts, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and the charming restored Fourth Ward. Learn about the influence of gold and cotton on this region and enjoy a drive through some of the first trolley neighborhoods.
There is a long tradition of unforgettable hospitality at The Duke Mansion, www.dukemansion.com. The setting is a page from history, a gracious estate made famous by its former owner James Buchanan Duke. From the moment you enter the Grand Hall, walk across the original marble floors, and see the beautiful gardens through the French doors, you know that you have entered a special place. Enjoy the ambiance as you enjoy lunch in the Dining Room, followed by a guided tour of the mansion.
Cost per person is $45 (includes all transportation, tour guide, lunch and tour at The Duke Mansion.
Friday, October 14
Enjoy an afternoon at the The Depot at Gibson Mill, www.depotgibsonmill.com, an antique and designer mall that was once a mill, located in Concord, North Carolina. With 85,000 square feet and 460 booths, they have quickly become the largest antique and designer mall in the South.
Once a part of the old Cannon Mills, you will experience the charm of the 20 foot ceilings, wide wooden floors, and exposed brick remains. From antiques and reproductions to imports, collectibles, and new furniture, there’s quite an eclectic collection of quality merchandise under one roof.
Since their official grand opening on March 1, 2010, the Depot has become a popular destination for consumers shopping for antiques and dealers looking to showcase their products. We encourage you to come see for yourself and also explore the website for more details. Cost per person is free but reservations are required for transportation.
Trade Show Exhibitors
Here are some of the companies you can meet in the ARA Exposition hall.
Click here to view the current list of exhibitors: http://araexpo.org/exhibit.php
Take a look at this terrific lineup for 68th Annual ARA Convention & Exposition Program Schedule and make the commitment to register today and be there! (Tentative – Subject to Change.)
Click here to view the current schedule of events: http://araexpo.org/events.php
Click to download the full July/August issue in PDF format