Magical Discoveries
Participating in an ARA Convention is like arming yourself with magic!
In today’s economy and ever changing society, we can all use some magic in preparing for what’s ahead. That’s why it’s more important than ever to join your associates from across the United States and around the world, at our industry’s premier event, loaded with opportunities to learn about new products and services, experience outstanding educational sessions and network with colleagues.

“I have been attending ARA conventions for the last 25 years,” said Linda Pitman of Dulaney Auto and Truck Parts in Amarillo, Texas. “I grew up in the industry so I also went to a few conventions in the late 60’s and early 70’s. I enjoyed last year’s Charlotte venue because of the NASCAR points of interest, the seminars, and as always the opportunity to network with people from the industry. Charlotte’s seminars were informative and the trade show was great because it gave us the ability to see products and talk one on one with vendors all in one place.”

Pitman’s description sums up the goals for every convention and exposition in recent years: interesting destination city, activities authentic to the venue, worthwhile seminars, the largest exposition of auto recycling vendors, and more.

Most importantly, ARA conventions provide attendees a place to meet with other recyclers where you might discover that the things that occur on a daily basis in your business happen to everyone. Opportunities to problem-solve those situations and discuss improving business in general arise in the hallways, the hotel lobby, the tradeshow hall, the social gatherings, and other places.

You have to be there to experience the magic that happens with all this business building activity. Words cannot describe the potent concoction created through networking and information gathering.

Magical Moments

“I have to say that I have never been to an ARA convention that I didn’t come home with a renewed spirit, an appreciation of the value of networking, and an eagerness to implement in my business the things that I learned which will improve my business.”

Keith and Molly Johnson, owners of A-1 Johnson Auto in Billings, Montana, started attending ARA conventions when Keith took over from his father as president of the company. His parents, Curtis and Karen Johnson, had been attending ARA conventions since the 80’s. Keith faithfully continues to attend every year while his wife, Molly and their parts manager, Spencer DeBuff, take turns each year.

“I like the seminars because I’m working in the business daily,” said Molly Johnson. “I usually don’t attend that many of the spouse tours for that reason. At the Charlotte convention last year, I especially enjoyed the seminar on NMVTIS and found it really helpful to hear from the actual Justice Department agent working with it.

“The trade show is also very good and worth going to. Each year vendors have come up with something new for us to look at and consider for our yard. We’ve also gotten to know people from all over, even as far away as England. It’s fun to visit with them and hear how things are in their part of the world. It is definitely well worth the money to attend. We always have a great time and learn something new.”

Jack Sumner, Al’s Auto Salvage and Sales in St. Louis, Missouri, started attending ARA conventions because of the trade show ten years ago and was not disappointed. He has returned every year since.

“I go to the ARA convention every year and I really enjoy the trade show the most,” said Jack Sumner. “It seems that all the companies that provide services to our industry are all together in one place and I’ve been able to find things that are useful for our business. There seems to be more vendors every year and you really get to put your finger on the pulse of the industry as a whole. I would recommend going if you’ve never been for many reasons – we use information from the seminars and the fellowship with other recyclers is great! I’m not a NASCAR fan but the race last year was great and fun to experience.”

Kenny and Burgundi Carr of Van Gorp Auto Recyclers in Oskaloosa, Iowa, attended their first ARA convention last year in Charlotte.

“Last year was our first convention and we learned a lot and had a lot of fun,” said Burgundi Carr. “We’re a small business and we found the seminars very educational. I was able to take information from the sessions and apply it to our business, especially information from the safety seminars. The convention really gave us a better overall view of the industry. The trade show was also great and we got to meet everyone. We plan to return this year!”

Quality Control

These auto recyclers and many others know the value and fun of attending ARA’s yearly conventions. The Automotive Recyclers Association’s 69th Annual Convention and Exposition promises to be no less of a success. The beautiful Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida, serves as the host hotel, on October 24-27, 2012.

“We are working hard every year to enhance the quality of this event,” said ARA CEO Michael Wilson. “We have assembled top-notch speakers, focusing on boosting your daily bottom line, as well as providing you with the tools needed to achieve long-term success. This year’s sessions are targeted and focused on the topics that automotive recyclers have requested. Some of these topics will be exclusive to ARA’s convention and you will not hear them anywhere else.”

ARA President Randy Reitman agrees that the annual convention provides a unique opportunity for recyclers to network and gain valuable industry information that will directly affect their business.

“ARA conventions are important because they give recyclers a chance to meet people and put a face to a name or voice and to learn about what’s new in the industry,” said Reitman. “You are always going to take something back with you. I would urge recyclers to come, owners and staff alike, because it’s important to stay up-to-date with the industry. The information you gather while at the convention, whether during the seminars, networking with other recyclers, or at the trade show, will help keep you on track.”

Serious Business and Even More Serious Fun

The Automotive Recyclers Association’s 69th Annual Convention and Exposition will tee off on Tuesday, October 23, with the annual Golf Tournament to be held this year at the Celebration Golf Club in Orlando. Co-designed by Robert Trent Jones and his son, Robert Trent Jones, Jr., it has received a national reputation as the #1 golf event venue in Central Florida. Built on scenic natural wetlands, the course provides players with a genuine golf experience. (Rental clubs will be available).

Free time on Tuesday evening offers you the chance to explore the many restaurants, venues and theme parks that Orlando has to offer.

Wednesday presents a full day of ARA Committee meetings where the real business of the Association takes place as volunteer ARA members continue to work toward the betterment of our industry. If you are not on a committee, attendees are invited to sit in on any of the meetings and discover all the “behind the scenes” activity of ARA – and you might even decide to join one!

On Wednesday evening, Neil Harrow and his team at GreenStar Auto Recyclers (pictured left) host a Yard Tour & BBQ. Recyclers will be treated to GreenStar’s brand new state-of-the-art Orlando facility and find out how they are making the most of their limited amount of space. Harrow says they are pleased to host the tour for fellow recyclers and there will be plenty of good food, heavy equipment demonstrations and networking opportunities.

“We’re excited to have fellow auto recyclers visit our new three acre facility because after spending 35 years in auto recycling, I firmly believe this yard represents the future of auto recycling in the United States,” said Harrow. “The yard is small, environmentally sound and very efficient. It’s been open for just under a year and I feel that we’ve accomplished quite a bit and would like to share that achievement with other recyclers.”

After a night of exploring GreenStar and its impressive facilities, Thursday starts off with ARA’s Annual Membership and Board of Directors meeting. Attendees will get the opportunity to hear what ARA has been doing on behalf of auto recyclers and hear from committees on pertinent issues that affect their business.

Following the board meeting, ARA provides a magical lineup of educational sessions sure to be worth your while – and even more sessions are offered this year than last, some exclusive to ARA. Over forty educational sessions include such topics as:  “Workplace Safety,” “Recycled Parts Exporting,” “The Future of the Interchange,” “Selling Recycled Parts on eBay,” “Secrets of Engagement Marketing,” “Used Tires as a Cash Crop,” and more. See page 28, or visit for a complete updated list schedule.

Thursday evening brings a favorite event of convention attendees, the Past Presidents Reception and Exposition Opening. The party kicks off three days of opportunity to meet with your current vendors and discover new products and services from soon to be new vendor friends.

BASF is one of ARA’s new exhibitors. Allen Dale Fisher, BASF Corp. Global Tolling Manager says, “BASF sees the ARA as part of our strategy regarding automotive catalytic converter recycling. We are looking to give the automotive parts suppliers and dismantlers a direct option for refining with BASF, which also produces the catalysts that go into the converters. This allows us to close the recycling loop and help ensure a more sustainable future. Automotive catalytic converters are one of the largest users of platinum group metals (PGMs), accounting for more than half of the world’s annual PGM mining output. When an automobile is scrapped, the precious metal contained in the catalytic converter can be recycled, creating a secondary supply source for the production of new catalysts.”

Hollander has been faithfully attending ARA’s exposition for many years and will once again be a sponsor of the Annual Convention, marking their fourth year as a Diamond sponsor. Mary Moberg, Marketing Manager, says they are thrilled to support the industry.

“The annual meeting is a very important event for Hollander because it allows us to network with the leaders in the recycling industry, as well as introduce clients and prospects to our innovative new products,” said Moberg. “The expo has consistently proven to be an invaluable opportunity to collaborate with industry experts. It also gives us the privilege to support the Association as well as work with the ARA.”

Dimitri Gerontis, S3 Software Solutions, the makers of CRUSH Self-Service Auto Recycling System, agrees that the ARA annual convention and exposition has helped their business immensely.

“I love the ARA Convention because it raises awareness towards the trend for U-Pull-It yards and that helps us directly,” said Gerontis. “We have been coming for three years and are always making great connections and sales at the convention.”

Friday offers more information, discovery, and networking with sessions, exposition time, a keynote session, and finally the ARA Awards Dinner and Gavel Passing that rounds out the day’s activities.
The Ladies of the Automotive Recyclers Association (LARA) luncheon, also on Friday, is open to all women – recyclers, spouses, and vendors – to gather for more discussion on how to dynamically impact the industry from a woman’s perspective.

“LARA is important because we bring out the other side of the team by putting an emphasis on the ladies who go to work every day as recyclers,” said Fran Reitman, a LARA leader.

“This year, we are launching a spin-off to LARA – a family-owned business networking group,” Reitman continues. “Many recyclers are family-owned businesses and this group embraces that by involving everyone – sons, daughters, cousins, anyone involved in the business that is in the family. We will share ideas and have educational seminars targeting family networking and succession of the family business.”

In addition to the educational seminars and the LARA Luncheon on Friday, the Exposition Hall re
mains in full swing Friday afternoon, so recyclers can continue their visits with vendors. The ARA Annual Awards Dinner and Gavel Passing caps off the evening and features the recognition of industry pioneers, contributors, and achievers – as well as FUNdraising during the Educational Foundation’s  Magical Mystery Tour, and live auction.

Although the last day of the convention and exposition, Saturday promises more great educational
sessions, such as, “Computers: Adapting Business for Results,” and “Competing for Customer Loyalty.” It will be recycler attendees’ final opportunity to meet with exhibitors, learn of their products and services, as well as to build new business relationships.

Grand Finale

Saturday evening, attendees are offered the opportunity to participate in a private event at  the NASCAR Sports Grille located at Universal CityWalk at an additional cost of $65 adults and $40 children (11 & under), above convention registration fees. Traveling in style aboard deluxe motor coaches, partakers of this fun activity will be dropped off at Celebrity Circle at Universal’s CityWalk. Delectable dining in ARA’s private area, Victory Hall, is on tap for the evening, and step outside to Victory Veranda to see the excitement of one of Orlando’s top tourist areas – CityWalk.

Attendees will also receive 2-hours of unlimited play in the Speedzone Gameroom and final hours to chat with their friends. Following ARA’s private event, each attendee will receive a wristband granting complimentary access to CityWalk clubs. (Visit for a listing of all activities.) For those wishing to return to Gaylord Palms, there will be transportation back to the hotel with the last bus departing at 9:00 p.m. Those who decide to explore the excitement of CityWalk a little longer will be responsible for their own transportation back to the Gaylord Palms.

Magic in Your Hands

As you can see, this event promises a lot of activity for all. Attending will surely inspire you to go to the next level, whatever you determine that will be.

For more information on ARA’s 69th Annual Convention and Exposition, check out often for updates. There you can find additional information on educational sessions, spouse tours, off-site activities, sponsors, exhibitors and more. We’ll see you in Orlando! 

Michelle Keadle-Taylor is a freelance writer based in Northern Virginia.

Ones to Watch

Keynote Speaker – Tom Morris, PhD
Friday, 10/26/12 @ 11:00am – 12:15pm

One of the most active public philosophers in the world due to his unusual ability to bring the greatest wisdom of the past into the challenges of the present, Tom Morris’ latest book, True Success:
A New Philosophy of Excellence, launched him into a new adventure as an advisor to the corporate world. 

Dr. Morris’ work has been featured, noticed, commented on, or covered by diverse news outlets, many magazines, newspapers, and websites across the globe. Honored as an “Distinguished Young Alumnus Award” of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Dr. Morris holds a Ph.D. in both Philosophy and Religious Studies from Yale University, as well as other, honorary doctorates in recognition of his public work.

SpeakerProfile – Donald Cooper, MBA, CSP, HoF

Donald Cooper doesn’t just talk about it; he has been both a world‐class manufacturer and an award‐winning retailer.

Cooper Canada became the world’s leading maker of hockey equipment and a Canadian brand icon, employing over 2800 people. Then, as a visionary fashion retailer, Cooper created an entirely new business model and redefined the customer experience, for which he received seven Awards of Excellence for marketing and business innovation.

An inductee into the Canadian Speaking Hall of Fame, he has been awarded the Certified Speaking Professional designation, the highest international designation in professional speaking.

Orlando Attractions

There is so much to do in Orlando that you are sure to find something for every member of your family. Orlando has it all – Walt Disney World, Sea World and Universal, where the newest feature, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ delivers exciting rides (seen at right), shops, and dining, and plenty of magic! Then, there are museums, golf courses, restaurants and more. You will be spoiled with all the choices.

One of the hottest attractions is Discovery Cove, a water park of tropical proportions (see for details). Promising no crowds or turnstiles, Discovery Cove is a place where you and your family can touch and swim with dolphins, wade with mysterious rays, snorkel among thousands of exotic fish, hand-feed tropical birds in a free-flight aviary and relax on pristine beaches. This is an all-inclusive day resort experience that’s one of a kind.

A Dolphin Swim Day Resort Package includes: A reserved 30-minute dolphin interaction; Snorkeling with thousands of tropical fish and rays in The Grand Reef; Hand feeding exotic birds in a free-flight aviary; Relaxing on pristine beaches; Floating along our scenic Wind-Away River; Freshly prepared breakfast and lunch, unlimited snacks, drinks and select alcoholic beverages; Lockers, sunscreen, snorkel gear, changing facilities; All day self parking at Discovery Cove; 14 days of unlimited admission to your choice of SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando or Busch Gardens Tampa. Hint: Make reservations early – it books fast!

Here are some unusual activities to consider while you’re in Orlando:
•  Wonderworks/Outta Control Magic Show
•  The Holy Land Experience
•  The World’s Largest McDonald’s
•  I Fly Orlando (indoor skydive)
•  Jack Kerouac House
•  Showcase of Citrus
•  Gatorland
•  Harry P Leu Gardens

Planning for Fun

Need to Know

When:     October 24-27, 2012
Where:     Gaylord Palms Resort and
Convention Center
Hotel:     Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center
    6000 W. Osceola Parkway
    Kissimmee, FL  34746
    Phone:  (407) 586-6338
    Reservations:  (407) 586-2000
    Reference A-ARA12 when making hotel reservations
Rate:    $189 single/double
Visit and click on
the Hotel Reservations link under the Hotel & Location Tab to secure
reservations or call (407) 586-2000.
Hotel Cut-Off Date: Monday, September 24, 2012 
The room rate cut-off date only applies to availability. 
Travel: Flights should be scheduled into Orlando International Airport (MCO).

Hotel magic

The backdrop for this years’ convention is the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center.  What better location to experience the magic than sunny Orlando, surrounded by the beauty the property provides, and experiencing all ARA has to offer under one roof!

Sun-drenched and spectacular, Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center brings excitement to life through world-class restaurants, dynamic on-site recreation, and breathtakingly beautiful gardens under glass. Their signature atriums recreate three Florida environments, immersing you in the sights and sounds that make the Sunshine State a top vacation destination. From the gently rising mists of the Everglades, to the funky and vibrant island revelry of Key West, to the Spanish-infused, old-world charm of St. Augustine, you'll delight in these unique Florida-themed settings. All convention meetings, educational sessions and tradeshow activities will take place under one roof!

Magical Recreational Events


Thursday, October 25th
Emeril’s Cooking Class
$55 adults (only)
Cost includes transportation, cooking class and 3-course lunch at Emeril’s

For those not interested in attending the educational seminars, Thursday, Oct. 25 offers you a unique and exciting way to experience a three course lunch at Emeril’s Orlando Restaurant – through cooking classes! Emeril's Orlando Restaurant, owned and operated by Chef Emeril Lagasse, encompasses everything Chef Lagasse stands for: high energy, bold exciting flavors and an unforgettable dining experience.

The Chef De Cuisine will instruct your class, which will last about ninety minutes. During this time the Chef will conduct a live cooking demo in which he explains, in detail, all food preparation and execution. After each course is completed, you will enjoy the food as prepared by their award-winning kitchen. All participants are provided with full menu descriptions.

Following your culinary experience, you will have ample time to explore the Universal CityWalk area. Participants should return to the bus at 2:00pm for return to the Gaylord Palms.
Friday, October 26th
Winter Park Tour
$30 adults/$22 children 11 & under
Cost includes transportation, admission to the Boat Tour and to The Morse Museum

Discover a hidden gem among the bustling tourism of Orlando. Cobble stone streets are adorned with boutique shops, sidewalk cafes and even more prominent offerings such as Ann Taylor, Pottery Barn, etc.
On your way, catch a glimpse of Park Avenue where you will see the stores and restaurants and can begin planning your afternoon.

Your fun begins with the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour. Located on Lake Osceola, the boat tour offers hour-long, guided cruises through three of the seven lakes and two, narrow manmade canals on the tranquil Winter Park chain of lakes. On any given tour, participants may observe large cranes swooping waterside to snag a large fish or a lazy alligator languishing on a nearby bank. Every tour guarantees plenty of swaying palms, towering cypress trees, lush ferns and a variety of flourishing sub-tropical flowers. Breathtaking views of opulent private homes and exquisite estates sprawling along the shores are also a key feature of the scenic cruise. (If you're not a boat fan, you may begin your shopping experience during the boat tour.)

Then, you’ll be transported to The Morse Museum, internationally known for its collection of the works of American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848 – 1933).  Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, curator of American decorative arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has called it “the most comprehensive and the most interesting collection of Tiffany anywhere.” Spend time in the museum or venture back onto Park Avenue for your shopping and dining enjoyment.

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