January 1, 2014
This year’s ARA Annual Awards Dinner provided a platform for many new and younger faces to be welcomed into the ARA family. Noticeably on hand this year, were couples with young children and babies, reminiscent for some of the more seasoned auto recyclers of their early days with ARA.
A few auto recyclers who had not been to a convention in quite a few years decided to come back this year and realized that there were a lot of new faces around the room. They noted that the older generation that they knew now had their sons and daughters attending the convention.
Ironically this all played right into the message that incoming ARA President Ed MacDonald heralded during his speech after taking the gavel from outgoing President Chris Wright.
“I am humbled to be standing before you to accept this Presidency,” said MacDonald. “Many thanks to Chris for all that he has achieved and letting me ride on his coattails this past year and to learn from your experiences and the experiences of the extended Wright Family – a family that has deep and rich roots in our industry and has given much to our profession.”
MacDonald went on to say that the success of the automotive recycling industry depended on hands in this multi-generational industry working together.
“All of these hands hold the keys to the kingdom - that kingdom we all have so proudly built and nurture every day – known as the automotive recycling profession,” said MacDonald.
“And all of these hands must play their appropriate roles to ensure continued success – they are the:
• Guiding hands with learned expertise,
• Implementing hands with current state of the art knowledge, and
• Creating hands with innovative purpose to seek new and,yet uncharted, opportunities.”
MacDonald also promised to keep using the humor he is known and loved for.
“I believe humor breaks the ice and fosters partnerships and our job is to get the message of the colorful industry out.”
It would appear that MacDonald is not the only one who has the market on humor. Outgoing President Chris Wright tapped into his sense of humor with his gifts to the Executive Committee. He presented each one member with a bobble head doll of themselves.
On a more serious note, Wright urged attendees, “I would encourage you to take advantage of the best opportunities that ARA has to offer and that is to interact with other recyclers. You never know where you’ll be in five to ten years but always have friendships that you have developed through ARA.”
The Star Awards recognize four members each year who have gone above and beyond in their dedication to the Association and the Industry.
2013 ARA Affiliate Chapter of the Year
The Ohio Auto & Truck Recyclers Association was awarded 2013 ARA Affiliate Chapter of the Year.
“Under the leadership of OATRA President Jim McKinney, the Ohio Auto & Truck Recyclers Association works continuously to ensure a fair and competitive business climate in Ohio for all of its members,” said Wright in his remarks about the Chapter. “The strong constituent relationships that OATRA members have with their elected officials has resulted in positive working relationships with state lawmakers, motor vehicle and tax enforcement departments, consumer advocacy groups, and representatives from the state attorney general’s office that are now all working together to address unlicensed activity in the state.
“The achievements of OATRA have served as a model to others in the automotive recycling community and OATRA leaders have been a valuable resource to ARA and other state affiliate chapters as they have been more than willing to share their experience and help others fighting to make sure that salvage and end-of-life vehicles are not falling into the wrong hands.”
CAR Member of the Year
Auto Parts City, Gurnee, IL, owned by brothers Jay and Larry Brosten, was awarded 2013 CAR Member of the Year. Operating since the 1930s, it is one of the fastest growing automotive recycling facilities in the Midwest, offering both full and self-service facilities. It was the first “Certified” Green Business League automotive recycler in the entire country. As host of last year’s Central Midwest Auto Recyclers Convention and Trade Show, Auto Parts City offered attendees the opportunity to see how investing in the CAR program goes hand in hand with the environmentally-friendly face of the industry -- something that the Brosten family and their employees are committed to emphasizing.
Regional Director of the Year
Paul Davis, A-Plus Parts & Salvage, Inc., Wichita, KS was awarded the Regional Director of the Year Award. Davis is the President of the Kansas Automotive Recycler Association and is also one of the newest Regional Directors at ARA.
Wright remarked that even before Davis stepped up to serve as Regional Director he was already making a difference for ARA, his home state of Kansas and in his local community.
“Through participation and volunteer work in his local community and within the state, Paul serves as a voice for many professional automotive recyclers in the central plains states,” said Wright. “He is well respected within the industry for his knowledge, insight and thoughtful opinions on the trends and issues impacting the day-to-day operations of auto recycling businesses, for his keen political analysis, willingness to give back to the association and auto recycling community, and perhaps most of all for his always colorful and witty commentary. He is always seeking to reach more auto recyclers, sign up new members, and serve as the voice for those members through his position on the Board of Directors.”
Member of the Year
The emotional highlight of the night was the award to Fran Reitman, Reitman Auto Parts and Sales, Inc. as the Member of the Year for 2013. Not a dry eye was found in the room as Fran graciously accepted the award.
“Fran Reitman is part of one of the most dynamic teams in our industry, alongside her husband, ARA Past President Randy Reitman,” said Wright. “She is not only well-respected and well-known throughout the industry but also well-loved. Fran was a familiar sight last year at numerous affiliate chapter meetings and industry events, as she travelled around the country with Randy on behalf of ARA. As outgoing President of the Educational Foundation, she led one the most successful fundraising initiatives that allowed for the historic expansion of curriculum and courses available on the ARA University.
“She has stepped forward in numerous committees and leadership roles with an energy, enthusiastic spirit, and passion for the industry that is truly contagious. She brings a depth of professionalism and knowledge about automotive recycling into every room she steps into, and is a valuable asset for our industry.”
Every year the ARA President is given the opportunity to choose someone who has shown superior service and dedication to the association and the industry. This year ARA President Chris Wright chose Steve Levetan, Pull-A Part, LLC, who has over 40 years in the recycling industry. Levetan was proud and honored to be selected.
“Steve is a true asset to the automotive recycling industry not only for this knowledge and expertise, but for his willingness to give back to the industry,” said Wright. “He is an active member of the Governmental Affairs Committee and a tireless advocate on behalf of the profession -- never missing an opportunity to make a difference, whether it be organizing a coalition of stakeholders on a given issue, travelling to other states to support ARA members conducting facility tours with legislators; speaking to Members of Congress, or giving back to his local community.”
Noted Recognition for Hard Work
Many dedicated ARA members were recognized for their time and efforts. Some of the highlights include Milt Schmidt receiving a plaque for 50 years of dedicated service to the Scholarship Foundation and its hundreds of worthy scholarship recipients.
“You have been the man behind the curtain and extremely instrumental in this program,” said Mark Buessing, American Auto Recycling, and President of the foundation. “For this, we thank you very much.” Buessing also announced the newly established Nancy Hall Memorial Scholarship in honor of Nancy Hall, San Diego County Auto Dismantlers Association’s long-time Executive Director who passed away last year.
Fran Reitman, Reitman Auto Parts and Sales, Inc., was recognized for her ongoing dedication to the industry and to ARA. She received an Outgoing Educational Foundation plaque to commemorate her valuable contributions to the Educational Foundation as President.
Other outgoing ARA Directors were recognized, as well, all very appreciated for their volunteer time and efforts spent on the issues of the industry.
Certified Automotive Recycler Awards
The CAR program recognizes automotive recyclers who meet the program’s high standards in four areas: General Business, Environmental, Safety, and Licensing. ARA is proud to have 363 Certified Automotive Recyclers currently in the program.
Shannon Nordstrom, Chairman of ARA’s CAR Committee, announced the eight new CAR members. They were: Grassy Auto Parts, Inc.; Keith Auto Recyclers, LLC dba KARS; Kosiski Auto Parts; Metro Area Recyclers; Patterson Auto Wrecking; Poell’s Enterprise Inc.; Staley Auto Parts, Inc. dba Cash-N-Carry Pull Your Part; and H & H Auto Parts.
Passing of the Gavel
Michael Wilson, ARA CEO, thanked attendees for their participation the Convention and Exposition, before the final act of officiating the passing of the gavel from Chris Wright to Ed MacDonald.
Wilson noted that he was especially pleased with this year’s convention and exposition and excited about the opportunity to host the 2013 International Round Table, directly following the convention.
“It’s good to see all of you out here in the West – it’s the first time in eight years that we’ve been out this way and it gave us the opportunity to visit some great businesses; Brock Supply, Phoenix Automotive Cores and American Auto Recycling,” said Wilson. “This year we’ve had over 40 educational sessions, including three keynote speakers and nearly 100 vendors. Of course, we’ve had fun, too.”