Tuesday, 01 September 2015 14:15

ARI 2015 Summit Speakers Teach Attendees Business Managing and Team-Building Skills

On Saturday, August 22, the Automotive Recyclers of Indiana (ARI) held their 2015 Annual Summit at the Radisson Hotel - Indy Airport.

Sandy Blalock, Executive Director of ARI, stated, "The event went extremely well. Our attendance was up from our last event in August 2014, and the association was happy with that growth. We had 116 registered attendees and 28 exhibitors at our event. I always make it one of my responsibilities during the event and after to elicit from attendees what they thought of the program and how we can improve it next year, but I got only positive feedback from both the recyclers and the exhibitors. This is only my second year with this association, and I take it as a personal mission to build it into a viable and strong organization, promoting the good things about the professional automotive recycling industry."

The event began on Saturday morning with registration opening from 7-8am, followed by a welcome from ARI President Mike Hierholzer. The educational sessions began with an hour-long seminar on "Managing Your Business to Stay on Top of Regulatory Oversight" by Sara Hamidovic, INCARES Manager for Vet Environmental. Next, Terry Westedt of Rydell Surplus OEM Parts led participants in "Team Building" exercises. At 10:15am, attendees learned about "Taking Control of Your Deliveries the EZ Way" with Jim McKinney of EZ Route, and the final presentation before the exhibition opened was Hamidovic's "Safety and Compliance Made Easy." 

Hamidovic is also a consultant for the association's INCARES (Indiana Certified Automotive Recyclers Exemplary Standards) program, which is the state certification program developed in conjunction with state agencies overseeing environmental and safety standards for the industry. The program, based on ARA’s CAR and Gold Seal Program, helps recyclers understand their responsibilities to manage their facilities to applicable laws and regulations. In less than a year, 15 ARI members have achieved certification in the INCARES program.

The exposition portion of the summit was open from noon until 4:30pm and featured a luncheon with the exhibitors, sponsored by URG. From 2-4pm, SAS Forks presented "Forklift Training," followed by "When Opportunity Knocks, Don't Listen" with Terry Westedt.

During break, attendees indulged in snacks with exhibitors before breaking out into several sessions led by Pinnacle Professional's Chris Atencio, and Car-Part Pro's Roger Schroder. The event's speakers and educational sessions were sponsored by Car-Part.com and Rydell Surplus OEM Parts. The summit concluded with a Dinner and Awards Ceremony where association members celebrated and enjoyed the opportunity to network with their peers.

According to Blalock, "The purpose of any meeting like this has to be, first, education and secondly, networking. Indiana, like many state associations and affiliated chapters of ARA, has many small business members who will never be able to travel to bigger national industry events, and it is imperative that we bring some of the same educational opportunities to them as well as expose them to the products and services of our recycling partners and vendors firsthand. We want to thank all our exhibitors and sponsors who made this day possible. Without their support, we simply could not have had such an awesome event. Our speakers were knowledgeable and presented valuable and insightful presentations that engaged the recyclers and their employees throughout the entire day."

Blalock also said, “I believe that professional automotive recyclers have to reach out beyond our industry and help those in our communities understand how important the automotive recycling industry is to the overall well-being within those communities. We reach out to not only recyclers but all the agencies that have regulatory oversight of our industry in Indiana. They are strategic to our mission to assist recyclers in understanding their responsibilities, and they help open doors to those agencies. We had representation from the Secretary of State’s Dealer Licensing, as well as the Indiana Department of Environmental Management exhibiting and on hand for the presentations. Safety and environmental compliance are very important in our industry right now, so our program had a strong focus on those issues, along with presentations on business management and team building."

ARI's expectations for this year's event were high, based on the success of last year's event, but Blalock believes the event was well-received by attendees and exhibitors.

"I always learn something from each event that I will take on to the next one. Next year's ARI Summit will be even better thanks to the great feedback we received from this year's attendees."