On Saturday, Nov. 9, ARA-NJ hosted its 2019 membership meeting, beginning with a yard tour at Ace Auto Wreckers before moving the meeting to the VFW in East Brunswick, NJ.
ARA-NJ President Rodney Krawczyk shared, “The meeting went very well. With around 60 attendees, our turnout was almost double what we had last year. This year, we decided to change the format a bit and make the meeting into more of a networking event, and I believe we had a lot of success with that.”
“The meeting was well attended by industry professionals outside our state as well,” Krawczyk continued. “The president of ARA-NY came down, and so did the Rhode Island executive director. We were fortunate to have the director of member services from ARA National attend too. I’ve been heavily involved with the national association since I became president two years ago, and this industry is all about making relationships because that’s where the support comes from. Most automotive recyclers compete against each other, but they are willing to help each other at the drop of a hat – that’s what makes our industry so great.”
The meeting’s agenda addressed a wide range of topics and issues impacting the local automotive recycling industry and included a legal update, a demonstration of EZ Suite, an environmental update, information on ARA’s member benefits, a discussion about air bag recalls, an insurance update, information about ARA-NJ’s new parts trading network, a roundtable discussion, plenty of networking opportunities, and a yard tour. “Yard tours allow members to see how other recyclers do things and possibly bring a few good ideas back to their own facility about what they can change or add to enhance their process,” Krawczyk explained.
Attendees responded favorably to the event. Krawczyk shared, “We received the most positive feedback from attendees. Everyone said it was the best meeting they’d been to. The meeting was very interactive and included videos from presenters that couldn’t attend as well as a couple people speaking, and then we had a two-hour networking event after the meeting.
That’s where the biggest benefit of these things can be found – the true value is in meeting people that you sell or trade parts with which can enhance your relationship. The face-to-face opportunity is really awesome.”
“Everyone was energized and reengaged in the state association as we explained the value of being a member and demonstrated what the association does for our members,” Krawczyk continued. “When I became president of ARA-NJ, I made the decision to engage recyclers one on one by reaching out to them via phone and email to try to get them more involved. It can be hard to get people engaged because people get stuck in their box all day and miss out on the world around them, but I can’t stress enough how valuable these types of networking opportunities are.”
The meeting also provided a lot of training and educational information, and ARA-NJ talked a lot about their goal of creating a centralized hub where automotive recyclers in the state can meet up to exchange parts. “It makes sense to band together to streamline the process since we have common interests, and our hub could benefit every single automotive recycler in our market and especially every member,” Krawczyk said. His goal is to fully launch the program on Jan. 1, 2020. ARA-NJ also plans to coordinate a grassroots lobbying effort and has begun educating local assemblymen about the automotive recycling industry.
Krawczyk is pleased with ARA-NJ’s 2019 membership meeting and intends to hold two large member meetings next year to provide even more networking and educational opportunities for association members. For more information on ARA-NJ, visit aranj.org.