Another Year at OARA: Recyclers host record event with 400+ registrants

Toronto, Ontario — The Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association (OARA) hosted its highly anticipated annual event last week, where attendees from across Canada gathered for multiple days of thoughtful conversation around the future of the industry. 

The event began with a pre-show on Thursday, where recyclers, insurance representatives, collision repair network reps and many others gathered for a roundtable discussion on the use of green recycled parts. 

Paul Prochilo, CEO of Simplicity Car Care, addresses the crowd at the Green Recycled Parts Roundtable.

The overall sentiment from the day—there are plenty of ways for auto recyclers to leverage their business models right now, given local and global parts supply issues; environmental social governance (ESG) goals from big industry players and more. The goal, as noted in OARA’s Green Recycled Used Parts research paper: to educate consumers, collision repairers, insurers and other used parts customers on the benefits, safety and usage of genuine OE green recycled parts. 

The official OARA festivities began on Friday with breakfast and a private OARA annual general meeting before presentations started. Sean Davidson from Davis Index was first up to deliver his takes on scrap trends facing auto recyclers. Two takeaways from Davidson’s presentation:

  • About 6.5 tonnes of materials will be needed between 2022 and 2050 for the energy transition efforts in Canada. Acquiring steel is difficult due to availability; more than 60 countries have restricted or banned steel exports.
  • Turkey is an important used parts market, particularly for automotive recyclers in Ontario or Quebec. It is a transparent market and most bulk cargo (used parts) sourced from Canada goes there.

Ryan Mandell from Mitchell International took to the stage next to deliver further insight on trends, including data backed up by Mitchell’s sources. The crowd was particularly taken with Mandell’s predictions that, if the Red Sea conflict should continue, the North American vehicle market will see considerable parts delays. 

Speed presentations were next, where reps from Lithion Recycling, Cyclic Materials, SalvageScan and Environmental 360 Solutions each took time to explain their company’s services to the automotive recycling market. 

A succession planning panel featuring recyclers from across Ontario took place before lunch, where Natalie Miller of Miller’s Auto Recycling and Greg Woodbeck of Woodbeck Auto Parts led a conversation between Dom Vetere, Dom’s Auto Parts; Dave McDonald, Bodyline Auto Recyclers and Mary Poirier of Valley Automotive. The team discussed strategies for succession planning when you have a next generation ready to take the reins, and what the next steps are if you do not find yourself in the position to pass down the family ’biz. 

After lunch, sponsored by Progi, J.C. Cahill delivered the keynote address to divulge ‘the future of auto recycling’ to the crowd, before attendees broke for the afternoon at the trade show. 

This year’s trade show featured appearances from several new exhibitors, including Accurate Convertor Recycling, Auto-Kool, the Automotive Recyclers Association, Call2Recycle, Cyclic Materials, ELC Solutions, Go Powertrain, Hensel Recycling North America, Hotlines, Robert Green Equipment Sales, SalvageScan, TrakMotive and WSPS. 

Day one closed with OARA’s signature fundraiser event, sponsored by eBay Canada, which raised money for the OARA Employee Scholarship Program. After the auction and other fundraisers were all said and done, OARA raised nearly $30,000 for the program. 

Jeff Lanoue, J&L Auto Recyclers; Frank Serravalle, Thorold Automotive Solutions; and Sal Poletta, Monidex Distribution, celebrate their big wins at Casino Night.

Following remarks from OARA chairman Greg Woodbeck and executive chairman Steve Fletcher, day two opened with a jam-packed info session on electric vehicles and their potential profitability for auto recyclers. David Giles, an EV expert and consultant with PoweredEV and Consulab, emphasized how critical proper training will be for any recycler looking to get on board for the future. Click here for an in-depth summary of Giles’ presentation. 

A sales panel followed Giles’ presentation, where top-performing sales reps Andy Bowman from Hank’s Auto Wreckers; Max Winkler from J&B Auto Recyclers and Luke Brennan from Doug’s Auto Parts, who respectively rake in about $160,000, $140,000 and $110,000 per month in parts sales, delivered their secrets to selling big. Hint–a lot of their strategies involved innovative use of modern technologies.

Further speed presentations from Buddy Automotive,, ProgiParts, Hollander and EZSuite followed a lively coffee break, before more panels kicked off leading into lunch. 

David Gold of Standard Auto Wreckers—an owner well-versed in staff appreciation—led a staff engagement panel with Erin MacDonald of Bodyline Auto Recyclers; Sean McCooey of Miller’s Auto Recycling; Frank Serravalle of Thorold Automotive Solutions and Eric Wilbert of Wilburt’s U-Pull It. The diverse crew provided their own ways of showing staff they are appreciated and ensuring long-term retention for the betterment of all on the team.

At the end of lunch, Steve Fletcher and the rest of the OARA board took the time to thank departing board member Natalie Miller for her time serving the board. Miller first joined the board in 2016 and has since served as an integral voice to OARA–and a key part of why their events have been so stellar, according to Steve Fletcher’s original lyrics serenaded to the crowd, which some audience members still have stuck in their heads.

Natalie Miller, Miller’s Auto Recycling, accepts her recognition–a signed memorable edition of her Canadian Auto Recyclers 2024 cover, where she was featured with her cousin, Chris.

The next panel kicked off with a bang as speakers Joel Plazek and Fallon Clarke of Plazek’s Auto Recyclers; Matthew Carcone of Carcone’s Auto Recycling and Corey Earle of Hotch’s Auto Parts improved a delightful skit, demonstrating the everyday woes of sales-versus-production spats.

Led by J.C. and Holly Cahill of VINMatchPro, the panel spent the remainder of their time discussing their own creative ways to avoid or diminish these, quite frankly, unavoidable headaches in everyday operations.  

The knockout event ended with an inspirational talk from Canadian business legend Donald Cooper, whose family name can be spotted at any hockey rink and embossed as a logo on jerseys across the globe. Cooper left the crowd with plenty to be inspired by—so they choose to be motivated, he added—while dashing in a dose of his classic crowd-pleasing humour.

Did you miss this year’s event? Don’t fret—our coverage will continue over the coming weeks, and you can check out hundreds of photos from the weekend in our photo album below. 


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