Limitless Horizons: OARA members attend United Recyclers Group conference

Florida, United States — At the recent Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association (OARA) Convention, the OARA Board decided to hold a contest to support the travel to the United Recyclers Group (URG) Training Meeting in Orlando Florida. The draw was held Saturday morning of the OARA event, and the lucky winner was Dean Hellyer from Dave’s Truck & Auto Parts. Dean knew he would be unable to attend because of a staffing issue, so he donated the prize package to Valley Automotive and Carcone’s Auto Recycling.

“We wanted to create some extra excitement at the OARA show, and we wanted to encourage Members to travel to other shows to represent OARA and to bring back any new ideas and potential speakers, topics of vendors,” said Greg Woodbeck, the OARA Chairman.

The URG Limitless Horizons Conference 2023, held in Orlando, is one of the industry’s premier events where recyclers and vendors network and attend educational sessions to help improve their business and the industry. URG hosted 706 attendees with over 40 education sessions delivered by 62 speakers.

“After attending the URG conference, I have returned home feeling extremely proud of our convention, and very thankful we have Steve [Fletcher] as our Executive Director,” said Mary Poirier from Valley Automotive and the OARA Treasurer. “Although the URG event is bigger than OARA, we definitely compare very favourably. I had a number of vendors and delegates tell me that the OARA event is their favourite show to attend–it has the perfect amount of time allocated to business, education and networking.”

David Gold from Standard Auto Wreckers said, “The feeling at the Conference was enlightening–you just got the sense that there is a different vibe amongst auto recyclers in attendance and that all options were on the table in terms of business models going forward. In many ways, the conference renewed my spirit–auto recyclers who are engaged in the business and committed to doing a great job, will have a good run going forward.”

Matthew Carcone with Carcone’s Auto Recycling, “One presentation that stood out to me was Mike Kunkel’s presentation on ‘How to Maintain Profits While Investing in the Company Culture.’ I found this session to be particularly beneficial, as I have been implementing new policies and procedures since the last OARA conference. Mr. Kunkel’s insights helped reinforce some of the decisions I had made while making these changes, and I believe his expertise will prove invaluable in guiding my future efforts.”

One session that resonated with delegates was “Sales versus Production” with noted industry speakers Ryan Falco and Lee Worman. They dressed up like the characters from the movie Step Brothers to highlight the challenges and friction that exist between the Sales and Production departments in every auto recycling facility. They used humour and anecdotes to drive their points home and encourage enhanced communication and processes.

“The URG conference remains a great place for education because of the seminars and the great people and networking that are everywhere,” noted Michael Carcone. “I learned more about electric vehicles this wheeled, and there is still a great deal we don’t know about them. Education and training are keys in the dismantling of these new vehicles.”

OARA also held a draw for a trip to the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) Annual Convention in Kansas City in October. That was won by Nuhn’s Auto Supply who are enthusiastically looking forward to attending.

OARA has also adopted a new Travel Subsidy Policy for its members to encourage their attendance at other industry events.

“We are proud of the OARA brand and our reputation in the industry, and we want more Members travelling outside of the province, or outside of the industry, to promote OARA and to bring back information that will make for a stronger industry,” said Woodbeck.


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