On ARA: Michele Whitmore, Nuhn’s Auto Supplies, provides account of her first ARA Convention

By Michele Whitmore, Nuhn’s Auto Supplies

At the 2023 Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association (OARA) Convention, Nuhn’s Auto Supplies’ name was drawn as the big winner to attend the ARA Convention on behalf of OARA.

I had an amazing experience and would encourage any person who would like to attend an ARA Convention to do so. I was greeted and made to feel at home from the very beginning.

Of course, I do not do anything the conventional way and chose to drive. My adventure took me to Kansas City Missouri via Nashville and New Orleans. I know, not a direct result but traveling with my daughter Christina made the entire trip enjoyable, and sometimes the journey is the destination.

We completed everything and returned home in just 8 days – what a whirlwind, but also plenty of time to think and plan.

The Convention that was the reason for going was amazing. My biggest problem I had was trying to get from room to room and event to event during the meetings as there was so many different things happening at the same time. I focused on a couple of key things, so after the first morning I knew I had to find an agenda that suited what I needed to know or learn.

As most people realize US and Canada are very similar when it comes to family-run business and it was emphasized by everyone at the meetings. Keynote speakers made an impact when talking about family and the difference in how the different generations see things (nothing new there!)

My focus really was on the health and safety meetings, and the U-Pick-It yards and how they handled the waste and insurance.

Things are a lot different in the USA than here. We are definitely more evolved in waste disposal. Not saying that they do not have their practices, but ours are monitored by much higher standards.

I truly enjoyed the panel discussion on the health and safety aspects of the industry. The panel, which consisted of established and newer facilities, addressed concerns and procedures with enthusiasm and guidance. I know we all follow the guidance that we have been given but the reminders for procedures and what to expect if inspected really was a reminder to re-evaluate our protocols in our business.

Calling all ladies!! ARA has a Ladies Auto Recycling Association that sponsors a Wine and Cheese Reception to get to know other women in the business. We had an amazing time to get to know some different people. It was only an hour, but it allowed us to be able to say Hi and chat and find out where the people were from and how their businesses were doing. This allowed everyone to be themselves, enjoy and meet new people.

The tradeshow event was amazing. Thursday night, for me, was somewhat quiet as of course many people attended the football game (Go Chiefs!), so I had a lot of opportunity to meet and greet the vendors. Everyone chatted easily and I found a few new ideas that will help with our business. Thank you to all the sponsors and vendors – many are the same as we have at the OARA event, but lots of new ones too.

There was a lot more but… I would like to say thank you for Southern Hospitality, and the event in my eyes was a huge success.

I would really like to thank the OARA Board for giving me this opportunity. The ARA Convention & Expo is something not to be missed.


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