By Mike Davey

Toronto, Ontario -- March 31, 2014 -- It was one of the most anticipated recycling events of the year is finally here, and the 2014 iteration of the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association Convention & Trade Show fulfilled its promise as one of the most exciting yet.

The event kicked off on March 28 at the Toronto Airport Marriott with a recap of the year's highlights, presented by Steve Fletcher, Executive Director of OARA. 
 
Other presenters for the first half of the morning included Ersilia Serafini of Summerhill with “Moving Heaven and Earth: A 15 Year perspective on Canadian auto recycling,” “Changes coming to OTS and the management of scrap tires in Ontario,” presented by Andrew Horsman, Executive Director of Ontario Tire Stewardship and a look at Power-DB, software produced by SolexD that displays essential dashboards, work tools and controls designed just for recyclers, presented by Philippe Clermont, CEO of SolexD. 
 
 
After a short break for coffee, sessions resumed with a presentation by Robert and Chad Counts of Counts Business Consulting, discussing how those who are able to leverage technology most effectively at all levels of their organization will be able to produce more quickly, efficiently and accurately. 
 
The Counts dove deep into analytics and data, pointing out that knowing the data is an essential piece of the puzzle for any recyclers who to not just protect their business, but grow it. 
 
“I learned a long time ago, it’s now how much you sell, it’s how much you keep,” said Robert. 
 
The data theme continued with the next presenter, Dwight Howard of Hollander and APU Solutions. Howard discussed “Value in Data Integrity,” noting that “Data is not just facts and statistics. It’s how you bring it together for analysis.”
 
Howard pointed out that it is imperative for today’s auto recyclers to inventory every part possible, as the potential client base has grown considerably. 
 
“We have many more demand channels than ever before,” said Howard. “The consumer world brings more and different part needs.”
 
Michael Angeli of Hollander was next to take the podium, discussing how to develop an image strategy. Angeli started by discussing how, in the digital age, photos are essentially free, and how providing photos of parts for sale can provide a definite return. 
 
“You must have a documentation process,” said Angeli. “But it’s really important to make sure it’s tailored to your yard. Every yard is different.”
 
Steve Fletcher introduced Janet Taylor of Summerhill to discuss three collaborative programs between auto recyclers and Summerhill. Taylor outlined Switch Out, a project that endeavours to remove mercury switches from end-of-life vehicles; Grants in Gear, which seeks to extend the environmental benefits achieved through the ARC membership’s dedication to environmental best practices by connecting funding from ARC with connect ARC funding with Canadian NGO and entrepreneurial groups that have a shared vision for the environment; and Tundra Take-Back, designed to bring auto recycling practices to Canada’s northern communities. 
 
Rob Rainwater took the podium for his first presentation, titled “A visual world: the effect of the internet on our industry.”Rainwater draws a dramatic example of just how much the internet has changed the industry by pointing out that Car-Part.com receives approximately half a million parts requests per day, every day. 
 
“How many of those came to you?” asks Rainwater, noting that not only must recyclers now provide visuals, but part descriptions must be compelling. 
 
The Convention then broke for lunch on the Trade Show floor. For more information on the OARA Trade Show, please click here
 
The 2014 OARA Convention continued that evening with a reception in the Trade Show, and a Charity Casino with live auction to benefit the OARA Employee Scholarship Program. 
 
Saturday's session kicks off with a breakfast with The Sunshine Foundation of Canada. Steve Fletcher presented the fundraising totals for the OARA Employee Scholarship program. This year's Silent Auction raised $4,250, with the Casino Night taking in an additional $10,400. Veolia Environmental Services donated $7,432. 
 
The OARA Cat Drive raised $10,450 this year. During the drive, OARA members donate catalytic converters to OARA, and John Bruner from Coreline Auto Parts grades and sell alls then on the association's behalf, with the money going to the OARA Employee Scholarship program. 
 
In addition, Cool Catz agreed to donate one dollar for every cat purchased by the company during the cat drive, leading to a total donation of $5,000. 
 
In total, funds raised this year for the OARA Employee Scholarship program totaled $37,532. 
 
Fletcher then announced the OARA President's Award. Every year, the President's Award is given to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to automotive recycling. We are extremely proud to announce that this year's winner is Gloria Mann, VP of Industry Relations for Media Matters, publishers of Canadian Auto Recyclers and Collision Repair magazines. 
 
In presenting the award, Fletcher noted Mann's incredible energy and outstanding dedication both to Canadian Auto Recyclers and to the recyclers the publication represents. 
 
"This is wonderful," said Mann. "You know what you all mean to me. There's no hiding it."
 
Following the President's Award, attendees were treated to a short presentation on the power of the Sunshine Foundation's DreamLifts, special events where a plane full of children with special needs takes off a fantastic one-day adventure. The presentation was given by Jennifer Elder. Elder's daughter, Aneesa, was one of the recipients of the latest DreamLift to Disneyland. Aneesa was diagnosed with MPS1, an extremely rare genetic condition, shortly before her first birthday. In addition to the presentation from Elder, Aneesa herself gave a short speech during which she thanked OARA and the Sunshine Foundation for allowing her to take the trip. She then literally bounced back to her seat, causing Fletcher to remark from the podium, "I think Aneesa and Gloria must be related."
 
Presentations for the morning included “The 14 golden rules! How do we get salesmen to stop being order takers,” by Rob Rainwater; “Changes to the licensing of auto recyclers in Ontario,” by Chris Goode, Senior Adviser, Modernization of Approvals brand for the Ministry of Environment, and “How to hire, train and set goals for all departments in your recycling business,” by Rob Rainwater. 
 
The overwhelming message of Goode's presentations was that the Ministry of Environment will work with automotive recyclers and other stakeholders to ensure solid standards. The Ministry of Environment is continuing to accept comments until April 6, 2014. You can find the relevant material by visiting ebr.gov.on.ca and entering 012-0678 or by clicking here
 
The OARA Annual General Meeting and Elections took place after lunch, concurrent with employee training offered by Hollander, Car-Part and Rob Rainwater. The 2014 event wrapped up Sunday with the Auto Recyclers of Canada Board of Directors meeting. 
 
For more information on OARA, please visit oara.com
 

 

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