By Barett Poley
Markham, Ontario -- December 7, 2016 -- It's Canada's biggest event dedicated to automotive recycling, and this year's Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association (OARA) Convention promises more events, speakers and attractions than ever before. The OARA Annual Convention and Trade Show is scheduled for March 30 to April 1, 2017 at Hilton Toronto/Markham Suites Conference Centre in Markham, Ontario.
Paul D’Adamo, the 2017 OARA Convention keynote speaker, didn’t have any automotive background when he became the owner and operator of Bill’s Auto Parts in Cumberland, Rhode Island. What he did have, however, was a background in business, having received his BS/BA in Management and Business Communications from Bryant University, and his MA in Organized Communications from Emerson. In an interview about his OARA Keynote seminar, D’Adamo tells us about his start in the industry.
“When I fell into the business, I didn’t know much about cars. I hadn’t even run a business before, but my education allowed me to structure and identify areas of weakness, and plan out what had to be done to turn over the yard,” D’Adamo says. After successfully turning around Bill’s Auto Parts, he sold the business, but was retained by the new owners as a regional manager. Working for Pick & Pull, he helped to develop them as a force to be reckoned with in the Rhode Island/Massachusetts area. Before moving on to being a Coach for Recycling Growth, where he works as a seminar leader and speaker, teaching people how to build proper teams like he did, and how to run their automotive recycling business properly.
D'Adamo will run two sessions at the OARA convention, the first of which is called “Is it time for a Heimlich manuever on your inventory?” which focuses on eliminating bottlenecks, and the second which is called “Don’t feed the monkey," which is a boot camp for managers, owners, and key employees.
“With the two sessions, it’s a great contrast,” says D’Adamo, “The session regarding inventory will be more operational, more hands on. And then I’m going to flip the coin. I’ve got a diverse background – I was in training and development before I got into auto recycling – and the ‘Don’t feed the monkey’ series is about getting inside an owner’s head, and asking ‘what sort of monkeys are you carrying?” He says the sessions won’t all be psychologically motivated, but rather will have a clear goal of improving your business. “Not only do you have the general stuff like payroll, the big stuff, like HR, car buying. There’s also the emotional stuff, stuff that you learned from your father, from your father’s father. So what we’re trying to do is minimize the monkeys that you’re carrying so that you can focus on growing the business rather than getting caught up in a lack of delegation, building your team, those types of thing.”
D’Adamo offered us some insider tips for those trying to make it as managers or owners in the world of auto recycling. “When it comes to tips, number one would be that inventory for a lot of people – and you may not realize it, that’s the crazy part – can be choking your business," he says. "One of the problems is that it’s subversive – it’s not visible to most business owners, but there can be different things in your inventory that are choking you and it affects your cash. That’s the bottom line – it does affect your cash, one way or the other.”
When asked about what tips he would have for people on the “other side of the coin” that he’ll be presenting on, he revealed how to improve the success of your business through personal reflection. “Know yourself, have a vision, and build your team," he says. "I include build a team, because I love to throw the question out there to people; ‘what’s more important? Your customers or your employees?’ because it opens a great dialogue. Most people say ‘oh, the customer’ but the thing is – if you don’t take care of your people, it’s like a cascade effect. If you take care of your people, you build them up, make them experts at what they’re doing? Then they will take care of the customer.”