ARA’s 77th Annual Convention and Expo is a Virtual Success

The Automotive Recycling Association (ARA) hosted its 77th Annual Convention and Expo on November 11-13. “After many discussions, serious consideration, and with the safety of all attendees at the forefront, ARA announced in August that the 77th Annual ARA Convention and Exposition would transition into a virtual conference,” said ARA Executive Director Sandy Blalock. “We were hopeful that this year’s Convention could remain a live event, but the current state-of-affairs simply presents too much uncertainty and risk at this time.” 

“For 76 years, the ARA Annual Convention and Exposition has been the gathering place for the professional automotive recycling industry and an incredible place to network, learn and conduct business,” ARA President Scott Robertson contributed. “ARA is the voice of the professional automotive recycling industry, and it is our duty to provide information, education and opportunity to automotive recyclers from around the world – even in the midst of a global pandemic.”

He acknowledged, “Yes, it looked different, but our members really stepped up and came ready to engage and make the most out of our three days together.  We were able to deliver live content to hundreds of people, on demand content, pre-taped segments such as the Annual Awards Gala, live technology talks, a fundraising raffle, gamification, and more.”

The virtual event was a “resounding success,” filled with educational training, exposition hours, and virtual networking events that “showcased automotive recycling at its best,” Blalock shared. “The 77th Annual ARA Convention was still the extraordinary experience that our attendees have come to expect year after year. The feedback from attendees, exhibitors and sponsors has been overwhelmingly positive.”

According to one attendee, “The seminars were very informative! It was hard to pick between which one to attend. I felt the fire of motivation re-ignite again. It stirred my mind on what we need to be focusing on in the long run-outside the world of COVID.”

According to Blalock, “We saw an increased number of registrations coming from our global members and the on-demand feature of the platform really leveled the playing field in terms of time zones.  Registered attendees could view over 50 hours of content – educational sessions, technology training, product demos – all on demand.”

Especially during this period of social distancing, networking is more important than ever for automotive professionals. “Connection is everything for this industry. Our members thrive when they learn from their peers – whether in formal educational settings or through conversation in the hallways,” Blalock explained. “ARA members appreciated the opportunity to learn from their peers and connect together in a group setting. The online platform afforded multiple ways to connect, and the networking forums and chat box functions were ablaze with commentary and dialogue.”

 “The 77th Annual ARA Convention & Expo was the only global event of our industry this year,” Blalock pointed out. “There was more behind-the-scenes work and preparation on the part of our speakers and staff, to make sure everyone was training and comfortable with the virtual platform to deliver the best experience possible for everyone involved. ARA leaders and staff are proud to have been able to offer this opportunity to the industry at-large.”

Sponsors for ARA’s 2020 Convention and Expo included Solera Hollander, IAA, eBay Motors, Car-Part.com, LKQ, URG, and over a dozen more. For more information on ARA and its future events, visit a-r-a.org.

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