15 Minutes With ARA President Jonathan Morrow
Spend a few minutes with Jonathan Morrow of M & M Auto Parts and you can’t help but be impressed by his passion, and in awe of all that’s he accomplished by age 35. In fact, he may be the youngest ARA president yet. But this highly dedicated auto recycler is not new to leadership. He served as president of the Virginia Automotive Recyclers Association before taking on a national leadership role on the ARA Executive Committee. Now, as he readies to assume the role of president, Jonathan shares some of his insights about the coming term, including how auto recyclers can work together for mutual success.
How long have you been active in the industry? In ARA?
I started in June of 2007, so this is my eleventh year. I’ve been active in the state association, including being past president. My facility has also been featured on ARA tours, because of its proximity to DC. It’s typically the stopping point for a lot of foreign reps from as far away as Brazil, Korea, China, Australia, Europe and the Philippines.
How has serving on the ARA executive committee prepared you for the presidency?
It has opened my eyes to the layers that are in this industry, and the relationships that exist within it, from the recyclers to the vendors and more. It’s like a brotherhood or sisterhood, where we have the unique opportunity to look out for each other, putting the industry first. We often get stuck in the ‘bubble’ of our yard and think that whatever our yard is doing is the status of the industry, but it’s important to realize that this is much bigger than any individual or yard.
What are your primary goals as ARA president?
We have established a track record to be more transparent and more inclusive. We want to be a conduit for the industry, and advocate for legislation that promotes the recycled use of parts. We also want to continue to focus members on best practices. Toward that end, we are implementing a coaching strategy session at the annual convention, where we’ll pair yards for mentoring opportunities. We hope to keep it going past the convention. It takes time to change a culture, but the end result will be worth it.
How do you plan to achieve those goals?
We’re going to have an open environment with our board members, and align our committees, so that we are all working for the common good. Importantly, we’re setting achievable, measurable goals, so we’re not just spinning our tires. On the legislative front, I want us to be united across all states. Transparency is very important throughout the process. Members need to be abreast of how things will affect them.
What are some of the biggest legislative issues facing the auto recycling industry today?
One is the legislation passed in 2015 that made it illegal to sell a recalled part. We’re looking at how to implement it. This is a safety issue. We need a rulemaking from NHTSA or a third party that will allow us to take the data from OEs and pair it with our yard management systems to prohibit these parts from being sold.
The second is the bill passed in Rhode Island, interpreting OEM repair standards. From a national level, we need to make sure that recycled OEM parts are available to be used in all repairs, and not prohibited by the OEM repair standards. That is going to be the biggest piece of legislation where we push the use of recycled auto parts.
What other issues are facing the industry today?
We are going to see a pretty big dip in our scrap metal prices due to the tariffs. I would encourage all ARA members to strategically partner with ARA Associate members for buying and selling, especially the core markets. We need to get with a core company and stay with that company. Otherwise, we are in danger of fragmenting and losing the ability to sell our core parts.
In addition, some of the biggest battles are ones that no one knows about, because those are the ones where the government has not come after us. It’s important to be there and be active, to be able to push those back. Those are some of our biggest wins but we don’t get to broadcast them.
What will your pet project be as ARA president?
I am a third-generation auto recycler and I want to make sure this industry is in a better spot for the next generation, my sons Jack and Eli. We have an opportunity to thrive. If we put our heads together and work as one, we can be in a better spot in a year.
What can ARA members expect from your presidency?
Without question, they can expect transparency, a desire to have all parties’ voices be heard, and a desire to work with all organizations in the recycling industry. I want it to be an opportunity for people to come together. I want to make sure that we’re using everything we can on the education front as a member benefit, and equip all of our members and workers for a better tomorrow.
I am thankful for the support of my lovely wife Ruthie, and for my faith in Christ that will keep me centered. I’m excited to work with a phenomenal Executive Committee and ARA staff. I couldn’t pick better people to support this effort. I am also grateful for my M&M Family. Without having an outstanding team of co-laborer’s, I would not be able to dedicate the necessary time and energy to the lead our association.