ARA's Pick

Ricky Young Is ARA's New Executive Secretary

Ricky Young, owner of Young's Auto Center & Salvage, joins the ARA executive committee in October.


Ricky Young starts his day at 4:30 a.m., which may be early for some people, but is necessary considering the ground he has to cover. Young owns and operates Young's Auto Center & Salvage in Benson, N.C., which consists of six locations throughout North Carolina.

"Out of all the things I do - and I'm involved in a lot - the auto recycling business remains my number one love,"Young declared. "It still intrigues me that we can take a product that would have been discarded years ago and make a living from it. If you're not an entrepreneur, you're probably not a good salvage man. It's almost a requirement."

ARA recently handpicked Young to serve as the newest member of its executive committee. ARA immediate past president Bill Tolpa nominated Young for the position. ARA will confirm his post as executive secretary at the ARA Convention & Exposition in Charlotte, N.C. on Oct. 11 - 15, 2011. Young has served as ARA director-at-large for several years, and participates as a member of the ARA government affairs committee. A central figure in his community, Young is also a past Benson Area Chamber of Commerce house president, the recipient of the Benson "Citizen of the Year" Award, and a member of numerous business organizations.

"[Auto recyclers] are stronger together,"he said, in reference to ARA ( "I see the value of ARA to help change laws and protect auto recyclers. If we don't voice our opinions, others will make the rules."

ARA events also give Young a chance to gain new perspectives on auto recycling issues.

"I like to hear that someone in Colorado is having the same problem we're experiencing in North Carolina, because it's likely that he has a different take on it,"he explained. "We can learn a lot from each other."

Young - currently serving as association president for Carolina Auto Recyclers (CAR, - is a second-generation auto recycler. His parents, Oneil and Reba Young (both deceased), built and opened Young's Gulf Service Station in Benson, N.C. in 1963. Initially a full-service gas station, it later evolved into an auto recycling business with a crushing division.

"I remember helping my dad with a pickup truck,"Young recalled. "He pulled it across the street by a chain, because at the time he didn't have a wrecker. I got to help steer."

In 1970, a truck tire exploded critically injuring Oneil. With the business in need of leadership, Young took over the day-to-day operations in 1972.

Young's Auto Center & Salvage ( has 265 acres and about 175 employees between its six facilities. But despite its strength in numbers, the company also faces challenges.

"We have to work more salvage auctions,"he explained. "We're probably spending five times more man hours buying salvage than we did 10 years ago."

Young is a strong advocate for auto recyclers becoming more involved in politics, civic affairs and charity work.

"I get a great feeling,"he said. "It doesn't pay money, but pays in dividends you can't describe."

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