When Ed MacDonald takes over the ARA presidency in November, he will be the fourth Canadian in that role. But, the owner of Maritime Auto Salvage in Debert, Nova Scotia, will be the first with a truly global, rather than American, focus. Here’s more of what he revealed in a 15-minute interview with The Locator.

You are a founding member of ARC, a past ARAAC president and board member. How will serving as the next ARA president be different?

It’s not going to be that radically different. But I think I’m going to bring a varied and unique set of tools and experiences to ARA. We’re at a precipice as an accepted industry internationally. We’re starting to develop networks and opportunities with many countries around the world. It’s essential to step out of the regional view and look at the worldwide opportunities.

What is your first goal as ARA president? 

I don’t think I have a first goal. My overall goal is to enact the strategic plan that we’ve worked so hard to develop. Of course, I also want us to be able to quickly react to issues that may come up that are not in the plan.

How do you plan to achieve that goal?

We have an amazingly dedicated staff at ARA. We also have a very creative board of directors, committee chairs and members. Together, we will be able to guide our ship to port.

You are the fourth Canadian to be ARA president. How will this affect your term?

I fully understand that the largest percentage of our membership is American. But I would like to encourage all of us reflect on the global perspective. Our industry has a rich history worldwide. I’m fascinated by it, passionate about it. I have been since the fi rst day I entered the industry.

What will your pet project be as ARA president?

We are right on the edge of government, insurance companies and the public realizing that we are a green industry that is fully economically viable and profitable. What a combination! Probably without realizing it, this industry has grown into one of the biggest environmental stewards. A lot of countries are looking at the North American model for auto recycling. We can help lead the discussion, make it global and interactive.

What do you think is the most important issue facing auto recyclers today? What do you plan to do about it?

We need to consistently get the word out, validating to a certain degree our real environmental depth to the public, to government and to our partner industries, collision and insurance. We will be making ourselves more visible so that when the time comes for developing best practices, we’ll be the ‘go to’ group to consult.

How long have you been active in associations? In ARA?

When I started in 1988, I immediately joined ARA. And I started working with a group to help develop the national association in Canada.

What are some of the biggest issues you’ve worked on as an ARA member?

NMVTIS, environmental controls, vehicle interchanges, a national code of practices and procedures for recyclers - these are just some. Right now, we’re working on recalls; if a part is recalled, we make sure it isn’t sold. This is not an option; it’s an absolute necessity. 

What can ARA members expect from your presidency? 

They will have the opportunity for open dialogue and discussion. And if they feel we are going into the wrong direction, I will listen.

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