15 MINUTES WITH
Ricky Young is the incoming ARA President.
KEN TART PHOTOGRAPHY
Running a business is enough for most people. But Ricky Oneil Young isn’t like most. The second-generation recycler manages six used parts locations and four vehicle buying locations for his family business, Young’s Auto Center & Salvage in North Carolina. He also is extremely active in his community, earning the coveted “Citizen of the Year” award for his efforts. As if that’s not enough, he is a driving force in the industry, having served as past president of Carolina Auto Recyclers (CAR) and for the NC Auto and Truck Salvage Dealers Association.
This fall, Ricky takes on perhaps his most visible role yet - as president of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA). The title will be bestowed at ARA’s 71st Annual Convention & Exposition in October, but the truth is that Ricky’s been preparing for this role since he took over Young’s in 1972. We caught up with him to ask some pivotal questions, as he gets ready to take the helm.
What is your first goal as ARA president? How do you plan to achieve it?
I’m very big on government affairs, because it has so much of an effect on our industry. One of my first goals is to encourage our members to get out and vote in November. We need to make sure we have business-friendly representation in the House and the Senate, and at the local levels. We don’t have a pro-business group leading the country right now, and that could be detrimental to us as an industry.
I’ll also be holding a strategic planning session, to set the roadmap for the coming years. One of my goals is to have more transparency. We’ll be working on getting out information more frequently, and keeping members apprised of all that’s going on.
What issue or program have you worked on - as a member of the ARA Executive Committee - that you plan on continuing during your presidency?
I would like to see a closer working relationship with the various salvage pools and the continued development of our ARADirect, a resource for professional licensed recyclers that allows them to buy right from the source. We’ll also continue to push for better NMVTIS enforcement.
You are active in your local business community; how will this background help you during your ARA presidency?
I’ve served on a lot of boards. One of the things that I’ve learned is that they can be intimidating. I’ve learned to encourage people to speak up. Sometimes the best ideas in the room never get to the table. I hear them later in the parking lot. I want my fellow recyclers to know that they don’t need a Ph.D. to be an effective board member. They already are experts just because of what they do every day as recyclers. Make your voice heard.
What will your pet project be as ARA president?
I want to raise money for our political action committee (PAC) for the 2016 election. Most legislators don’t try to hurt the industry. They don’t realize that what they’re proposing could have a possible negative effect on us. The ARA PAC will help to educate them and assure that we have influence on their decisions.
I’d also like to see more recyclers get involved. Get involved in politics. Get involved in ARA. Get involved with your state associations. Get involved with charities in your community. GET INVOLVED. This is a general theme that will run through my year as president.
You told us in 2011 that salvage - and the extra time it takes to find and buy it - was a big concern for auto recyclers. Is that still the case?
It’s actually gotten worse. Acquiring salvage is the number one problem facing recyclers today. As I stated, we need more input and contact with the various salvage pools and developing ARADirect to help recyclers procure salvage that’s reasonable and profitable.
What can ARA members expect from your presidency?
Without a doubt, I’ll give it 110 percent. It will be transparent. It will be what’s in the best interest of ARA and our members. ARA will strive to be the number one advocacy group for automobile recycling in the world. Our members remaining in business profitably and securely will be our top priority.
I’ve got a tough act to follow. Our roster of past presidents is a ‘Who’s Who’ list of industry movers and shakers. I want to continue their amazing legacy this year.
I can’t say enough about this past year’s Executive Committee. Past President Chris Wright will be terming off the EC and his presence and professionalism will be sorely missed. I would also like to thank Ed McDonald for a job well done as this year’s president. Our new team with Mike Swift, R.D. Hopper and David Gold will be a strong asset to my year.