Helping Hand

URG's Best Benefit Is Its Group Leader



Michelle Alexander has successfully led URG as its executive director for five years. She said she couldn't do it without the members.

PHOTO: COURTESY OF URG

Michelle Alexander, executive director of URG (U-R-G.com), Centennial, Colo., never stops working for auto recyclers.

"The most rewarding part of my job is being able to create benefits for the auto recycling industry where I can see the results being utilized daily," said Alexander. "I've grown up in this industry and it truly feels like family. Being able to assist a recycler with the smallest to largest task brings a smile to my face."

Alexander has lead URG as its executive director for five years. In that time, she has tackled industry issues like the CARS program (aka Cash for Clunkers) and the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). She has promoted the industry through programs like Recycled Rides and a study completed by the University of Colorado quantifying the benefits of auto recycling. She has implemented programs and created partnerships to give members a leg up in the industry. For example, in 2009 she helped launch URG Auction, an online auto-salvage auction service and then established a partnership with Zurich in 2010 to provide insurance for members.

"URG has one of the most involved leading people in the industry with Michelle Alexander," said Bill Abold Jr., general manager, A & P Auto Parts, Inc., Cicero, N.Y. (APAutoParts.com). "When she is focused on a target it's usually achieved beyond expectation. Most likely if you are in attendance at CIC, ARA, SEMA, NACE or most regional trade shows, you can find Michelle in some form of training, helping auto recycler's get to the next level of greatness."

Alexander got her start in auto recycling through a part-time job at Compass Voice Lines in her hometown of Muscle Shoals, Ala. There she sold supplies to the auto recycling industry. She grew the position to full-time and eventually, a four-person sales division, which she led as the supervisor.

In 1996, she joined URG as its second employee. "I came to URG to help build benefits as it was building and developing the inventory management system," she explained. "I created and ran a cooperative buying program that sold more than $300,000 a month in supplies, radiators and glass."

Alexander eventually became operations manager and then executive director in 2006. As executive director, one of her biggest challenges is the annual URG and Pinnacle Training Conference. This year, the conference is once again at the Inverness Hotel & Conference Center in Englewood, Colo. on April 14 - 17.

"We've managed to continue to change the session topics and keep it fresh over the last five years," she said. "We've grown in attendance a minimum of 40 percent the last two years consecutively."

"The URG conference, in my opinion, is the best industry trade seminar around for recyclers by recyclers thanks to leadership from Michelle," said Abold Jr.

The conferences focus on education, training and the industry's current challenges. Today, those challenges include data and salvage procurement.

"URG is focusing on both of these topics for the future," explained Alexander. "We are working on ways to help the recyclers be in control of their data and find ways to take the middleman out of the continued battle of purchasing salvage."

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