An Update On ARA’s New Mentoring Program

As the first year of ARA’s Peer to Peer Mentoring program begins to wind down, I’d like to offer some background and update on our vision for it now and in the future.  


Creating The Vision 

This program was the vision of R.D. Hopper, and it was his idea to bring together some of the best operators to act as mentors to those that were in need of help. His focus was to mentor those that were new to the industry, those that may be struggling, and finally those that simply wanted to become better. The goal here was to improve our industry one recycler at a time.  

“Seeing people willing to give of their time and money to the ARA Mentoring Program, to selflessly invest in the future of other owners and this industry as a whole, has made me feel honored to be a part of ARA and this industry,” said Hopper. “This is a transitional and trying time in our industry. These mentors have shown me that those that are willing to adapt and improve their businesses and process will survive. I am grateful for those that have asked for help to improve and for those volunteering to be mentors. They both have inspired me to do the same.”  


Top Mentors  

ARA has put together a panel composed of some of the industry’s leading recyclers to serve in the role of mentors. This program is free of cost and is another benefit of being an ARA member. This first phase will close two weeks before the start of our annual conference. This mentoring program took on a “big picture” focus with a “getting back to basics” approach, and with an emphasis on consistency and the importance of proper execution of fundamentals.  

For each mentee, there are seven tasks to perform. These tasks are unique and tailored to the needs of the individual mentee. This is a seven-step “ladder” approach that is broken out into three segments that must be done within the first phase of this program. The first segment was three steps that can be easily done and have the most effect. The second segment is two more-difficult tasks. The final segment will be the two most difficult tasks. The mentee will be required to act on and execute these tasks that he is given by the mentor. The mentee will also be required to attend the annual conference and to share how this program has worked for him with all members.  

We have monthly mentoring meetings to discuss our progress and to learn from one another. Things are progressing very well, and our mentees are very appreciative for our guidance and advice.  


More Work To Do 

While we have accomplished a great deal, we still have a lot of work yet to be done.  

What impresses me the most about this program is the outpouring of support and willingness to participate. We actually had more volunteers for mentors than we had those applying as mentees. These folks are the “best of the best,” and they are also the busiest, with the most on their plate. The sacrifices of their time, work, and money to help others for the greater good of all really shows what great folks these mentors are. I think this is a great program, and I am also, on a personal note, proud of all of the folks that are a part of this. This just goes to show what a great industry we have. 

I would like to thank Becky Berube, from United Catalyst Corporation, for her help in designing and laying out the nuts and bolts of this program. Thanks, Becky, we couldn’t have done this without you! 

In closing, this note was handed to me at our first Peer to Peer mentoring meeting in Orlando:  

“Every person owes time and money to the industry in which they are engaged. No one has a moral right to withhold his support from an organization that is striving to improve conditions within his sphere.” – Lawrie Beacham 

What wise words these really are! Those Aussies are pretty darn smart! We look forward to seeing you all in Charlotte in October.  

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