MOST INFLUENTIAL FAMILY



The Spaldings, Spalding Auto Parts, Washington

PHOTO: NORTHWEST IMAGES PHOTOGRAPHY

There are those who have made a name for themselves in the auto recycling industry, and then there are the Spaldings … the Northwest's first family of auto recycling.

Founded in 1934 by Dolph and Thelma Spalding, Spalding Auto Parts in Spokane Valley, Wash. is one of the most well known auto recycling facilities in the area. Dolph and Thelma's son Max Spalding currently runs the business (Dolph is deceased; Thelma still goes to the business daily) with his wife Ellen, their son Russ Spalding and his wife Jody. Russ & Jody's two daughters Meghan Setzer and Shelbie Spalding have most recently joined the ranks.

"Their longevity makes them influential," said Billy Roberts, owner of Roberts Salvage, Inc., Moffett, Okla. "They've been in the business for years. They hold the business to the highest ethical standards and have made it an example for everybody to strive to be what they are."

Nobody knows the Spaldings like Dave Kokot, partner and general manager, employed at Spalding Auto Parts for 37 years. "They have a deep passion for auto recycling," he said. "And when you have passion, the natural tendency is to make great things happen, and they have."

For example, the Spalding family took the 2009 CARS program (aka Cash For Clunkers) challenge head-on. Instead of waiting on the dealerships, the business catered to them. Kokot said Spalding Auto Parts created an area on its web site (Spaldings.com) where dealers could enter clunker vehicles, eliminating the need to call the business directly. Salvage buyers at Spalding Auto Parts e-mailed them a bid within 10 minutes. That type of planning and ingenuity influences other auto recyclers.

"We did have an awful lot of recyclers call us and ask what we were doing," said Kokot. "And we were excited to answer those questions."

The Spaldings industry camaraderie doesn't surprise Roberts, who has known Max for years. He and Max are both ARA past presidents.

"They've always been on the cutting edge and they share information with fellow recyclers," he said. "The entire family is dedicated to advancing the association and furthering the industry."

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