15 Minutes with David Gold
Spend just a few minutes with David Gold, and you can’t help but admire his energy and enthusiasm. It’s what has helped to propel this highly respected and seasoned recycler to the helm of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), where he earned the title of president this past November. Currently, David is Executive Vice President and President of Fenix Parts Canada. Like many others, he grew up in the industry, and now he’s fully prepared to give back. We spent 15 minutes with David recently to find out what’s in store during his term.
How long have you been active in the industry? In ARA?
I’ve been around this industry for a long time. I go to every trade show; I’m always involved in everything. It’s a passion. I love the industry — and the people. I’ve been involved in ARA for the past 20 years, in various forms, serving on committees such as e-commerce which I later chaired. I was regional director for eastern Canada. I was secretary, second vice president and first vice president. I’ve always had a strong desire to give back to the association, and I fully understand the call for duty.
How has serving on the ARA executive committee prepared you for the presidency?
For the last three years, while my own company was going through a transition, I participated on the ARA Executive Committee. The process is invaluable. You get a very good sense that once the gavel is passed, that you can create real change. This is about continuity. This group, the one preceding us, and the one to follow, are all united in the same vision.
What are your primary goals as ARA president?
I believe this is a crucial time for ARA. We need to collaborate as an ARA executive committee and involve the membership. A lot of members may not feel appreciated, and it couldn’t be farther than the truth. We want to hear your voice. We want to bring smart stakeholders to the table, whether it’s recyclers, trade groups, vendors or others. Anyone who has an interest should have a voice. This is a goal that I’m going to work very hard to accomplish.
How do you plan to achieve those goals?
The ARA staff is a crucial part of our success. They’re smart, knowledgeable and articulate. It is incumbent upon us to provide clear direction with desired outcomes. They get a different boss every year, and that can be difficult. They’re ready to go to work for us, and we need to utilize their expertise. I’m also planning on engaging our stakeholders in many different ways: face-to-face, meetings, webinars, advisory councils, etc. We welcome anyone who wants to help further our cause.
What are some of the biggest legislative issues facing the auto recycling industry today?
The legislative side dominates a lot of what we do, and issues certainly vary from state to state. One overarching issue is processing end-of-life vehicles. How are recyclers going to get access to data so that they can properly dismantle a vehicle? How will we handle recalls? What information could be provided so that our management systems communicate with the OEMs? This speaks to the future of our industry and so it must be solved on some level. Of course, none of the main issues will be easily solved, but we’ll look for small victories if necessary.
What are some of the biggest challenges in the industry now? How do you plan to combat them?
One of the largest challenges as an industry is understanding the complexity of the vehicles to follow. They are essentially computers on wheels and they’re not intuitive. We don’t have the training and we need access to information. Hollander and OEM numbers have been here forever. But going forward, they may not fit the new cars. We’ll need to get some clarity on the future “language” of our industry, including further knowledge of how to adapt our inventory management systems. If we can collaborate on a singular part code language, we can communicate — and more effectively do our job. We could share data through third party open systems. Point-of-sale inventory management systems are going to be crucial to our success. We don’t want to get to the point where we can’t handle a vehicle at end-of-life because there’s always a new technological twist.
What will your pet project be as ARA president?
My goal to bring recyclers and other stakeholders together — to get on the same page. We’re not each other’s competitors; in fact, we need and can benefit from, each other. The recycling community is a family that needs to unite. We’ll sit around the table and we’ll do this consistently. I’ll be reaching out to past presidents, recyclers, vendors, anyone who’s interested to participate in our ARA calls. I want to help ignite the passion for our industry and to go forth with a common message. I am personally available anytime for anyone. I work 6-7 days a week; this industry is a labor of love for me. This is a tremendous honor, and I feel an equally tremendous responsibility to do right by the association and our members.
What can ARA members expect from your presidency?
They can expect a different ARA than what they’re used to. There’s going to be outreach to everyone as we desire to grow the membership and bring tangible real world value. We’re all in for a challenge but we’re going to enjoy it. Next year, I’d like to see our meeting bigger than ever before. I want to put the passion back with engaged recyclers. We are an influential association, and we can make a real difference.