December 2016

In This Issue:

RD Hopper Is New ARA President

RD Hopper, owner of Sonny’s Auto Salvage, Jacksonville, Ark., was welcomed as the new president of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) at the organization’s 73rd annual Convention and Exposition in Baltimore, Md. Prior to his installment, Hopper served as Secretary, Second Vice President and First Vice President of ARA and will now play a leading role to help guide and shape the Association’s initiatives and direction.

“I am honored to take the reins as ARA’s next president, but more importantly, I am honored to work for ARA members and all professional automotive recyclers, to help sustain and grow this wonderful industry,” said Hopper, after accepting the president’s gavel from outgoing President Mike Swift, of Des Moines, Iowa. During the evening ceremony in Baltimore, Hopper thanked his wife of 30 years, Jennifer, and his three children, sons Blake, 28, and Alex, 15 and daughter Anna, 12.

Hopper has been an active member of ARA and the Arkansas Automotive Dismantlers and Recyclers Association (AADRA) for many years. He has served as president of AADRA and has worked on the ARA’s Government Affairs Committee.

The full-service Sonny’s Auto Salvage, which Hopper bought in 1998, specializes in providing green recycled parts for reuse in the service and repair of vehicles in both their local market and nationwide.

Hopper said he will continue ARA’s strong work to push legislation, HR 5967, to require auto manufacturers to provide consumers all part names, part numbers and build sheet data specific to individual vehicle identification numbers (VINs).

ARA Presents Member Awards At Show

If there was one overriding theme during the 73rd annual ARA Convention and Exposition, it would have to be passion, according to the association.

“I do have a love and a passion for this industry,” said RD Hopper upon taking the president’s gavel from Mike Swift during the Awards Dinner Friday night. “This industry has blessed me every day.” He noted that while in New York for the Automotive Recyclers Association of New York annual meeting, he said “I saw the young people in that state with a passion” for the recycling industry. Something he says will be the focus of his year-long term. “My job is to make sure we help those people, who for the first time, give them the opportunity to own their own yards.”

Before handing over the reins to Hopper, Swift noted the late Randy Reitman once told him, “You will meet the most fantastic people - and I did.”

The gavel passing Friday night highlighted the 73rd annual event that featured more than 105 exhibitors, and had more than 800 ARA members in attendance.

The convention also featured many international members from Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom. It also featured a contingent from Poland who capped off their tour of the East Coast of the United States by attending the ARA meeting. The group’s leader, Marta Witkowska, said during the awards dinner, “This is a big thank you. You were most generous with your invitation and we would like to invite you to our country and show you our facilities.”

The United Kingdom dominated the awards Friday night, with Jason Cross, of FAB Recycling in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom, winning the ARA Member of the Year Award (“It’s not me it’s the entire team,” he said later) and Allen Prebble, of Silverlake Automotive Recycling in Hampshire, United Kingdom, taking home the President’s Award. Chad Counselman, the incoming ARA Secretary, was honored as the Regional Director of the Year, Carolina Auto Recyclers of Angier, N.C. was named Affiliate Chapter of the Year, and Northlake Auto Recyclers of Hammond, Ind., was named CAR member of the Year. Walt’s Auto, Inc., of Springfield, Ohio was presented the Gold Seal Award and Ron Sturgeon was presented the Lifetime Honorary Member award. Mike French accepted the award for Sturgeon who was in Burma.

Veldman’s Awarded Indiana Clean Yard-Gold Level

Roman Veldman and Wayne Veldman, owners of Veldman’s Auto Parts, Inc., were awarded the Indiana Clean Yard - Gold Level by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) on November 2. Veldman’s Auto Parts, Inc., located in South Bend, Ind., was given the award in recognition of the company’s efforts to protect the environment.

IDEM is committed to helping auto recyclers ensure environmental protection. IDEM has partnered with Automotive Recyclers of Indiana (ARI) to develop a recognition program to reward auto salvage yard operators that meet two different levels of requirements. This program is called Indiana Clean Yard, and the awards are called Indiana Clean Yard and Indiana Clean Yard - Gold Level.

To pursue either of the Indiana Clean Yard recognitions, auto recycling facilities contact IDEM for an environmental self-evaluation checklist. After correcting any problems as determined by the checklist, the yard becomes eligible for IDEM’s Indiana Clean Yard award. The Indiana Clean Yard - Gold Level status is a higher certification level that signifies the auto salvage facility has gone above and beyond required regulations and voluntarily implemented measures to ensure greater protection of air, land and water.

IDEM launched its current initiative for auto recycling facilities in 2007 with a State Innovative Grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. IDEM staff members have since conducted hundreds of inspections around the state to help steer Indiana’s 650-plus auto salvage recyclers toward better environmental stewardship and encourage their compliance.

To register or receive more information about the Indiana Clean Yard and Indiana Clean Yard - Gold Level awards, call (800) 451-6027. Auto salvage recyclers can obtain free, confidential compliance assistance and request confidential site visits by contacting IDEM’s Office of Compliance and Technical Assistance (CTAP) at (800) 988-7901. For more information, visit the IDEM Clean Yard Program web page at or the IDEM auto salvage program web page at

January 2017 Deadlines

  • November 30, 2016: Listings for The Locator Magazine.

  • December 5, 2016: Display ads for The Locator Magazine.

  • December 8, 2016: The Locator Magazine goes to press

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