Indiana Certified Automotive Recyclers Exemplary Standards (INCARES)

ARI News – October/November 2014

The Indiana Auto Recycling Summit and Training this past weekend was a huge success. First off, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank Sandy Blalock, our Executive Director. Sandy has been an amazing addition to our association and she and the Board of Directors put together a fantastic event! Her motivation is second-to-none, her knowledge and experience are unrivaled, and her ability to put her head down and get results blows my mind. I view Sandy as a friend and a role model. We are fortunate to have her in Indiana. Thanks Sandy!!

Secondly, I would like to thank Mike James of James Environmental Management, Inc. for taking the time out of his busy schedule to support our Summit. Mike doesn’t know this, but I call him the “Godfather of Storm Water”. I don’t know anyone with more experience or who has had a bigger impact on the environmental side of the automotive recycling industry. It was a great opportunity for me to be able to pick Mike’s brain. Thank you Mike for making the trip and for your support!

I had the opportunity to speak on a panel with Mike James and Hani Sharaya from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s (IDEM) Compliance & Technical Assistance Program (CTAP). CTAP is a wonderful resource that we are lucky to have in Indiana. We had a great turn out for our panel – thanks to all of you for taking the time out to be there! I talked about our new Automotive Recyclers of Indiana (ARI) program called the Indiana Certified Automotive Recyclers Exemplary Standards (INCARES). VET is in the final stages of developing the program and I hope to be in full swing by mid-September.

Based on my experience in this industry, the benefits of involvement in certification programs is not always clear. Audits may not be thorough or comprehensive. Certification may not bring about improvements in business or compliance with environmental or safety standards. Most importantly, it is not made clear to member facilities what “right” looks like. All of these issues are symptoms of ineffective certification programs and they create the following problems:

1) Poorly conducted audits give members a false sense of security. You are told you passed the audit and are compliant when in actuality you may not be. This leaves your business vulnerable to violations, enforcement, and even fines from regulatory agencies.

2) The standard for the entire program is pulled down. If audits are not conducted with appropriate diligence and care, a number of unworthy yards may become certified. When a regulatory agency sees a poorly operated and maintained yard is certified, it harms the credibility of all member yards and of the association.

3) Members are not educated. A large part of this process (as I see it) is to teach the operator the proper way of doing business and maintaining compliance. I believe that it is the auditor’s duty to point out missteps but more importantly to provide solutions to gain compliance and maintain it.

4) A perception exists that certification is for sale. This could not be further from the truth! A facility should be certified based on its merits – how it operates. The fee covers the audit itself. It is the auditor’s responsibility to help any facility that wants to be certified to get certified. I will advise the facility on ways to correct issues that exist. If the money was the only requirement any yard in Indiana could, for a nominal fee, become certified. This would greatly damage the credibility of the Program, its members, and make the certification meaningless.

Keeping these problems in mind, my vision for INCARES is as follows:

Vision: Develop and maintain an organized, prestigious, and meaningful compliance program for Indiana’s best Automotive Recyclers by providing top-of-the-line consulting and environmental management.

The benefits of becoming an INCARES certified facility include peace of mind, training and education tailored for YOUR facility, recognition by ARI and VET (in writing and on the web), notification to IDEM of your certification, marketing materials and awards to display at your facility or on printed material/your website, and perhaps most importantly, membership in the most prestigious group of Indiana automotive recyclers.

As the program grows and our member facilities improve the benefits will also grow. I view it as an alliance of Indiana’s best automotive recyclers. As in any alliance, the team is stronger than any member could be individually. This will prove useful when lobbying for regulatory changes, or asking for lower rates from insurance companies, or asking IDEM to grant our certified yards some leeway because we’ve got it handled. The better our INCARES alliance, the easier it will be for us to fuel the changes we need in Indiana.

Building INCARES to be a prestigious and meaningful program is of the utmost importance if we want regulators and insurance companies to take it seriously. It is for that exact reason that I will safeguard certification for those facilities that deserve it. My job is to provide you with the tools you need to gain certification. Your job is to use those tools and make the changes needed. Once our alliance is formed, Sandy and the Board of Directors are locked and loaded to go after change with a group of steely-eyed bad asses standing shoulder-to-shoulder behind them.

I have never used inappropriate language in a newsletter before, but I just want you all to know that I mean it. I am passionate about this program and our association. I am committed to getting it right and making it count. I love this industry and I think we deserve better. I am tired of the “junkyard” mentality and label, as I know you are. We have a wonderful and unique opportunity to build something great. I will be making calls to our members to develop an understanding of what each member’s expectations are for the program. If you are ready now, please give me a call. I am excited about this program, I hope you are too!