ARA adds key industry professionals to the organization

The Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) announced the selection of Elizabeth Vermette to the position of director of government affairs, as well as the addition of Ginny Whelan, Betsy Beckwith and D.J. Harrington as three senior consultants to the organization.

Elizabeth Vermette, who joined ARA in December 2009, brings more than ten years of experience in government relations and public affairs to her new role as ARA director of government affairs. Her most recent position prior to ARA was with AAA’s National Office in Washington, D.C., working in government relations, specifically as the AAA director of state relations for the last five years. In that role, she worked with AAA clubs to create state-level safety and consumer campaigns, and directed the Association’s efforts at the national level. Under her leadership, one of AAA’s state-level legislative and public information campaigns were awarded Silver Anvil Awards from the Public Relations Society of America, the public relations profession’s most prestigious honor.

Ginny Whelan has worked in the automotive recycling industry for the past 35 years in various capacities. She was a principal owner in her family-owned full-service automotive recycling facility, as well as in a self-service automotive recycling facility and a mobile car crushing business. She launched the first branded automotive recycling trading group in the United States and Canada that started a trend in the industry.

Whelan served as ARA’s first woman president and was the first woman honored with a Lifetime Honorary Membership to ARA. She was president of the ARA Educational Foundation from 2004 to 2009 and currently serves as its managing director. She is the founder and managing director of ARA University (www.arauniversity.org), an online resource to educate the industry.

Betsy Beckwith, known for her efforts to develop the ECAR Center, an online environmental compliance resource for automotive recyclers, will expand her role with ARA, bringing a wealth of government relations knowledge and association management expertise. Her career began on Capitol Hill where she gained on-the-ground experience in the office of a New Jersey Congressman and on congressional committees responsible for issues relative to science and technology and merchant/marine fisheries. Following that, she became immersed in the professional association arena, representing the government relations interests of the health profession both in Washington, D.C., and in the states.

Interested in broadening her scope of work, Beckwith ventured into consulting. In 2006, ARA brought Beckwith on board to develop the ARA/Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joint venture, the ECAR Center, a role that she continues today as its manager. In this role, Beckwith has acquired key insights into the automotive recycling industry. She will continue to advance the interests of recyclers by strengthening relationships and networks in EPA and other agencies.

Beckwith combines her federal agency and congressional experience to assist ARA’s governmental affairs department on an ongoing basis. Together with Vermette, Beckwith will track legislative and regulatory measures that could affect the practices of automotive recyclers and work with members to advance their interests. Her focus will help ARA in their expanded monitoring of state and international issues.

In his consulting role with ARA, D.J. Harrington will focus on membership recruitment. Harrington is the president and chief executive officer of Phone Logic, Inc., an international training company based in Atlanta, Georgia. He serves as a consultant and trainer to over 1,000 privately owned businesses throughout the country. His years as a sales trainer and motivator for a variety of companies have provided Harrington with an outstanding background which be brings to his new role with ARA. Harrington is a longtime supporter of the ARA, and related automotive industries, and will be an asset to building the ARA organization to strengthen its efforts.