Remarketing professionals from across the country explored key remarketing industry issues, including reconditioning, transportation, and vehicle arbitration, at the recent International Automotive Remarketers Association (IARA) Summer Roundtable. Held July 26-28 in San Diego, the conference featured roundtable discussions, panel presentations, and Six Sigma Yellow Belt training.

An event highlight was presentation of the IARA Remarketing Industry Recognition Award to Layne Weber, VP remarketing for Donlen, a Chicago-area-based fleet management company. Weber was honored for his contributions to IARA and his community volunteer efforts. Among his charitable activities, Weber has been instrumental in building the auto auction industry’s contributions to the “One Step at a Time” program, a summer camp experience for children undergoing cancer treatment.

Moderated by Don Fowler, DataScan Field Services, Dwight Grovum, Akinvest, and Steve Wheeler, ATC-Onlane, the Transportation Roundtable focused on improving available data on used-vehicle transport companies, instituting inspection exceptions, and building auction-transport company relationships. According to Matt Marks, IARA executive director, the organization will develop the subjects for its remarketing education program.

In the Reconditioning Roundtable, moderators Chuck Nix, Grand Rapids Auto Auction, and Jim Chapman, VRS, presented a wholesale reconditioning guide based on industry experts’ “best estimates.” Roundtable participants suggested IARA develop a tool to determine the specific value of reconditioning efforts.

Other conference events included a panel session on the National Auto Auction Association’s (NAAA) newly adopted standards on vehicle arbitration. Jane Morgan, from ADESA, moderated the session, accepting feedback from attendees. A dealer-centric panel presented the perspectives of several San Diego auto dealers and wholesalers on “Why I Buy (or don’t) Your Vehicles.”

Luncheon keynote speaker Richard Fenton urged the audience to “Go for No!” as a strategy for business success. Roundtable attendees also received Yellow Belt Six Sigma training. Bill Vermilyea, a Six Sigma black belt and SSEG Consulting principal, provided the introduction to the process management technique.

The IARA annual meeting and election of officers kicked off the conference. The elected 2006 slate of officers includes Layne Weber, president; Jim Chapman, VRS, vice-president; Mike Antich, Bobit Business Media, secretary; and Jean Rosati, Dent Wizard, treasurer.

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