Jeremy Louisos of Preowned Auto Logistics talks to Tony Long of the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance about the 2022 IARA Summer Roundtable to find out more about its presenters and attendees, as well as getting tips for making the most of this automotive industry conference.
Jeremy Louisos: Hi, my name is Jeremy Louisos, and I’m here today with Tony Long, Executive Director for the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance, or IARA. Our topic today is the IARA Summer Roundtable 2022, an event for sharing ideas and updates in the quickly evolving auto industry, and discovering today’s strategies for tomorrow’s success. Welcome, Tony.
Tony Long: Thanks, Jeremy. It’s always great to be here with you. You of course, are one of our more active members on our committee work, and have a good understanding of what we’re all about. Hopefully, we can share that with the audience today.
What is the IARA Summer Roundtable?
Jeremy: That’s what I’m hoping as well, Tony, and thank you so much for joining us. It has been one of those conversations I’ve looked forward to. Your background with this organization has been inspirational for me personally, so I’m very much looking forward to our conversation today. For those new to the IARA Summer Roundtable, what is this event all about?
Tony: Well, the Roundtable is pretty much exactly what the name implies. The organizational structure of the IARA, or the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance, is to bring all segments of the industry together – give everybody a seat at the table, so to speak. We do that, not only at our meetings, but organizationally as a membership organization. We have people from all segments serving on boards, committees, even at the executive level.
Our primary constituents are, of course, the consignors. We call ourselves the voice of the consignor, but that includes everybody that does business with our consignors. They serve in the presidential role, but from there down, you’ll see logistics companies, tech companies, auctions, other kinds of service suppliers, just everybody that has something to do with moving those cars through the wholesale pipeline.
What’s Different About This Year’s Event?
Jeremy: That’s awesome. For those returning to the event, what may be different this year than in previous years?
Tony: It’s bigger. We’re bound to have a record breaking event here in Nashville, and it’s just amazing to see. We had an overflow hotel that we had to bring into the picture. We’re at the downtown Hilton, right there at the backside of Broadway, but a nearby sister hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn is providing overflow room, and I know a lot of companies are staying there.
So, we have, obviously, a big draw this year. One of our chief keynote speakers, Ernie Garcia, CEO of Carvana who’s in the news daily, and all over the scene. A lot of people are curious, mainly because not only is he a great speaker, but because they acquired the ADESA Auctions in the US this year. And so, everybody’s curious to see what they have to say. Another one of our active members, John Combs, on our board for ADESA, will be basically interviewing his new boss in a fireside chat.
A lot of other great speakers that we have on the agenda. Economists Tom Kontos, Jonathan Smoke, Dr. Alex Yurchenko. Cybersecurity is another subject we’re getting into. And, you’ll just see a lot of other service providers speaking. I know the CIO of Parkmyfleet will be speaking about mobility hubs. So, really the cutting edge topics that are out there, E-mobility with Felipe Smolka. I mean, there’s just one good speaker after another. You don’t want to blink. You don’t want to step out in the hall, you’ll miss something great.
CAR Conference vs IARA Summer Roundtable
Jeremy: Yeah, that’s tremendous. I had the opportunity this past year at the CAR Conference to see some of those names, some of those economists were there. And I guess I’d be curious, as someone who attended that event, how does that event compare to this event? How does the CAR Conference compare to the Summer Roundtable?
Tony: Well, as you know, we partner with our sister organization, National Auto Auction Association, which is an area I hail from. I used to be their president back in ’03, ’04, and spent a lot of years, 20 years of my career, with them. We have a really close relationship and we find common ground topics that are pertinent to the auction industry, and the consignors as well. So, we take on a little different view there.
There’s exhibit halls and things like that going on. This one is a little more personal. We often refer to it as a boutique meeting, because it’s a niche group of decision makers. You’ll find a lot of the key executives, directors, and VP level types who attend this meeting. Doesn’t take you a lot to find who you’re looking for, in the cozy type of atmosphere that we conduct there.
But this is more consignor concentric. It’s all things IARA. We have a consignor only meeting, where they kind of let their hair down, so to speak, and talk about things, pain points that they experience in the field. And we try to come up with solutions, or maybe new ideas that will just make the world a better place for all of us in the remarketing industry. So, yeah. We get a lot done at these meetings and most of the content that we take out to places like the CAR Conference, or if we have panelists or speakers going to Used Car Week and other venues. I know I just got back recently from the Used Car Week up in Canada, and we even cross the border with a lot of these topics. But the Summer Roundtable is our premier event. It’s the main conference for IARA members, and a place where we get a lot of the internal business done.
Who Attends the IARA Summer Roundtable?
Jeremy: That’s great. You had mentioned, at the onset, the diversity of members that are included with the IARA, and you’ve highlighted some great speakers and really the focus around the consignor. What type of folks attend this IARA Summer Roundtable? Is it a similar group?
Tony: Yeah, it is. Of course, we’re an open door society, and understandably there, and for whatever reasons, there are a lot of different, good associations out there, that it may be restricted to just new car dealers or used car dealers, or auctions or whatever. And, those have their place. Obviously, the idea of sellers trying to get cars to all these different venues, is maybe not be quite so competitive in nature, and allows us to bring anybody and everybody that’s a part of the business into a larger discussion. So we have online venues. Yes, we have the brick and mortar auctions that are so valuable to us. And we have the service providers, whether it be condition reports, inspections, logistics companies, just any number of suppliers that help us do our jobs. We welcome everybody to the meeting.
That’s one of the things that we try to do with our car certification, and you probably were going there, and I don’t mean to get ahead of you. But the car certification program that we have brought to be the gold standard for the industry in remarketing, gives a 30,000 foot view of all these different jobs that are being done out there to make it happen. If you’re in the title department and you don’t understand what’s happening at the grounding dealer, or maybe at the auction, or anything in between, we touch on all of that. There’s actually some new logistics pieces that are being added to that as we speak.
So, we try to include and allow everyone to see the other guys’ pain points. What that lady in the titling department might be doing, or what she might be doing as a GM at an auction. Or, if we have some fellow driving the truck down the road, we want to address and educate all of our members, so that they’ll have a better understanding of who they’re dealing with, when they’re trying to transact business. So, the car certification is one of those things.
Something we’ll be announcing at this particular meeting is a new training initiative, called ACT, or Audit and Compliance Training, which with our banks we have…of course, most of the major banks interact with IARA. So, with the new KY3P audits, the Know Your Third Party audits, there’s a lot of requirements to that, to not only do your own employees receive annual training, but the service providers, the third parties that you use, must also provide their employees annual training on these compliance issues. So, it’s something we’re digging into and will continue to monitor, and keep an eye on the regulatory environment.
Jeremy: Well, that’s great. I picked up on a point that I discussed recently with the folks at Auto Transport Intel, which I believe actually both of us will be on their show this week as well. So, I’ll see you there.
Tony: Yeah. Tomorrow night, actually.
What Are You Most Looking Forward to at the Event?
Jeremy: Yes. Tomorrow night. And, so that actually might come out before this is released. To anyone listening along, this would be Tuesday, the 9th of August. But when I was on the show recently, we were talking about just the importance of though we’re a niche part of the industry doing logistics, that it’s so important to understand all those other pieces. And so for anyone considering that car certification, it just seems to be such a valuable piece to the puzzle for just everybody. Anyone who’s connected to the ecosystem. So, Tony, as someone who is no stranger to this event, what are you most looking forward to at the Summer Roundtable?
Tony: Well, we had such a shutdown over COVID and we were one of the fortunate groups, that we had a record breaking virtual conference that kind of set the pace, and opened the door for a lot of other people to do some similar ventures. Just an astounding success. But, there’s nothing like that face-to-face interaction in the hallways, reacquainting yourself with old friends, forging those relationships. There’s no telling how many business relationships and partnerships are formed at these meetings. And, you have the right people there to do that.
I was at another conference, where I first met with Penny Wanna and the Auction Academy. And we became part of the curriculum, the car certification courses, for the Auction Academy. All their people graduate now. They come out of there CAR certified. So, you see the little brass lapel pins that everybody wears at the conferences, that says CAR and everybody wants one, but it takes some work to do it. We have formed, even as an association, we’ve come up with new ideas and formed partnerships just by having lunch with somebody or running into to them in the hallways. Just being with one another and the exchange of ideas, the open banter, that sometimes moves a lot faster than email. We’re able to get things moving in a quicker direction.
What Advice Do You Have for IARA Summer Roundtable Attendees?
Jeremy: That’s great. And, lastly here, Tony, what advice would you give to attendees, looking to get the most out of this experience?
Tony: Oh, one thing is that our committee meetings are open to everyone. So when you see membership committee, or a technology committee, don’t yawn real big and think, “Oh, that doesn’t involve me. There’s nothing in there.” We have gone to each of our committees and instructed them to choose a topic of interest that they would deal with in their committee structure. So you’re not only going to be able to take a look at who’s on the committee, see if that’s somewhere you want to plug in, but you can also hear them discuss something like what they would be dealing with through the years. So, a lot of these committees meet once a month. Some of them meet as often as once a week. We have very active committees, and that’s the best way to get really involved in the association, and forge some of those relationships that will prove valuable to you down the road.
How to Connect
Jeremy: That’s awesome. This has been great, Tony. Thank you so much for bringing us through this. For those looking to connect with you or the IARA Summer Roundtable, how best might they do that?
Tony: Absolutely. First thing, come to Nashville, August 16th through the 18th. Be part of the Summer Roundtable, with all the excitement and the people that are going to be there. We’ve already got more people registered than have ever attended any IARA Summer Roundtable. So, we’re very happy about that, but also go to iara.biz. At iara.biz, soon we’re going to be unveiling a brand new website redesign. We’re excited about that. It will be in conjunction with the unveiling of the ACT training program. Obviously, CAR certification can still be found on the site, and all the convention information. So, visit iara.biz. If you have any questions, my phone number is 865-805-[five nine five four]. You can call and speak to the executive director. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll put you with somebody who does.
Jeremy: You cannot do any better than that. Thank you so much, Tony. It’s been a real pleasure. I really appreciate you taking the time.
And you can catch the PAL Team next week at the IARA Summer Roundtable in beautiful downtown Nashville, and at any time at preownedautologistics.com. Thanks for listening.