History

 

FADRA was granted incorporation in the state of Florida on January 8, 1975, and held its first convention in February of that year. Its founders were Hayden Haskins from Ocala, Ronnie Copher from Tampa, Vernon Mellette from Daytona Beach, Randall Spivey from Winter Haven, Joe Mora from Jacksonville, and Elliot Sharon from Bonifay. Vernon Mellette served as the organization's first President, and First Association Management Company provided the first management staff. J.B. Rogers, Jr., served as its first counsel and lobbyist. He served until 1985, when Jerry Foster became FADRA lobbyist.

A year later, IntraCom began managing FADRA, with Robert Schweiger as Executive Director. An 11-member Board of Directors was elected on January 31, 1976. FADRA presented a Salvage Dealer Licensing Bill to the Florida Legislature. It did not pass but initiated the FADRA legislative programs that is still active today. Ron Copher began as FADRA's first representative to the auto recycling industry's national organization, ADRA (Automotive Dismantlers & Recyclers Association, and now, since 19,93 ARA, the American Recyclers Association), in 1976. FADRA accepted the ADRA Code of Ethics in 1977.

In 1978, FADRA successfully passed several bills relating to the Florida Statutes, Chapter 319, in the Florida Legislature. These included the definition of a "rebuilt" vehicle ("A rebuilt vehicle is defined to mean a vehicle built from salvage and for which a title has been issued."), a change to the definition of a total loss from 75% to 70%, language dealing with vehicles coming from other states, and yard inspection language dealing with locating potentially stolen vehicles.


In 1981, FADRA began an affiliation with the Long Lines, which provided an avenue for members to sell parts. The Copher Central, Interstate, and Kempton Long Lines began an affiliation with FADRA until they were superseded in the mid-1990s by Internet-based parts services. The last one, the Southeast Long Line (SELL), dissolved in 2000.


In 1982, FADRA began a long association with Crow-Segal Management in Winter Park, FL, as its management company. Pat Crow-Segal served as Executive Director before passing it along to Marjorie Stealey, who served as AE until late 2005, when current Executive Director Kim O'Dell, CMP took over. She started O'Dell Management Group in 2013 with FADRA as her first client.


In 1983, FADRA held its first trade show, at the annual convention at the Holiday Inn Surfside in Clearwater Beach. Also that year, FADRA produced its first membership directory. The next year, "associate members" (vendors serving the auto recycling industry) gained full membership privileges for the first time.


In 1988, FADRA first developed the bill, and presented it successfully to the Florida Dept. of Motor Vehicles, asking that motor vehicles that are at least 80% damaged be considered unrebuildable and receive a salvage certificate. Such vehicles would never receive a certificate of title once they have been declared "parts only". The 80% threshold stood as the standard in Florida until 2014, when the state compromised it under pressure from some auction companies. That same year, Jim Talley took over as the FADRA lobbyist. The next year, sensitive to the growing problem of auto theft, worked closely with the Florida Auto Theft Intelligence unit on revisions to Florida Statutes 319.30 and 319.33 concerning vehicle identification and penalties for altering VIN numbers. An important towing bill passed in the 1989 Legislature, ensuring among other things that auto recyclers are no longer responsible for the ID plate.


In 1989, the organization named Jim Seamans a life member. Jim had owned a successful auto recycling yard in New Hampshire for many years before coming to Florida and starting a business that sold Hollander interchange manuals to Florida Automotive Recyclers from his home base in the Ft. Myers area. More than that, he became an evangelist for both FADRA and ADRA/ARA, Jim having been active in NATWA (North American Towers & Wreckers Association), the precursor to ADRA in the 1970s, and later ADRA itself. He remains a Board member and serves as the group's unofficial historian.


In 1990, Karen Chapman of All Auto in Ft. Myers became FADRA's first female president, followed in this distinction later by Rachel Rigsby Lare in 2010.


In 1991, FADRA added a full-time editor, Bobby Davis, to publish FADRA News, and he remains editor today. FADRA News includes stories and news about members, national industry developments, informational articles by industry experts and allied agencies such as the Florida DEP, convention reports and photos, and more, providing members with one of the best industry publications in the country.


Environmental issues became paramount in 1991-92. Freon certification and recycling became a major issue as further freon production was banned by the U.S. government because it contributes to ozone destruction. In addition, in 1992, Storm Water Runoff Certification was required by the EPA and Florida DEP. Thanks to George Gardner of Gardner's Auto Parts in Hollywood and other recyclers, FADRA has developed good relations with the state environmental organization, collaborating with them on promoting storm water permitting, a "Best Management Practices" document in 1994, and the Greenyards Program establishing stringent standards and recognizing yards with ideal environmental practices in 1998. Several yards were impacted by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, including Ben's Auto Parts in Homestead, which was destroyed.


Reflecting the growing importance of computerization to the industry, FADRA became the first association to hold a "Train the Trainer" electronics seminar. FADRA established a web site in 1996. The mid-'90s also saw the rise of consolidators Greenleaf and LKQ, which bought many yards as part of a national network. In 1998, Damron¹s Auto Salvage, perhaps the most successful yard in Florida, sold ownership of his yard to LQK. Later Copher brothers, another lifetime FADRA member, would sell their yard to Greenleaf, as would Garry's Auto Salvage.


In 1999, Mike and Sandra Moore of Moore's Auto Parts were hired as FADRA lobbyists, a service which they would perform until 2008, when Frank Mayernick of Colodny Fass in Tallahassee took over as lobbyist. Frank later went out on his own and was replaced by Trevor Mask of Colodny Fass in 2010.


In 1999, FADRA at last won passage of a bill eliminating the "unrebuildable" title and substituting a "certificate of destruction" in F.S. 319.30, a major victory for consumers and the auto recycling industry in Florida. The organization made a larger commitment to legislative affairs by starting its annual "Legislative Days" event in 2007, where members volunteer go to Tallahassee to meet directly with legislators to talk with them about industry issues and bills. No matter who is lobbyist, Steve Holland of Brandon Auto Salvage has served as Legislative Committee Chair, spending hundreds of hours of his own time meeting with legislators, representatives from DMV, law enforcement, and other agencies, and developing bill language and answering questions from members.

In 2006, IT came to Jim's Auto Salvage in Sebring, Florida. The brainchild of Bill Weaver of Weaver's Industrial Equipment, a longtime FADRA associate member who had moved to Virginia, IT was a stripped-down conference held at a host salvage facility that brought together owners, salespeople, dismantlers, and their families in a fun and educational time. An auction that raised enough funds to support the meeting and help the host state association culminated the event. As a result of IT coming to Florida that year, FADRA decided to hold its annual meeting on a cruise ship instead of the usual hotel site, and to start the FADRA Scholarship Program. A committee was established to award five $1000 scholarships annually to the children of FADRA member firm's employees or adult learners who were attending college. The Scholarship Program has been a service near and dear to the hearts of members, and winers attend the convention each year to share their good fortune with the association and thank the members for their support.


In 2015, FADRA returned its convention to the Sheraton Sand Key in Clearwater Beach, a place the group had met several times before but not since 2005. For its 40-Year Anniversary Celebration, founders Vernon Mellette, Ron Copher, Elliot Copher, and Chuck Haskins, brother of the deceased Hayden Haskins, attended the closing banquet. It was an emotional event for everyone.

 


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