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
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superseded in the mid-1990s by Internet-based parts services.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
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
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.
FADRA - Proud Affiliate State
Chapter of the ARA.