By Jeffrey Bellant

Used Car News Staff Writer

CINCINNATI - The International Automotive Remarketers Alliance (IARA) Summer Roundtable was held in Cincinnati July 25-27. The Summer Roundtable featured the first testing session for the IARA’s new Certificatied of Automotive Remarketing program.

All five modules of the remarketer certification program are available to those interested.

Matt Marks, IARA executive director, said the next scheduled testing cycle will be at the Conference of Automotive Remarketing (CAR) in Las Vegas in March 2008.

“However, we’ll also be releasing new courses in August and September, and each month thereafter,” Marks said.

Remarketers who can’t come to CAR have the option of taking the test through their local community college.

IARA President Layne Weber announced that 2007 also saw the addition of Manheim and ADESA to the group’s membership body.

Other recent additions to the membership include Citi Financial, Balboa Insurance, ARI Fleet and VW Credit, Weber said.

He added the IARA would like to boost membership by 10 percent in the coming year, with a focus on consignors.

The IARA also honored past President Steve Houston and other former IARA board members with special recognition awards recently.

Dave Alfonso, Kia Motors America’s national auction sales manager, presented the honors at a special luncheon during the 2007 IARA Summer Remarketing Roundtable.

“There’s been a lot said about the value of giving back,” Alfonso said. “The IARA Special Achievement awards have been handed out to people who have given back (to the industry).

“People who give back are special people. The IARA was founded on a desire to give back.”

Alfonso said the honorees have all added to the lives of others through the IARA.

Houston had a work commitment and missed the ceremony. Lou Verrengia, from ADESA, accepted the award on Houston’s behalf.

“Steve is proud of being at the ground level of this organization,” Verrengia said.

Houston served in various positions in the IARA, including vice president, president, and now chairman. Houston watched the group grow into the current organization, Verrengia said.

Recent changes have included the creation of a certified remarketers program and the addition of a British chapter of the IARA.

“He wanted to say he’s very proud,” Verrengia said. “He wanted to be here because you are not only his industry colleagues, but his friends.”

The IARA also honored four departing directors of the group, including Dent Wizard’s Jean Hitterdal-Rosati; John Possumato, CEO of Driveitaway; Chuck Nix, former general manager of Grand Rapids Auto Auction; and Stuart Angert, formerly of Fiserv Lending Solutions.

During the luncheon, the attendees heard a presentation from keynote speaker Tom Searcy, from The Whale Hunters LLC.

Searcy’s presentation focused on how businesses – even smaller companies – can capture large accounts by using techniques and strategies from Inuit whale hunters.