Toronto, Ontario -- September 10, 2018 -- From owning a recycling facility, to training college students on the finer points of public speaking, Paul D'Adamo's career was split between two very different worlds. That all changed when Rebuilders Automotive Supply (RAS) approached him with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring both parts of his professional life together - and to do some good while he was at it. He was asked to traverse North America, educating members of the automotive industry about the dangers posed by Takata's airbags, and letting them know how removing them from vehicles wasn't just the right thing to do, but profitable as well.
As a result Paul D'Adamo became The Recall Guy, tasked with traversing North America, building awareness about the dangers posed by Takata's faulty airbags and educating industry members about the need to safely remove them. A leader in the battle protect drivers from death-by-airbag shrapnel, D'Adamo has worked tirelessly to ensure that the world's largest-ever recall is a success.
Collision Repair: Why don't you start by telling us a bit about the scale of the Takata recall, and how it came about?
Paul D’Adamo: Well, it is the largest automotive recall in history, and there aren't many auto makers who didn't have exposure to it. Because they had the right price-point, Takata's airbags were used a lot of vehicles. There were about 50 million of them on the road. They are in vehicles by 20 makers, and in 133 different models made in a 15-year period.
Collision Repair: What is the danger with the airbags?
Paul D’Adamo: If a driver gets into an accident, they expect the airbag to protect them. They usually do. The problem with these bags is that, if they malfunction, they can send shrapnel through the vehicle. The first instance was recorded in 2004, but the recall effort was slow to get off the ground. It only gained traction in 2011 through 2014.
These airbags could kill anyone. I want to make sure recyclers doing the right thing and remove them properly. As an immediate concern, you don't want to be the guy who sells the airbag that kills someone. There are also larger industry implications if we don't act.
Collision Repair: What was it about the role that drew you to it?
Paul D’Adamo: My stock-and-trade is in public speaking. I have a masters of communication, and have taught public speaking and presentation skills at two colleges. I've been in the auto recycling business for 28 years, and when RAS suggested that I could use my public speaking skills to help keep people safe... well, I was excited about it – and I’ve been called a millennial in a boomer’s body.
Collision Repair: What strategies have you adopted to get the message across?
Paul D’Adamo: We’ve pursued a multi-pronged campaign, which included me branding myself ‘The Recall Guy,’ and RAS using a hashtag – #YankThatBag. When it comes to my speeches, I try to use guilt, fear, honour—whatever works! You never know what is going to be the one thing to get people to realize the importance.