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Welcome to RIPA’s newsletter  “RIPA in the News”.  This electronic format enables the association to provide you with timely information about the industry and the association’s activities. 

Paul Rankin, President      C.L. Pettit, Technical Director
Rick Schweitzer, Counsel      Bonnie Cunningham, Meetings & Events

May 2024 EDITION

Table of Contents

  • Chair's Message
  • Technical Conference Roundup
  • U.S. EPA Seeking More Info'
  • New RIPA Members
  • U.S. Dept. of Labor on Overtime
  • RIPA Board Seat Special Election
  • U.S. Trade Commission on Non-Compete

Save the Dates

RIPA Annual Conference & Supplier Expo
    Wed October 16 - Fri October 18, 2024
    In Conjunction w/ IPANA Annual Conf'
    St. Regis Hotel Houston, TX


       Chair’s Message 
               -  Eric Bernath

The Technical Conference this year was my first conference in the role of RIPA Chair, I can tell you that the proceedings seen from the “inside” are at once exciting, complex and rewarding.   
It was great to see so many enthusiastic attendees turn out for the event.   The host city of Newport, RI stands out as a unique location in our long history of conferences. The historic city in our nation’s smallest state had a lot to offer, from the water views and the sailboats on Narraganset Bay, to the Gilded-Age mansions along the popular Cliff Walk.    The Hotel Viking is timeless, and its staff and amenities are top-notch.   It was fun to see so many members bring family and friends to enjoy a slightly extended stay. 

I want to thank our Event Planner, Bonnie Cunningham, and all the RIPA staff for putting it all together.  Also, thanks to the RIPA Supplier Members. They play a special role in the Spring Technical Conference.  The evening reception they sponsored was an excellent event, allowing us all time to catch up with old friends and network with new attendees.   At the Supplier Meeting in Newport, they developed plans to step up their role at the RIPA Annual Conference – this year in Houston in mid-October.   In addition to the long-standing Suppliers Exposition, the Supplier group this year will be looking to sponsor or co-sponsor a social event or some of the food-and-beverage events. 

The Main Program and its featured speakers in Newport were among the best I can recall.  In particular, a presentation on Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) and its real-world use in providing accounting services to small businesses drew a great amount of attention and praise.   Attendees also heard from both RIPA Counsel and a senior official from U.S. DOT on how to be prepared for an inspection by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). 

Members were treated to a summary of major regulatory issues facing the industry today - particularly as relates to the U.S. EPA’s efforts to regulate the reconditioning industry as hazardous waste management facilities.  Additionally, members participated in a session on generational business issues and matters of succession planning.   Attendees also heard from an esteemed panel of RIPA members on how and why they get the most from their RIPA membership.    To conclude the program, members in attendance obtained their 3-year refresher training required under the hazmat regulations – complete with the required Certificate of Training.

Over the next several months, I plan to focus on ways to generate increased participation in the association by new and younger members.  This will be a central theme of my tenure as Chair because I believe it is vital to the future of the association and our businesses to develop tomorrow’s leaders. 

Next up:  The Annual Conference and Suppliers Exposition at the St. Regis Hotel, October 16-18, in Houston, Texas!  Also, keep in mind that, if you are so inclined, there is a one-day, one-evening Board of Directors meeting in late July in downtown Chicago.   Any voting RIPA member can attend as an Observer.  There is typically a highly enjoyable dinner the night before the meeting at a notable downtown hotspot.   The exact dates will be available soon.

Thanks for your continued support!

Smooth Sailing at the 2024 RIPA Technical Conference

Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the nation – it occupies just over 1,200 square miles of land and has a population of about 1.2 million people - but it boasts a rich colonial history and its physical beauty is extraordinary.

Much of that beauty was on display in early May when 80 RIPA members gathered in the historic town of Newport to talk about the latest industry news and hear several great speakers discuss topics as diverse as the many uses of artificial intelligence (AI) in business accounting and family business succession planning.

The event got off to a great start on Sunday evening with the Supplier’s Reception in the elegant  Hotel Viking, which is located in the heart of the City’s historic district. As usual, much of the talk was casual - renewing old acquaintances and catching up on industry affairs - but there was  also plenty of discussion about the latest efforts by EPA to regulate reconditioners' business operations.

On Monday morning, newly elected RIPA chair Eric Bernath officially opened the conference by thanking members for supporting the organization his chairmanship. He said he would work hard to grow and strengthen the association during his tenure. He is looking forward to working with fellow officers, David Levine, Vice Chair and Mike Stephen, Treasurer, as well as the entire Board, in the coming years.

A special "shout out" to our Global Events and Meeting Planner, Bonnie Cunningham.  She's always there with a friendly greeting and a special assist to make your event most meaningful and enjoyable.   


U.S. EPA Seeks Additional Information from the U.S. Reconditioning Industry

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a Notice on April 24, 2024 asking for public comment on its request to the U.S. federal budget agency  to collect information on operations and management practices from container reconditioners operating in the U.S.   Comments are due on or before June 24, 2024.

Recipients of the questionnaire will be required to respond.
The Agency plans to send a 59 question, 25-page survey to all U.S. reconditioners. The purpose  of the questionnaire is to confirm the number of reconditioning facilities operating in the U.S. and obtain information about:

 Facility operations,
 Security,
 Employee safety,
 Air emissions,
 Waste and wastewater discharges.

According to RIPA President, Paul Rankin, “It is a foregone conclusion that the budget agency will grant EPA's  request.  However, the questionnaire can still be revised. Therefore, RIPA plans to review,  thoroughly, each question and file comments.”

Together, with the draft questionnaire, the Agency released an “Information Collection Request: Supporting Statement", which seeks to explain to the federal budget agency (OMB)  why the proposed industry survey is necessary and that it can be performed in a cost effective manner.

“RIPA remains concerned that EPA continues to rely upon the "Drum Reconditioner Damage Case  Report" (“Report”) as the basis of its regulatory efforts,” said Rankin. He said that RIPA’s  comments will reflect the association’s view that the "Report" is flawed, contains large numbers of  cases involving reconditioning facilities that operated prior to 1980, and cites numerous  “damage” cases involving non-RCRA waste compliance issues.

RIPA plans to conduct a national, virtual meeting with members to discuss the purpose and scope of the questionnaire before it is sent out by EPA.


RIPA New Members (2024)

New Reconditioner Member
Coastal Container Services
892 County Road 281
Alvin, TX  77511
Mr. Bryan Wallace, Managing Partner

New Canadian Reconditioner

Enviro Containers
5200 Blindman Drive,
Red Deer County, AB   T4S 2M4
Mr. Jerry Bechtold

New Supplier Member
6000 N Teutonia Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53209
Mr. Peter Apostoluk, Packaging                Engineering
Department of Labor Increases Threshold for Overtime Exemption  - Takes effect July 1, 2024

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a final rule that will increase the threshold compensation amounts for employees to be exempt from requirements for overtime pay. The rule goes into effect July 1, 2024.   Employees are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime protections if they are employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity, as those terms are defined in DOL regulations.

To fall within the EAP exemption, an employee generally must meet three tests:
  • be paid a salary, meaning that they are paid a predetermined and fixed amount that is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of work performed;
  • be paid at least a specified weekly salary level; and
  • primarily perform executive, administrative, or professional duties, as provided in the Department’s regulations.
An alternative-exemption test will be available for certain highly compensated employees who are paid a salary, earn above a higher total annual compensation level, and satisfy a minimal duties test. The final rule will increase the standard salary level and the highly  compensated employee total annual compensation threshold on the rule’s effective date (July 1, 2024) and on January 1, 2025, when changes in the methodologies used to calculate these levels become applicable.

These levels (shown below) will be reviewed every three years to reflect current earnings data.   Anyone in those employment categories making less than the threshold amount must be paid  overtime of at least time and a half for all hours worked over 40 hours per week.

Date Standard Salary Level Highly Compensated Employees

Before July 1, 2024 $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year)   $107,432 per year, including at least $684 per week paid on a salary or fee basis.

July 1, 2024 $844 per week (equivalent to  $43,888 per year)  $132,964 per year, including  at least $844 per week paid on a salary or fee basis.

January 1, 2025 $1,128 per week (equivalent to $58,656 per year) $151,164 per year, including at least $1,128 per week paid  on a salary or fee basis.

July 1, 2027, and every 3 years thereafter.   To be determined by applying to available data the methodology used to set the salary level in effect at the time of the update.    To be determined by applying to available data the methodology used to set the salary level in effect at the  time of the update.
RIPA Board Election 2024    Special Open-Seat Election

The results of the recent Special Election to fill Mr. Phil Dworsky’s vacated Board seat are in and Mr. Brandon O’Bryan of O’Bryan Barrel Co. has been elected to the Board. 
Thank you to the other individuals who put their names in nomination for the open seat, Ed Bash, Ryland Burch, Gabe Fauvelle and Bobby Sandoval.  The fact that five of your fellow members were hoping to gain a seat on the Board indicates the association is healthy and vibrant.
In accordance with RIPA's  bylaws, Mr. O'Bryan will begin his Board term immediately and serve until 12/31/2024, at which time the seat will re-open. 
U.S. FTC Bans Non-Compete Agreements

In a 3-2 vote along partisan lines, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) adopted a final rule to ban new non-compete agreements for all workers as of the effective date of the rule, which will be 120 days after publication in the Federal Register. The rule will also ban enforcement of existing non-compete agreements in effect on the effective date of the rule for all workers except senior executives.

The rule applies to all employees and independent contractors but does not include franchisees in a franchise relationship. The rule exempts non-compete agreements as part of the sale of a business entity. Unlike the proposed rule, the final rule does not require a 25% ownership stake to exempt non-competes in a business sale.

A senior executive is defined as a worker who makes at least $151,164 per year and is in a policy making position. The term “policy making position” includes a business entity’s president, chief executive officer or the equivalent, any other officer of a business entity who has policy-making authority, or any other natural person who has policy-making authority for the business entity similar to an officer with policy-making authority.

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Annapolis, MD 21401

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