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Nick Fiore: Driving Fenix Parts Forward with Lean Process Management and Employee Development

Auto Recycling World recently had the opportunity to talk with Nick Fiore, Regional Vice President at Fenix Parts, a leading recycler and reseller of original equipment manufacturer automotive parts. In this interview, Nick shares his journey into the auto recycling industry, his career growth within the industry, and Fenix Parts’ core values, which prioritize lean process management, employee development, and creating opportunities for hard-working individuals regardless of their education and experience.

 

Nick Fiore: Driving Fenix Parts Forward with Lean Process Management and Employee Development p
Nick Fiore, Regional Vice President – Fenix Parts

My introduction to used auto parts came when the back window on my white 1986 Volvo station wagon blew out. I’m pretty sure my dad didn’t believe that it happened randomly, so he was happy to save a few bucks by putting a used brown lidgate, with a good back window, on it. It did not matter to me because the car couldn’t get any less cool.  

My professional career started in banking and insurance, where I noticed I had customers who made their fortunes with vending machines, tow trucks, and barges. I envied their causal work environments and noticed how they were able to carve out a niche for themselves, doing things most people didn’t know existed. One of my customers was a salvage yard in Jacksonville, Florida, called Go Auto Recycling.  We still joke about how I sold them dental insurance on my way out the door.  

I invited the owners to lunch and asked if I could help manage their business. They agreed on the condition that I learn about the industry from the bottom up. Within a week of being there, I had to terminate an employee for excessive absenteeism.  He claimed to have caught the flu from his Bowa Constrictor. Welcome to Auto Recycling and the colorful people that make it so great.  

My training started with inventorying cars and placing bids at auctions. From there, I moved into sales. My first sale was an alternator. I remember trying to find it in customer pick-up because I had no idea what an alternator looked like. Next, I moved into sales management, where I found success recruiting people, like me, from outside of the automotive industry.  After my time as Sales Manager, I shifted to operations management, then site management as General Manager.  

When GO Auto Recycling became one of the founding members of Fenix Parts, new opportunities opened for me. I wasn’t limited to General Manager. Fenix did not start as expected, but the pace picked up quickly after Fenix’s transition back to a private company. After spending time as a Project Manager, I moved into regional management as an Area Director and currently serve as the Northeast Regional Vice President. I oversee nine sites, a transportation hub, and a few hundred hard-working team members.  

I’ve done everything at a recycling yard and enjoy getting my hands dirty. However, my strengths lie in people and process management. I’m a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and enjoy teaching Lean Six Sigma as much as doing it. My most rewarding experiences have come from coaching and mentoring employees, from individual contributors to managers.  

Lean process management and employee development are also important to Fenix Parts. Lean allows us to standardize our processes, creating a foundation for future growth. It teaches our employees to align with what is important to our customers and remove the waste that isn’t. Most importantly, lean aligns with core values by prioritizing the professional growth and safety of our employees. Our people are our greatest asset. We can’t grow as an organization if we don’t develop our people and keep them safe. We’ve created internal training programs and rely on professional outside resources to accelerate our leadership development.  

Our team members are also what makes us unique. I believe this is because we don’t put up barriers like minimum education and experience for many of our positions. You can come into our industry with a good work ethic and attitude and earn a life-changing income. I’ve seen people go from living in their car to buying a house. Several members of our senior management team started by breaking down tires or popping holes in trucks to keep the water from freezing.  

We are making a conscious effort to put our team first because our people are the ones who make us great.

Nick Fiore: Driving Fenix Parts Forward with Lean Process Management and Employee Development lFind out more about Fenix Parts at fenixparts.com

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