Jane Pocock MD at Copart, one of the world’s largest salvage auctions, looks back on her career within the automotive industry and how it helped to prepare her for the ‘perfect role’ at Copart.
An Illustrious Career
I spent 17 years with the AA in several different roles, which were mostly operational and with high levels of accountability. AA’s ethos was centred around providing fast, efficient and reliable service in an environment where the customer really mattered. These were all things that aligned well to my own personality, so I really enjoyed my time there and had some fantastic mentors along the way.
When the AA went into private equity ownership, I was part of the senior leadership team that managed the reshaping of the company and quadrupled the profitability. I then left to become a shareholder and run an automotive internet-based business, at a time when e-commerce was just taking off.
Unfortunately, this move coincided with the last recession and subsequent ‘credit crunch’ of 2008, so I certainly had experience of managing a company through a crisis well before coronavirus! I climbed out the other side and carried on; building a successful business, establishing a reliable customer base and forging strong relationships with finance companies. The company was eventually purchased by the Vertu motor group, and it was time for a new adventure.
Coincidentally, this was when I was contacted about the opportunity to explore Copart UK and consider the Managing Director position. After selling nice new shiny vehicles, I wasn’t initially sure about salvage…but as soon as I got to know what Copart did, it was immediately appealing.
The Perfect Role
I had worked all over Europe, across 32 countries, but had never had any substantial experience with a large US company. What really appealed to me was how fast Copart had grown and how dynamic it was. I felt like it had such an entrepreneurial feel, even though it’s a global entity.
The ethos of Copart’s parent company in the US is ‘you can do it’ and ‘anything is possible’, which is perfectly aligned to my own way of thinking. I went for an interview in Dallas and upon meeting the CEO, Jay Adair, I could not help but be immediately inspired by his enthusiasm and commitment to the business. It was also very evident that Copart really values its people, so the combination of an inspirational leader and the ‘Copart Values’ was an exciting opportunity.
My first 18 months has passed incredibly quickly. We’re already a market leader, but we are never going to be complacent. We’ve been going through a significant expansion phase which is reinvigorating the company; buying new land, replacing and adding to our transporter network and investing in a lot of new technology.
It’s been fantastic to join Copart at such an exciting time and see a lot of my own recommendations be fulfilled. I receive great advice and guidance from Jay and my combined operational, commercial and entrepreneurial experience make this role a perfect fit for me.
Copart UK currently has around 1,200 employees, which includes our national teams of Transporter Drivers, a large engineering team, dedicated Insurance Teams and a huge range of support functions. It’s an incredibly engaged and focused workforce and I am passionate about maintaining this.
I feel like I’ve been training all my life for this job! Many of the things I learnt from the AA were transferrable to Copart.
We run a UK wide fleet of collection and delivery vehicles and are trusted to handle hundreds of thousands of vehicles every year. We’re also conscious that we deal with individuals, in our case these are the policyholders, who are often distressed following an accident, so service, speed and customer care is paramount.
My experience of running my own online business comes into play with the member side of Copart’s business. We promote our business through a range of digital marketing, we create motivation for members to pay and sign up online, and of course, we sell thousands of vehicles a week through our online auctions – as you would expect from a major e-commerce business.
Having said all of the above, the number one thing I draw on from my experience is the vital nature of relationships. It comes back to a simple formula…happy teammates + happy customers = prosperous business!
Look out for part two
In the second post, Jane reflects on how Copart has maintained their status as a market leader, from innovative new technology to feeding the green parts market.
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