MOST INFLUENTIAL SECOND-IN-COMMAND
Jim Pinault, Bill's Auto Parts, Rhode Island
PHOTO: BONNIE CARTER PHOTOGRAPHY
When an owner can't be at the business, the transition of responsibilities to the second-in-command should be seamless. The employees should know someone has the answers when the boss isn't there. At Bill's Auto Parts, Cumberland, R.I., that person is General Manager Jim Pinault.
When owners Paul and Lynn D'Adamo went on vacation for eight days in July of 2009, they left Pinault in charge.
"The absence is pretty much transparent," said D'Adamo. "We have made a concerted effort to have Jim truly be the one our employees look to for daily decision making, even when I am in the office. It is not easy for an owner to give up that hands-on aspect of running the business, but Jim instinctively knows what is best for Bill's Auto Parts and is not afraid to make decisions affecting the company."
"Captain" Jim has worked at Bill's Auto Parts since 1995. Before that, he worked at Hasbro, located in Pawtucket, R.I. for 15 years and part time at Dave's Auto Parts in Cumberland, R.I.
"Jim's first day at Bill's Auto Parts, a Sunday at that, was spent training on the new Hollander system," said D'Adamo. "Since then, we have never looked back. Jim is a quick learner and has a master knowledge of every aspect of the business."
Pinault's natural leadership abilities and knowledge of the industry also gave him instant credibility with the crew at Bill's Auto Parts.
"Jim is just a stand-up guy," explained Ron Matthews, Car-Part.com in Fort Wright, Ky., who has worked with Pinault for years. "He treats the business like it's his own. Jim has the respect of his employees and my respect too."
"When Jim attends trade shows, he's always looking at new ways to make Bill's Auto Parts a better salvage facility," said Jenn Collison, Locator sales representative. "You see him at every vendor booth picking up information. He always wants to know of new industry products."
Matthews said he really noticed Pinault stepping it up and dedicating a lot of his time when Bill's Auto Parts added a new building.
"Jim is not just a valued employee, he has become part of our family," said D'Adamo. "Jim has earned his place in our history book."