To Lead with Integrity
"You realize how important it is to empower people. To let the best people do what they know best."
Treating people with trust and respect is a characteristic he carries with him every day, and that carries over to employees, vendors and other business partners.
Joffe has led Motorcar Parts of America Inc. since 2003, a company that is a remanufacturer, manufacturer and distributor of automotive aftermarket parts used in imported and domestic passenger vehicles, light trucks and heavy-duty applications.
But his experience extends far past the automotive industry. He’s been the head of five companies that range from amusement parks to network communications. He said most of his career opportunities were opportunistic, and he essentially was recruited to each new company, or he started them.
“Having the varied experience makes me a better manager,” he said. “Because you realize how important it is to empower people. To let the best people do what they know best. That’s something you learn very quickly when you’re jumping from different types of industries. … When you go from industry to industry, you realize you can’t be an expert in everything. As quick as you want to learn, you also need to realize you need to understand people’s competency quickly and empower and enable them to do their jobs.”
His business and law degrees from Emory helped him “enormously” to gain an excellent understanding of finance and marketing, and to read contracts and understand financial documents. Some influential professors included Brown Whittington, Don Neese and Frank Garner who all had a big impact on him. He also remembers having the opportunity to interact with local executives in the Atlanta area, and he was able through a class project to be involved with early research about CNN as a television network.
“People inherently know what’s good and bad."
“Having the whole business intellect from my family and youth was huge for me, but it was really enhanced dramatically by all the business classes and law classes from Emory,” he said. “It really was a big contributor to my success.”
In his current role, Joffe has led Motorcar Parts of America to grow its market share by several hundred percent in the last several years. His mission is to double or triple the value of the company in the next five years, while he mentors the team to improve.
Joffe’s excited to pursue the electric vehicle space and is motivated to lead the market as he sees it as a growth sector.
“We want to be a part of it,” he said. “It’s exciting to me, I’m not afraid of it at all. I think we see it clearly. … I think those players who do well in it will be rewarded with expansion on their valuation multiple, and I think it’ll also help us attract new age technology from the mentality of our people and keep us on our toes, and I like that.”
The electric vehicle space has caused Joffe to recall something he learned at Goizueta called the “nodding theory.” When you have something that’s rational, people will immediately acknowledge you in a positive way. That theory is something that drives Joffe, because if it’s logical, and people relate to it quickly, “I think that’s a real litmus test,” he said. “People inherently know what’s good and bad, and when you see that, you’ll know whether you’re on to something or not.”
“When we talk about electric vehicle technology, there’s a lot of positive nodding going on, there’s no shaking of the head,” he said. “The customer service levels we have creates positive nodding, whether it’s in the aftermarket hard parts business or the original equipment electric vehicle business.”
That’s why Joffe said he mentors his younger executives to not be afraid of logic. Because, quite simply, simple is good.