Filippo Principato, 32
Service manager, Napleton's Aston Martin of Chicago
Achievement: Led service department to 151 percent gain in gross profit margin
As a kid, Filippo Principato always knew he'd be into supercars. He just had no idea he'd get to drive them, too.
Principato is the service manager at Napleton's Aston Martin of Chicago.
It's a long way from the car-washing gig he got at a high-end exotics dealer when he was 17 and fresh out of high school.
Hard work and long hours got Principato noticed by the CEO, who encouraged him to move into the service department as a service adviser. As the economy took a downturn, he moved to a Volkswagen-Hyundai store, only to return to the luxury end of the market six years ago.
The Chicago native and lifelong Cubs fan has been at Napleton's Aston store for about four years now. In addition to service manager, he's the warranty administrator and service adviser. In the first quarter of this year, he led the store's service department to a 151 percent year-on-year increase in gross profit margin.
The gig means taking care of some of the industry's most stylish sports cars and supercars — and the demanding clientele that comes with them.
"They have a high standard, as they're driving an Aston Martin," Principato said. "To get to that level, more than likely they had to work pretty hard, but at the same time, they understand that they bought a limited-production vehicle, so they're understanding with repair times."
Principato knows this market. He was working at a Bentley service location when the first-generation Continental GT came out, a unique experience given that the car helped propel once-stodgy Bentley into the 21st century.
He sees a similar transformation beginning now with Aston Martin and its new generation of cars due out over the next five years.
"It's pretty exciting to be on the forefront of all this technology in the new Astons and watching it unfold," Principato said.