Joey Mastrodonato, 31
CFO, Spitzer Management
Joey Mastrodonato learned early on that you can't control everything.
Just months after his promotion in January 2020 to CFO of Spitzer Management in Elyria, Ohio, which runs the operations of family-owned dealership group Spitzer Autoworld, Mastrodonato was faced with the pandemic that disrupted the global auto industry and altered how dealers approach selling vehicles.
"A lot of the conversations changed with the general managers," he told Automotive News. "Instead of 'How can we have success?' it was almost 'How can we survive?' "
The executive also is tasked with helping the dealership group — which has 18 locations across Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida — manage tightening vehicle inventories amid the global microchip shortage.
The group's focus has shifted to selling used vehicles and improving its service and finance departments, but Mastrodonato said the persistent message to each store has been to "just stay positive."
"Control what you can control," he said. "You can't beat your head against the brick wall because you don't have new inventory. It's self-defeating."
Mastrodonato was hired in 2014 as a temporary internal auditor and promoted to controller in 2016 before becoming CFO. He said his approach has centered on maintaining the expense control the group had before the pandemic.
"Our philosophy stays the same: Any dollar you spend, what's the [return on investment]?" he said.
The group in 2020 achieved its most profitable year in its 117-year history. Mastrodonato and CEO Alan Spitzer have set a goal to grow the organization through acquisitions and eventually reach $1 billion in sales.
The group is tracking about $800 million in sales so far this year, Mastrodonato said.
"We call it 'managing our triangles,' and what we did a really great job of in 2020 is managing our inventory along with our sales staff and advertising," he said. "If you're able to do that — and you have the right leaders in place — that's where the success comes from."
As CFO, Mastrodonato works with 15 general managers, providing support, identifying and resolving problems and helping them to better understand the metrics of a profitable dealership operation.
"I don't work in a dealership. I provide support for those who are on the front lines," he said. "I want them to be successful, and they know that I can help get them there."
— Audrey LaForest