Mike Campo, 39
F&I director, Mercedes-Benz of West Chester
Mike Campo's path to the finance office started with a setback — he was fired.
He started in automotive retail in new-vehicle sales at Kerry Toyota in Florence, Ky., in 2007. He left the sales desk one night when he was scheduled and lost his job over it. Though the dealership offered him a lesser position, Campo instead turned to a headhunter to continue his path in auto retail.
"If that hadn't happened, I can only imagine my career would look considerably different," he said. "In no way did I let that defeat me."
Campo was taken in by a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Ohio at the end of 2010, about an hour from where he lived in Kentucky, to manage Internet sales. After a few years, Campo was displaced again, this time during a management shakeup following a buy-sell transaction at the end of 2014. The new owners already had an Internet team, and wanting to keep Campo at a comparable salary, offered him the role as a finance manager instead.
But the group wanted to install its finance managers, so Campo was out of a job again. He worked at Joseph Toyota in Cincinnati for a year as a finance manager before being called back to the group's West Chester, Ohio, location.
Campo embraced his new role as F&I director. He enjoyed finance — handling a car deal start to finish, structuring it for the best outcome for the customer and the dealership, and making a lot of money. His goal is to be a general manager or even a dealer principal someday.
"The success that people have in automotive, in general, is based on how well they self-manage," Campo said. "It's a job or a career, and that's completely up to you."
— Jackie Charniga