One of the biggest recent quick maintenance growth stories has been FullSpeed Automotive, the company that owns Grease Monkey and SpeeDee Oil Change and Auto Service brands.
The company has made many acquisitions in recent months and announced its 700th service center in February. The company has also been making some personnel leadership decisions in order to support further growth.
One such announcement came recently with the appointment of Greg Penman as vice president of mergers and acquisitions. The hiring of Penman, along with other key positions, come as FullSpeed looks to reach 1,000 units by late 2022 or early 2023.
Soon after the announcement of Penman’s hiring, NOLN caught up with him for a Q and A about his new role and his plans at FullSpeed.
NOLN: Congratulations on your role with FullSpeed. Can you tell the NOLN readers about your professional background?
Penman: I have been fortunate in my career to be surrounded by great leaders and being a part of world class organizations like BP and Walmart where I learned in key operations, finance, and real estate roles. More recently, I was a part of gas and convenience private-equity startup, Yesway, where we grew to over 420 stores entirely by mergers and acquisitions. This was achieved primarily through smaller transactions with mom-and-pop owners in the Midwest and Southwestern U.S.
The industry has been watching the aggressive growth at FullSpeed. Coming into your role, what are the keys to promoting aggressive growth that ensures each operator in the system is set up for success?
Communication is key. In a lifetime, most owners transact only a few times, if not just once. Communicating early during the sale process is important to set expectations. We need to be clear about the process, the confidentiality, and how critical the seller’s employees are to us. Most importantly, we have to make it as easy as possible for the sellers to navigate through our process.
Speaking about M&A growth, what is one of the biggest challenges in bringing a shop or network of shops into the fold? And how do you meet that challenge?
The transition plan. Our most successful acquisitions are where we have a clear transition plan with the seller. As I mentioned, the employees are a critical element of both the prior and future store performance. So, if we can be clear with the employees ahead of closing, they understand what is happening and they can be a part of the process. We have a great operations team that has successfully onboarded hundreds of stores in the past few years.We will continue to work with sellers to fine tune the transition plan in order to address any nuances that may be unique to their particular situation.
FullSpeed announced in a recent press release the goal of reaching 1,000 units by late 2022 or early 2023. What will be the keys to meeting that goal?
This is an aggressive goal and I am confident that we will get it done. We have scaled up some critical departments and implemented systems to streamline tracking and diligence processes. Additionally, many folks that have sold to us refer their friends and colleagues to FullSpeed Automotive; word-of-mouth marketing is key to generating more leads for us every day.
Strong growth signals confidence in the future of aftermarket repair and maintenance fields. How do you see that industry evolving in the Grease Monkey and SpeeDee networks?
I am bullish on the aftermarket industry. While we see headlines everyday about an increase in the number of people who are working from home, this is America—whether people work from home or not, most folks still need a vehicle to do all their other activities so cars are not going away. Also, the average age of a car in the U.S. now exceeds 12 years. This has been trending higher and people will want to take care of their vehicle, especially if they intend to keep that vehicle longer. In my opinion, the oil/lube and aftermarket repair industry will be a space to watch in the coming years.