Industry News - Page 4 of 50 - Tow Professional (2024)

By: Matthew C. Fueston

Matthew C. Fueston is a writer and editor in the B2B space and has been writing for almost 15 years about “big iron” equipment and the men and women who rely on it. From towing and recovery, to construction, mining, and oil and water drill rigs, he always puts the story of the real people in the field first and foremost. He may be reached at matt@fuestonassoc.com.

Lauren Konetsky is a Long Island native and lifelong resident of the island. She is a repo specialist for Advanced Asset Recovery and has been doing repos for the last 11 years. She mainly covers Nassau and Suffolk, but also travels regularly to the five boroughs and lower Westchester.

She doesn’t just “dabble” in repos, either. Her boss and the manager of Advanced Asset Recovery, Mike Lopez, says he can rely on her for at least 100 cars per month. At least 100. And remember, this is in New York, where the applicable laws do not make it easy to repossess a vehicle. In New York, it is illegal for the police to help a repo service repossess a car. For each of those 100-plus cars, Lauren must take the car to the precinct to log the car in and notify the police of the repo. Once there, officers check out the vehicle, double-check the VIN, and run the plates to see if the car was stolen. Only after that is Lauren able to take it to her employer’s impound yard.

“The job isn’t like you see in the movies,” she says. “I mean, this isn’t Kansas. Everybody’s car isn’t parked in front of their house. It’s in a big parking garage a couple blocks from their apartment. But sure, sometimes you have to deal with the person whose day you’re ruining.”

“I learned early on that 80% of staying out of ‘situations’ is learning how to talk to people. Don’t disrespect them, be understanding, remember how stressful this whole thing is for them. Be empathetic. You can’t be confrontational. Others I know in this business have the same mentality. Anyone doing this job must figure out some way to learn de-escalation. You’d be surprised at how many people are pretty nice about it all.”

She shrugs. “I really don’t have a list of crazy stories like you’d expect.”

Sometimes—in certain areas, at certain hours— Lauren will have an extra person with her, for backup, for security, and maybe to help out with some tasks. But normally it’s just her. Due to the thousands of visits she’s made to various police precincts over the years, she knows the police officers in her area very, very well. “So, I feel secure enough,” she adds.

“I still enjoy the job; I love the people I work for—Mark Lopez is the manager and Leticia Nunez is the owner. We were friends before I went to work for them, but I love the fact that they give me the equipment I need, and maybe most important of all to me, they never micromanage. That’s just not their style. And I don’t respond well to micromanagement anyway.”

Lauren says that she was working at a small car dealership when a friend suggested she apply at a repo company that a friend of his owned. “I loved it right away,” she said. “Loved the freedom, the truck, the paycheck.”

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Mike Lopez, her employer for the past 5 years, met Lauren 10 years ago. “We worked together at another repo company. One time I was assigned to work with her, and it was obvious she knew her stuff. I saw her hook up a car, but our boss wouldn’t let her drive. Right then I told her, she should be driving. Her talent was being wasted on basic tasks. I only lasted 3 weeks at that company, but one of her strongest qualities is loyalty, so she stayed on there longer than she needed to before taking a job with another repo company.”

“Fast forward a few years and I had my own company, Advanced Asset Recovery. I looked her up and asked her to go to work for me. I told her, ‘Lauren, I’ll buy you a truck if you come to work for me. It’ll be yours, no one else will drive it. In fact, you will get a new truck every 2 years, I’ll never put you in an old truck.” Mike grins and then adds, “I finally talked her into it.”

Lauren got her first Jerr-Dan in November of 2022, an MPL NG. Mike buys his trucks from Atlanta Wrecker Sales, and he decided to work with them on something special for this particular purchase.

Lauren and Mike had talked about her wish list. First of all, it had to be a Ford, preferably an F-550. Mike told her the ones Atlanta Wrecker had were not Fords, but she could probably get a truck the same size. This did not make her happy—she is a Ford devotee. But they also talked about how she would like the truck equipped. Of course, she needed an extended cab for her wheelchair, and so on. Finally, she mentioned a grey color that she just loved, but she knew that Advanced Asset Recovery’s livery was white. All their vehicles are white. But this was all just wish-list talk, anyway.

Behind the scenes, Mike got to work with Robb Lowe, at Atlanta Wrecker Sales’ Chesnee, South Carolina location. It took some work, but they were able to spec out a truck that Mike was satisfied with. Back in Long Island, Mike told Lauren it was time for her to run down to South Carolina and pick up her new work vehicle. He warned her, though, that it wasn’t a Ford, but that it should work out okay.

When she got to the Chesnee lot, she asked them to show her the truck she was supposed to drive back to Long Island. “They drove a truck out for me,” she said, “but I didn’t notice it at first. It was the wrong make, the wrong color… Then I realized what Mike and Robb at AWS had done—they’d secretly put this beautiful grey Ford F-550 with a Jerr-Dan MPL-NG self-loader on it together for me, with all the bells and whistles, and surprised me with it at the last minute!”

Right now, Advanced Asset Recovery is running a Jerr-Dan fleet. If Lauren’s reaction to her new Jerr-Dan is any clue, Mike will probably continue to purchase them as he needs to enlarge or renew his fleet. Lauren says that she is in love with hers. “It has not let me down, even though I’ve put more than 23,000 miles on it from November to June. The wheel lift is very fast and since the body is narrower, I can get into tough spots easier.”

Lauren admits that there are very, very few other women in the repo field, at least where she works. And she may be the only one with a wheelchair. But none of that affects the fact that she will get her 100 cars this month. And next month. And the next.

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For more information about, Jerr-Dan, visit www.jerdan.com.

Industry News - Page 4 of 50 - Tow Professional (2024)
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