Recycler to Watch: Chris Mantas

Jul 1, 2020 | Industry

Tear A Part was founded by Pete Mantas and his sons Bill Mantas and Chris Mantas. The company’s first location was established in 2001 and is located in Salt Lake City, UT. In 2015, Tear A Part expanded its operations by establishing a second location located in Ogden, UT. Combined, Tear A Part operates on 24 acres of land, and employs over 70 employees. They process on average about 24,000 vehicles. Chris Mantas, President, took time out from the busy operation to tell Automotive Recycling magazine more about his experiences in the industry.

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What is your background and how did you get into automotive recycling?

Chris Mantas: My passion for the automotive industry began at a young age as I grew up helping my father, Pete Mantas, work on vehicles in our garage. I learned by watching my father “turn wrenches,” and his passion for vehicles quickly developed into my own. We would rebuild multiple vehicles and discovered a demand in the marketplace for the leftover used automotive parts. We also recognized the value of creating a business centered around recycling and environmentally conscious practices. This was the turnkey which ignited our vision of creating an automotive recycling yard for car enthusiasts like myself and my father to be able to find recycled parts for projects of their own.

This led to the creation of P&M Truck Parts in 1982 and All Truck and Car in 1990, two very successful full-service automotive recycling facilities. In 2001, we built a state-of-the-art self-service facility called Tear A Part located in Salt Lake City, Utah. After 14 years of success and customer satisfaction at the Salt Lake location, I made the decision to create another Tear A Part facility located in Ogden, Utah in 2015.

Who are your “hero(es)” or mentor(s) in the business who directly or indirectly impact(ed) you during your career? And why?

Mantas: My hero and mentor who directly impacted me during my career was my father. He was an honest, hard-working businessman with a dream. Immigrating to the United States in 1947 from Greece, with only seven cents in his pocket, he built a legacy that many remember him for to this day. My father’s expertise in the automotive industry helped develop my vision for our company and expand it to what it is today. I have shaped our brand, our mission, and our vision around the lessons and values he taught me, which has led to our success in the industry.

What unique or significant changes have you made to improve your business and what compelled you to make these changes?

Mantas: In our constant quest for progress, we noticed our company was a three-legged stool looking for a “fourth leg.” It soon became evident that our “fourth leg” was in the area of advanced software. As we grew in size, our current software became limited and was unable to fulfill our needs. Realizing that the market offered no other suitable options or upgrades, we seized the opportunity and began to develop our own industry-specific software, guided by us – individuals who know the industry, its needs, and its operations. In 2008, we created S3 Software Solutions, an advanced software company that provides customized software to industry-specific businesses.

This was the dawn of CRUSH. This software package has been able to provide our company, as well as hundreds of others in the U.S. and Canada, with detailed reporting with regard to goals and controls. The customized reports have allowed management at Tear A Part to regularly evaluate the flows of our operation and to set goals to constantly track and increase productivity. The intuitive nature of the software has alerted our facility of financial theft and productivity setbacks. Since its installation, productivity at Tear A Part has sharply increased. It is apparent that CRUSH has provided the edge that the automotive recycling industry has been missing. We have been able to encompass demands from all levels of the industry, from your small mom and pop shops to the publicly traded DOW industrial entities.

How has your experience with ARA benefited your business?

Mantas: The ARA has provided me with the opportunity to network and connect with many professionals in the industry. This has led to valuable relationships and friendships, for which I am grateful to this day.  

How are you balancing work and life in this time of global crisis? How have you led your team to navigate these times?

Mantas: In the beginning of this pandemic, my first concern was the well-being of my employees, as my people are my greatest asset. Though there are challenges that come with this global crisis – our people, communities, and customers are resilient. This global crisis has given us the opportunity to truly appreciate those around us and help those in need. These times have reaffirmed how much I value the time spent with my family. I make the most of each minute we have together.

To me, my family also extends to my employees and their families. I recognize the sacrifices they all make each day. We have enforced best management practices within all of our companies to ensure the safety and well-being of our team, customers, and community. This has always been a priority of mine. We have also made the most of this time by reassessing our strategies, operations, and seeking out areas to make an impact. I am confident that together we can get through this unprecedented time.

What is your one achievement you are most proud of and why?

Mantas: My greatest achievement is my beautiful wife of 12 years and my four amazing children. They are the reason why I do what I do each day. I want to give them the opportunity to follow in my footsteps. My hope is to for them to continue our family legacy by improving the environment and serving our people and our community. I also am extremely proud of my executive team and the success we have achieved.

What is one goal you are working towards for your business?

Mantas: Growth. Growth within our employees, operations, and community outreach. My goal for Tear A Part is to continue to ensure that our people are excited to come to work each day, our customers have the best experience and selection of automotive parts, and our communities are positively influenced by our contributions.

What does it mean to you to operate with excellence?

Mantas: I have worked in each role and I have worn every hat in all of my companies. Operating with excellence means that no job is too small. You must recognize that each team member plays an integral role in the collective operation and ensure that the team is supporting each other in reaching a shared goal. It is about taking the bull by the horns and not being afraid to take risks. It is taking ownership of your career and accountability for your decisions. Strong operational excellence means understanding the value of upholding the safety and well-being of my employees and customers, while also being able to provide world-class service.

I recognize the importance of providing resources to my companies which is why I established Genos Capital, a shared service team, to provide oversight functions such as corporate accounting, human resources, operations management, and safety/environmental compliance to our portfolio companies. At the end of the day, I believe that you must be passionate about the business you are in to succeed long term.

How do you contribute to your community or to the auto recycling industry that is rewarding to you?

Mantas: Some of the most rewarding experiences of my professional and personal career have been the opportunity to contribute to my community. My companies support many local low-income schools, shelters, the Utah Food Bank, Sub-For-Santa, and local churches. I strive to instill the importance of giving back to our community by having our teams at Tear A Part collect the coins out of the vehicles and allowing them to pick a charity/cause of their choice to donate to each year.

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