The best part of the used-car industry for Scott Mousaw isn’t just applicable to the world of automotive.
“What I enjoy most about it is not unique to the business. I enjoy the process,” he said in a phone interview. “I enjoy looking at how or what we’re doing, what I’m doing as a consignor, and what could I do to make that better? What could I do to make that better, stronger, faster? What could I do to make that less expensive?”
While what he enjoys most isn’t unique to the business, his latest accomplishment puts Mousaw in some rare company.
Mousaw, who is director of loss mitigation at United Auto Credit, is the 2017 National Remarketing Executive of the Year, an award presented by ServNet.
Auto Remarketing is proud to honor Mousaw with this award — now in its fifth year — at the National Remarketing Conference/NAAA Convention portion of Used Car Week, which takes places Nov. 13-17 at the La Quinta Resort & Club in Palm Springs, Calif.
An early start in autos
Mousaw’s first job in the car business came at age 19, when he started as a lot attendant at a Pontiac dealership in Downey, Calif. His days included such tasks as parking and washing cars.
“The gentleman who hired me, he says, ‘You’re too young to be a salesperson, but you talk like one,” Mousaw said. “So, I’m going to make you a lot attendant … whenever you see salespeople talking, I want you to get in that circle and listen to watch what they’re saying.’
“Well, unbeknownst to me, that got me fired by the head lot attendant because he just saw me standing around all the time,” he said with a laugh.
Mousaw also worked on the wholesale side of the business for five years before moving into collections and skip-tracing in Tustin, Calif., with what eventually became Drive Financial Services. (Drive was later acquired by Santander in 2006.)
Mousaw was senior loss prevention manager at Drive, handing repossessions, insurance claims, impounds and more.
He joined United Auto Credit in 2002. And with the company being a branch network, each of those branches managed its own portfolio. That marked his first foray into the consignor side of the business.
In 2009, United Auto Credit centralized the recovery department in Irvine, Calif., and in 2010, there was further centralization, so Mousaw took on remarketing duties, as well.
Once back in autos, it was like a ‘snowball’
The auto industry wasn’t Mousaw’s initial career choice.
His goal early on was actually law enforcement. But things changed in the early 1990s after the Los Angeles riots, Mousaw said. He held an unsworn and unarmed intern role with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, working out of North Long Beach, Calif., during the time of the riots, he said.
“After that, there was a major hiring freeze. I’d never be full time at any realistic future point,” Mousaw said.
At that point, he “got back in and went into wholesale,” Mousaw said. “I’d already been a lot attendant at that point.”
When he got back into automotive, it was like a “snowball,” he said.
“From wholesale to retail, I think I knew I was a car guy,” Mousaw said.
And he discovered his “niche” upon moving into the lender side of the market.
“And then there’s just no looking back. Once you’re in, they suck you in and you’re stuck,” he said with a laugh. “For better or for worse.”
‘That’s what I enjoy’
Joking aside, Mousaw is a process guy, even more than he’s a car guy.
He said the industry has folks who might be able to look at a car from 100 yards away and spot needed fixes.
However, “that’s not me,” he said.
“I could tell you when a process is broken, and there’s a better way to do it,” Mousaw said. “Just by following what you’ve got going on, you find a way to make things better. That’s what I enjoy.
“And the fact that I learn something every day, whether it’d be about a car, about a process, about an auction, about whatever it is — this business is so multi-faceted,” he said.
Having worked in most of these areas the used-car business gives a good vantage point into understanding the various processes involved even more.
And answer questions like, “how does this change impact down-the-line users?” and “By making this change here, what does it do the process as a whole?”
Outside of the office, Mousaw — even though he claims he’s “not good at it” — likes a round of golf. “But I enjoy hitting a little white ball and then going to find it,” he said
And most importantly, Mousaw, who has two teenage kids, enjoys spending time with the family.
“Everything I do and aspire to be is for them,” he said, later adding: “When I’m off it’s all about (spending time with) the family, and it’s my driving force.”