Never willing to accept the current industry practices as good enough, Pat Huesers is pushing the boundaries out as far as possible to get people out of their comfort zone. This month we spoke to the co-founder of PAM’s Auto in Minnesota, you betcha!

PAM’s Auto started out in 1991 with just Mike Meyer and I. We were fixing repairables in a two-stall garage at my house that was located inside the city limits of Saint Cloud. We did that for about two years and started accumulating a couple of parts cars. We were focusing on just doing Hondas and then at a point, the city kind of got on to us that we were painting vehicles and taking cars apart in a residential area. So that didn’t fly!” We needed to come up with a better plan. 

“We actually ended up moving out to Mike’s parents farm and they had a pole shed that used to be a pig barn, and we converted it over to a shop. We put in a makeshift paint booth and were doing repairs and parting out some Hondas and started really to ramp it up. In the summer or fall of 1995, we had already accumulated around 50 parts cars sitting in a field with corn in front of them and not too far from a major highway. Then in the fall when the corn got cut off, everyone saw all the vehicles and the city township was all up in arms because obviously you can’t be running a salvage yard in a agricultural area.”

By the time we started talking to the township, we had already purchased the property that they are currently on. “When we bought it, it was 1995 and it was four and a quarter acres of industrial property, and so we moved over to that property. We had built a new building that would house all operations. PAM’s was fixing repairables,  customers mechanical repairs, paint work and  body work, and also parting out cars,” Pat explained. “So if it was a vehicle, we kind of did it all! We continued to grow and build. We’ve had 11 different building phases since then, where we’ve added on more square footage to our building. We’ve also done seven property acquisitions up to 130 acres now for space. We use 35 acres between all the buildings and where the vehicle storage is. Currently we’re sitting on top of 110,000 square feet of building and can store about 2800 processed hulks and about 300 unprocessed hulks on site.”

Mike Meyer is currently CEO and Pat is the CFO. Pat started out working at another salvage yard as a dismantler and a counter salesman. Mike graduated from college with a prelaw degree and he was contemplating becoming a lawyer, or going into the automotive recycling industry. The automotive industry won!

Pat went on to discuss challenges they face, “Two of the current biggest struggles with this industry have been employee hiring and vehicle acquisition for parts. We’re currently at 70 employees and we should land at about 75 total. We are fairly well staffed, but we’ve got a lot of new people as hiring has been easier in the last month or two. It seems like the employee hiring is easing up a little bit, but still there’s a lot of training to get someone onboarded”.

PAM’s Auto is a member of ARA and PRP as well as the ARM state association. These associations and groups assist with networking and developing relationships throughout the industry. URG and the URG conference with contacts and building up relationships with people at the shows. “That’s probably the number one thing that URG has done for us. Seeing the technology that URG has come up with and the conferences that are put on are inspiring and help develop the industry.”

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