Founded in 2010, ADESA San Jose is strategically located in the 10th largest city in the United States, just minutes from the city’s two largest auto malls. The auction is only 8 miles from San Jose International Airport and approximately 40 miles from both the Oakland and San Francisco airports, in the heart of Silicon Valley. The auction was acquired by KAR Auction Services (the parent company of ADESA) in 2016.

ADESA San Jose is located on a 15-acre site at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds and features four auction lanes.

Bobby Sylvester was named general manager of ADESA San Jose in November 2017. We recently caught up with him to learn more about his career and the ADESA San Jose facility.

How did you get your start in the industry, and what path has your career taken?

The auction business is pretty much all I’ve ever done, and I have experience in every facet of it. Previously, I worked for the Brasher’s auction in Portland [Oregon], which is now ADESA Portland.

I began my career in transportation as a slide-bed driver. I loved that job—I got to see so many beautiful parts of Oregon and truly fell in love with the state. Next, I managed the detail team for a year and a half. I am very proud to say that we had two record months during my time as detail manager.

Then I handled fleet certification and inspections, and I managed the body shop, which did retail as well as auction body work.

Next I oversaw all fleet operations, and I traveled the country as a national sales rep.

Managing operations and interfacing with our national customers gave me a well-rounded understanding of the industry and how it was evolving. So did my experience of functioning as an assistant general manager during my last couple of years in Portland.

I take great pride in my ability to adapt to the ever-changing nature of our industry. I think that’s what makes me a good fit for ADESA San Jose, because it is a newly converted auction.

What’s unique about the facility and the environment of ADESA San Jose?

Our location presents huge opportunities for growth. We are in one of the largest cities in the country, and we are right down the road from the two largest auto malls in the city.

Since moving our inventory to, we’re working on future building improvements and corporate branding for this location. We want to make sure our dealers and fleet consignors know they are buying and selling at an ADESA location when they pull into the parking lot.

In December, we installed a well-lit 40-foot awning for the detail shop. As we increase volume, this enhancement will allow us to offer more services aimed at increasing retention in the lanes to our dealers and fleet customers.

We have an incredible selling environment in the lanes. One reason it is successful is because of its layout. Any dealer can stand in one place and bid in all four lanes. Every dealer in the lanes is a potential buyer for our consignors!

Tell us about the team at ADESA San Jose.

We have a very experienced staff who understands the needs of our dealers and the dynamics of the San Jose market.

For instance, our two outside sales representatives have over 30 years of experience. They understand the dynamics of getting the cars consigned and what we need to do to convert in the lanes. Additionally, the operations manager has over 20 years of experience with ADESA.

How is ADESA San Jose reflective of the competitive marketplace that it’s located in?

The Bay Area is very small in terms of mileage, but traffic makes it difficult to travel long distances. It can take two and a half hours to drive 40 miles.

Local dealers don’t like to travel very far. The size of our city, our proximity to massive auto malls and traffic restraints provide major logistical advantages for ADESA San Jose.

How is ADESA San Jose impacted by current trends in the auto remarketing industry?

The economy and local car sales are very important to us. A large portion of our business is dealer trades.

An additional focal point is to increase the number of eggs in our basket, to develop business outside of dealer trades, because if the dealerships aren’t selling, they aren’t trading.