Scott Vollero is a successful entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in the precious metals and auto parts recycling industry. He is best known as the co-founder and former lead of Autocats Inc., a multinational firm that specializes in extracting precious metals (chiefly platinum, palladium and rhodium) from automotive catalytic converters. Prior to founding and growing Autocats, Vollero worked in investment banking, renewable energy distribution and the health/fitness segment. He currently works as a value-added, lean manufacturing and environmental consultant for a variety of U.S. and international clients.
Vollero’s Autocats story began in 2000, when he founded the firm around an efficient business model that allowed Autocats to thrive in the highly fragmented scrap converter recycling market extracting platinum, palladium and rhodium — rare, extremely valuable metals — from used catalytic converters. Scott Vollero was in a previous business venture that developed around a proprietary, highly efficient process for extracting platinum, palladium and rhodium from used catalytic converters using a combination of resin BBs and a caustic solvent. Once extracted, these metals were refined and sold on the open market or directly to clients.
Due to the illiquidity of the rhodium and palladium markets in particular, Autocats soon became one of the top sources of recycled rare metals. For clients, Autocats provided critical supply chain diversification and lessened the political risk associated with mined platinum, palladium and rhodium, which tend to come from unstable or unfriendly parts of the world.
During the 2000s, Vollero spearheaded Autocats’ expansion into several international markets. None was more important than China, whose rapidly growing auto market proved irresistible for Autocats and its manufacturing clients alike. By the end of the 2000s, the company was positioned as the dominant international auto-derived precious metals recycler in the overseas markets it served. Autocats had a physical presence on four continents and was directly or indirectly responsible for hundreds of jobs. In 2011, Toyota Tsusho America, Inc. (TAI) purchased Autocats in order to enhance their strategic precious metal supply chain.
Scott Vollero’s experience with Autocats was the culmination of a professional career devoted to the development of a cohesive management and process efficiency philosophy. His early career featured a succession of positions of increasing responsibility in a variety of competitive industries.
Following his exit from the investment banking world, which he credits with teaching him the value of humility and attentive customer service, Vollero purchased a stake in a struggling California solar firm and moved west to manage it directly. Though Vollero recalls stiff headwinds for renewable energy space at the time, he managed to turn the company around and preserve substantial value. Scott Vollero used the proceeds from the firm’s sale to buy into a chain of racquetball clubs and fitness centers, which he ran for some time before founding Autocats.
Vollero holds dual undergraduate degrees from James Madison University, from which he graduated cum laude, as well as a finance MBA from California State University-Fullerton. He carries current Series 7 and 22 licenses, has a registered environmental assessor certification from the state of California, and is currently in the process of obtaining both his Lean Six Sigma black belt and Project Management Professional (PMP) certifications.
When he’s not at the office, Scott Vollero enjoys a variety of sports, including hiking and tennis. He also supports a variety of Southern California charities, including Kozy Toes, a social enterprise he helped found. He lives in Orange County, California, with his family — but never tires of traveling the world.