John Breach works out of Portfolio’s Strongsville, Ohio, office as a mechanical team lead. He recently won the Associate of the Month award — for the second time in six years! John, who is a native of Ohio, began his auto industry career right out of high school. “I started out changing oil, mounting and balancing tires, doing all of the remedial, fundamental things.”

Beginning at the ground level of the industry and working closely alongside technicians, John became virtually self-taught. “I worked at independent repair facilities and moved up the ranks in service manager positions and general manager positions for repair facilities,” he says. With 20 years of experience under his belt, it’s no surprise to learn that he still holds ASE L1 and Master’s certifications.

So how did John find himself working at Portfolio? “A friend of mine who works as an F&I manager at a dealership that partnered with NAE/NWAN referred me,” John explains. He began his tenure with NAE in 2017 as a senior adjuster. Back then, John’s job duties included “processing claims, verifying coverage, customer service and helping dealerships.”

In January of 2023, he was promoted to a team lead. Now John has an expanded role, along with three other team leaders. “I still deal with claims processing, but I am also involved in leading a team of 35 adjusters. I help to make sure everyone is on the same page with policies and processes. I also help to develop some of the policies and processes that we’ve implemented — time savers, efficiency-based things.” John’s focus remains on anything that will save an adjuster time and improve their efficiency.

Another part of John’s new role involves training new adjusters. “Training is a six- to eight-week process. I’ve trained or helped to train 14 adjusters in the past year,” he says.

John thoroughly enjoys leading by example. He has been told that he “delicately walks the line between friend and boss” and he finds that statement to be quite accurate. “It’s very rewarding and makes me feel good to know that my team respects the way that I lead. We have grown into a much more cohesive unit since I started, and I really do enjoy it.”

His managerial style has much to do with lessons he learned early in his career from a technician who became his mentor. “When I was 19 or 20 years old, doing repairs and simple tasks, this technician took the time to answer my questions. He wasn’t condescending and he helped me to properly understand what I needed to do. That stuck with me and that is how I manage my team now. He left a lasting impression on me that I hope to also leave on someone else.”

Outside of work, John loves to ride his motorcycle and keep up his mechanical skills. “I’m always tweaking or fixing things at the house or with the car. I like to stay busy and find peace and enjoyment once tasks are accomplished.”

He also very much enjoys spending time with his 6-year-old son, teaching him everything from how to ride a bike and tie his shoes to playing every sport under the sun. “We are attached at the hip,” John says.