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An alumnus geared for success

Nick Foglia smiles in front of a brick wall

It is so much fun waking up every day to apply what I learned in the classroom in the real world."

Business alumnus Nick Foglia says his dreams about entrepreneurship actually began to take shape at the University of Guelph-Humber when he and other students undertook an in-depth case study for a mock business as part of a class assignment.

Less than a year after that, Foglia revisited the lesson again. This time with his friend and business partner Joey Simonetta when the duo decided to start their own enterprise, SF Auto, a used-car dealership, based in Woodbridge, Ont.

“The business classes (at UofGH) taught us to look at people that are doing things right and so when Joey and I decided to start our business, that’s exactly what we did first,” Foglia said. “My advice to students is: no matter how funny or funky your dreams are, follow them, because the tools you’ll get when you graduate will someday allow you to achieve that funny, funky goal.”

SF Auto opened its doors in December 2017 and already boasts strong sales and steady foot traffic, he said.

Some of Foglia and Simonetta’s responsibilities at their dealership include going to used-car auctions and bidding on vehicles. Having the ability to skim through complex set of numbers and make sense of them is a definite advantage, Foglia explained.

“You have this whole whirlwind of information and only seconds to make the decision,” he explained. “We now forecast and budget our margins on specific vehicles beforehand so that when we come across those (cars) in the auction, we’re ready to bid. That, I think, is our competitive advantage.”

Cars are Foglia’s passion. Five years ago, between attending classes, holding a job and other responsibilities, the UofGH alumnus found time to build a ’66 Chevrolet Chevelle with his father.  Dismantling and then assembling the bright orange classic car by sourcing each individual part through eBay taught Foglia time management, focus and the inner mechanism of the automobile. The insight now helps him to talk to prospective customers about the car’s engine, torque, suspension and the brake system with ease, he said.

If building a car from scratch nurtured his mechanical mindset, then playing major junior hockey in the OHL for the Ottawa 67s and the Brampton Battalion trained Foglia to be disciplined, competitive and a team player.

At 15, Foglia was drafted to play for the 67s and moved to Ottawa. It was challenging, but a great learning experience, as he had to make sound decisions both on and off the rink, he said.

“When I graduated, I had these tools (a business degree, knowledge about cars, playing organized sports) in my back pocket and all those gave me the confidence to start my business,” he said. “It is so much fun waking up every day to apply what I learned in the classroom in the real world. I would not have been able to do it without UofGH and the amazing teachers who guided me.”