Meet Our Vehicle Condition Inspector: Kyle Penke

January 29, 2018

We’re happy to introduce our “Employee Spotlight” series. Weekly, you can catch a glimpse into the world of an ACV team member. Up first is Kyle Penke, a vehicle condition inspector, podcast host, and board game creator. He’s held a variety of job titles including alcohol merchandiser, security guard, and bartender, all of which eventually led him to ACV Auctions.

Where did you grow up?
Born and raised in Henrietta, NY. Currently living in Webster, NY. And I spent two years living in Tampa, FL.

Can you elaborate on what you were doing prior ACV?
Before ACV I worked a variety of jobs ranging from security guard to bartender to entry-level auto tech and even as an alcohol merchandiser. ACV has become the culmination of the hunt!

What drove you to join the auto industry?
I have loved cars since I was 10. I began tinkering with them when I was 13. That being said, I have never owned a noteworthy car, but hope to someday.

What do you like about working at ACV?
The family feeling that has already been birthed is very important to me. It shows that we are all on the same ship trying to ensure the right course is being taken. It’s also nice because we are not being dragged behind, but are a part of on the journey.

What’s the last book you read?
What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, by Randall Munroe.

What’s one book everyone should read?
Honestly, any book that gets you thinking and gets the gears moving. It’s not the book, but what it does for you. In my case, it is a book on physiology, physics of any variety, science or anything superhero related.

What are some things you do outside of work?
I Power Lift, run the Rochester pickup football club, host a weekly no electronics nerd night, and I host a podcast.

Tell me more about your podcast.
The title is “Life on Record.” I reach out to anyone who has a story. The goal is to spread their story to anyone willing to listen. To show the community how interesting and amazing people are all around us, that we just pass by every day. As I progress, I will be getting more business owners, musicians, professors, scientist, athletes, and so on. It’s all about comfort and letting the conversation take a natural course without being like a strict interview. There are "bad language" warnings before some episodes!

Last time we spoke, you mentioned: “Magic: The Gathering” and other high-level board games. Can you tell me more on that?
I have been collecting and playing “Magic” since I was 5. I still play weekly, noncompetitively. I put a price limit on all my decks. That way they are reasonably priced, so anyone can buy and play.

In regards to high-level board games—I have a relatively small collection of 50 games. Some of the highlights are “Small World”—like “Risk” without the random dice rolls; “Alhambra”—a cash game where you try to build the best middle eastern bizarre; “Catan”—a resource gathering game, and “Nottingham”—a game of bluffing. I also make my own board games: “Strategic Football Game”—a high-level “Monopoly” type game. I figured out a way to make The Big Bang Theory's “Warlord of Ka’a” work. And I have at least a dozen other games in the works. In time I will launch Kickstarters to get them to become something.