Vinnie began his interest in auto-mechanics in the late 90s working on family and friend's vehicles. At the advice of his father, he enrolled at Universal Technical Institute in Mooresville, NC in 2005, with plans in mind of becoming a Porsche® technician. While in training, he worked for a Mazda/Suzuki dealership service department, gaining his first experiences with dealership service life. After graduating, he returned to begin a new career at the Porsche dealership in Baton Rouge, LA where he worked and trained, becoming a Porsche® Certified Master Mechanic. Here is where he met most of his clients that are still with him today. After seven years of loyal service, he left this dealership to further his career at a Porsche® dealership in New Orleans, LA.
It had always been a dream of his to own his own shop and be in business for himself. After much advice and encouragement from his best clients and friends, in 2012 he began VEX as a promotional company, to bring together his exotic clientele base for exclusive dinners, drives, as well as co-sponsoring local car shows. In October of 2014, Vinnie was able to open a single bay in a good friend's shop. He worked there on a part time basis until making the tough decision to leave the dealer world for good and go all in for himself. In January of 2015, Vinnie's Exotics was open full time and full service.
Like most technicians, the idea of cars and working on them didn't just pop up overnight.
Born and raised in Ascension parish and graduating from St. Amant High School, Phillip comes from a family of auto mechanics. His grandfather owned a shop in Missouri of which most members in the family have had some experience working in.
Philip was drawn to automotive even from a young age. His path to automotive as a career began in his high school years. Much like Vinnie, fixing and tinkering on the family and friends' cars was fun and interesting. Anyone could tell that his future career path would be automotive related. After high school and working in the restaurant industry, Philip decided to give automotive a try full time.
Philip worked for a local repair shop in Baton Rouge and quickly became the "go to" guy at that shop. This is where Vinnie met Philip. Just starting out, Vinnie did not have the funds to purchase the machines for mounting and balancing tires and would have to sublet to other shops. After meeting Philip and taking note of how detail oriented he was as well as his positive personality even if the day didn't go so well, he would bring all the tire work to Philip. Vinnie and Amanda remember saying to each other that they one day hoped to be able to hire Philip.
After a few years working at this shop, Philip found an opportunity to work for the local Audi dealership. His initial tasks were maintenance and light repair but if you come to know Philip and his work ethic, you'll find exactly why the powers that be promoted him to the more difficult tasks
in the dealer, which were invaluable to an eager technician who loves cars and wants to learn. And learn he did, becoming one of the top technicians at the Audi dealership.
After a few years, In January of 2021, Philip came to Vinnie's Exotics and proves each and every day that this is where he was meant to be. Philip is not only a success in the shop but also is a family man. His wife Jorden who is also in the automotive industry, and their daughter Carsyn are soon to become homeowners, building their dream home on the 2 acre lot recently purchased. Soon after Philip hopes to build a garage large enough to start restoring a car here and there.
VINNIE'S EXOTICS, LLC ©
A resident of Louisiana for 22+ years, Josh began his automotive career in 2006 as a shop assistant for Firestone Tires in Denham Springs. An interest blossomed and a natural knack for fixing things followed.
Like a lot of technicians, Josh was self-taught in a dealership environment, having experience with Ford, GM, and Cadillac before eventually starting with Jaguar Land Rover in late 2012.
A fascination and appreciation for the JLR brand of vehicles was found, and with Josh’s very energetic and optimistic personality sprinkled in with a large amount of passion, he quickly found himself very successful within the brand, reaching technician Level 3 and being set for the Level 4 Master's exam before the Covid pandemic began. Many of our local Land Rover and Jaguar enthusiasts know him on a first name basis and trust their vehicles to his care.
Josh is also 1 of 5 JLR EVSAP certified technicians in the state of Louisiana for electric vehicles, who can safely and efficiently perform full battery electric vehicle systems diagnosis and repairs to JLR standards.
He is also trained in the usage of most Euro OEM diagnostic systems like VW ODIS, BMW ISTA, and Mercedes Xentry.
In keeping with the family business that Vinnie’s Exotics is, our service manager Kim and Josh are husband and wife! In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and children, riding motorcycles, and traveling.
A very goal driven and focused technician, we feel Josh will be a very welcome addition to VEX European & Vinnie’s Exotics.
The long-awaited day of hiring our first service advisor finally came! Welcome our newest member of the crew, Kim Lowrey! She came highly referred to us from friends in the industry and the moment we met her we knew she'd be a perfect fit with our crew and a hit with our customers.
Kim is a Louisiana native. She grew up in New Orleans and Slidell, and finished her later years of school there. She ultimately settled in the Baton Rouge area after Hurricane Katrina. She attended UNO and LSU for business, but found she excelled in the sales industry. Kim has had several years of experience in the automotive service industry as well as over a decade in sales experience in general.
As a newlywed, Kim likes to spend time with her husband, their kids and their fur babies, and looks forward to the more open schedule this new position provides allowing her to do so!
She is definitely that smiling face in the front office and the helpful, friendly voice on the phone. We are very happy to have her representing our company and know she was a great choice to best service our customers needs.
Keys to having a successful automotive repair shop don't stop at just hiring the most educated and top technicians. In fact, Vinnie was well informed on the high failure rate of automotive shops when strictly run by a technician. Lets face it, automotive techs may not be the most personal and business savvy people.
Enter Amanda Carollo. Amanda moved a little here and there as a child but since 1993 has called Louisiana home, specifically Slidell. It was clear to her early in her working life that running a business and leading by example was what she was cut out for. Becoming the store manager of a local Cici's Pizza restaurant shortly after high school propelled her in a direction to handle many of the behind the scenes business management roles, accounting, payroll, and inventory control to name a few. Looking for a change and recognizing her skill, Amanda accepted a job opportunity at a Covington, LA based print shop. Quality employees are something that anyone, client or owner, can see very quickly and not surprisingly, Amanda moved into the role of store manager for 6 of those 9 years at the print shop.
Time and material are the two main facets of running an automotive shop, and the parallels between it and a print shop are alike in countless ways. So for over a decade Amanda has been preparing for her role here at Vinnie's Exotics. She has become the first point of contact our customers have grown accustomed to and single handedly doubled the productivity of our shop and handles every aspect of our operation with the exception of working on the vehicles. This has an effect of allowing the technicians to work methodically without interruption, decreasing down time of clients vehicles as well as ensuring a job done right. After all, that is our ultimate goal.
In 2020, Vinnie and Amanda were married, making our shop a true family run establishment.
As you can see, we have set in place all the pieces to have a high level automotive shop working on high end and exotic vehicles that has not been seen in our area. Friendly faces, knowledgeable staff are not just buzz words, they are actualities. What we do is not just a job, its our lifestyle, and our calling. We welcome you to stop by, experience our newest 14,000 sq ft facility and meet our staff. We are a small shop doing big things for our local car market. We hope to earn your business as well.
- Vinnie Carollo
Another native from the outer Baton Rouge area, Jonathan was born and raised in Walker Louisiana. He attended Walker high school and is a self proclaimed jack of all trades. Jonathan brings a wide range of skills that were learned over his adult years working in the oil, gas and chemical industry. For example, working with electrical, welding, and various repair duties on gas and diesel engines. In 2007 Jonathan started his automotive career at Volkswagen. In 2010, he attended the VW apprenticeship program and by 2014 was the foreman of the local VW dealership. His skill and diagnostic ability led him to this position and, like Philip, he became the "go to" for the hard problems.
After VW, Jonathan decided to stay within the VW brand and went to work at the local Audi dealership where he met Philip. Philip and Jonathan made a great duo and it was clear even at Audi, who needed to handle the hard problems. When Philip came on board with us, he was quick to mention Jonathan for the position of lead tech and foreman which is what we were looking for as we build our shop.
Since his arrival, Jonathan has easily acquainted himself to the various makes and models we work on here at Vinnie's Exotics and has shown that coming on board was a mutually beneficial decision. Jonathan has become Vinnie's diagnostic right hand man.
Along with automotive, Jonathan has set his sights on a bigger boat for weekends on the water with his wife Mara, and the kids, Thaddeus and Jemma.
In keeping with the hometown team, Jacob was also born and raised in Prairieville, Louisiana. Jacob also went to St. Amant High School and his older brother even graduated with Philip. Jacob is the son of one of our long time clients. When we would have an event, Jacob, still in high school at the time, would come along with his father to see the shop and the cars which gave him the inspiration to further his career path toward the automotive field.
Right out of high school, Jacob enlisted in the Marine Reserves. He currently holds the rank of Corporal, having been trained as a diesel technician. Once out of boot camp, Jacob enrolled in automotive school, the same program Vinnie attended. Jacob had a 3.7 GPA and only missed class due to military training.
After graduating, Jacob found out how important timing is in this industry. We were looking to add another technician and Jacob's dad just happened to be telling us that he had just graduated.
The pieces are falling into place for Jacob and his life goals are on track. He is currently engaged and will be married to his high school girlfriend in March of 2024.
His future and the future of the shop are both in good hands.