View From the Top: Jay Adair

CEO, Copart



Copart began the process of relocating its global headquarters from just outside Napa Valley in California to Dallas in the fall of 2011. By December 2013, the company had successfully moved about 250 employees. With the five-year anniversary of the move in sight this year, the company— which sells more than $4 billion worth of product each year—is celebrating a job well done. After all, the provider of online vehicle auction and remarketing services does business in about 150 U.S. cities at 175 locations. That’s in addition to the South American headquarters in Sao Paulo, its European headquarters in London, and international operations in Germany, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, and India.

WHAT INSPIRED THE MOVE FROM CALIFORNIA FIVE YEARS AGO?

We picked it for “the three Ps”—people, place, and position. The amount of talent you can get because it’s a metropolitan area is second to none. It’s also an easy place to get people to move to. Having done business in California, you couldn’t get the deal done because of the cost of living. It’s easy to get talent here. Dallas also has a winning attitude. We looked at a number of cities, and the can-do, “we’re going to win” attitude here makes it that much easier.

WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND IN THE FIVE YEARS SINCE?

California has some beautiful scenery and weather. We were concerned about that. Is it going to be cold? Will it be snowing? Will it be super hot? These are the stereotypes Californians were worried about. But when we got here, we thought, “Why do people worry about the weather? It’s really great.” Dallas has a warmer spring than California and about the same winter, barring a couple of ice storms or occasional dusting of snow.

WHY WAS DALLAS PROPER THE RIGHT SPOT WITHIN DFW?

We were in a more rural town in California with a view of vineyards from our building. In Dallas, we drove McKinney, Frisco, Plano, and Las Colinas. When we got done, everyone agreed. We chose the area around the Dallas North Tollway and Interstate 635. We have a lot of tech people who like to be downtown. At the same time, we have people who are married with kids. The point we picked was really center—you could live anywhere.