Employee Spotlight: John Santaniello, Prototype Shop Manager

Hi John!

Hi John!

Who is John Santaniello?

One almost never knows the journey their career will take them on. Skill sets from one role can blend into another and present a new path to take. At the Empire Group, this is a common theme amongst our employees. Creative, forward-thinking craftsmen and women with various experiences in trades, hobbies, and relevant interests travel across New England daily to collaborate in our facility. This allows for some of the most talented experts to provide innovative solutions to our niche field of product development.

The story behind John Santaniello, Prototype Shop Manager, makes for the perfect example of this. An expert in custom painting and auto body work, John brings an impressive background to the table and acts as the glue that holds our shop floor together.


John truly thrives in the fast-paced, constantly changing environment of product development; but things weren’t always that way. With experience and interest in cars since childhood with his father, he chose to pursue a career with auto body and refinishing work. Before joining Empire Group, John worked with a renowned Ford dealership. During this time, he honed his skills and wound up the Assistant Manager of the dealership’s auto body shop. In addition to his passion with cars, John has always fostered a love for Harleys – fixing, customizing, riding, and even racing them before starting his family. His passion is clear to see by his drive and success in learning absolutely everything there is to know, both inside and outside of work.

After 17 years with the dealership, by a stroke of luck, John was introduced to the CEO & Founder of Empire Group through his brother. His career in high-end, quality prototypes took off from there. When asked about getting started with the company, John explains “…it all starts in the garage.” His expertise in custom painting and ability to finish any surface quickly translated into his role. 14 years later, he still brings his A game to manage the shop and allow our prototypes to truly shine.

Learn more about John in our Q&A:

Q: Tell us your favorite thing about Empire Group

A: I like how well we work as a team.

Q:  As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: I always wanted to run my own auto body shop.

Q:  What is your favorite memory at Empire Group?

A:  Honestly they're all good, I love what I do.

Q:  How do you like to spend your spare time?

A: Hanging out with my family.

Q: What is the best part of being a Prototype Shop Manager?

A: The accomplishment you feel getting everything done correctly.

Q: Do you have any hidden talents?

A: Customizing cars and motorcycles.

Q:  How would you describe the nature of your role?

A: It's an adrenaline rush.

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's ... John cruising the sky!

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's ... John cruising the sky!

Q: Which would you rather have – a talking dog, flying car, or one super power of your choice?

A: A flying car. You get the best of both worlds: a new car, and the ability to fly.

Q: Do you have any advice for anyone interested in pursuing a similar career?

A: Take any advice you can get from those more experienced in the industry.

Learn more about the prototype services John and his team provides.