Occupation: SVP, Services & Support, BridgeHead Software
First Car: 1981 Pontiac Grand Prix (with the 1/2 vinyl roof - it was quite a ride!)
Favorite Restaurant: Little Richards BBQ, Clemmons, NC
What are three things most people don't know about you?
a). I almost went into the insurance business (was hired by MetLife and passed my license exams, but realized it wasn’t for me)
b). I’m a closet Barry Manilow fan - not anymore I guess
c). I was a DJ when I was around 18-21 for private parties and weddings. Yup, if you knew me, you’d find this very hard to believe.
What's been your greatest adventure in life?
My father emigrated from Italy when he was 15 years old. I was always so proud of him for what he accomplished and made of himself here in America. In 1993, after more than 30 years in the US since he was last back to Italy, he took my mother and I back to his birthplace in Italy. I was able to meet many of his family, my family, for the first time, and walk through the 2 room stone house he grew up in, which still sits on land owned by his relatives in Italy to this day.
This was quite an experience as he told me stories about his past and the memories he had growing up there with his parents and brothers. I guess you could say it was a defining moment for a father and a son. I owe everything I am to my Dad (of course my Mom had a lot to do with it too).
What's your best childhood memory?
Getting tickled to the point of it hurting-by my Dad on the living room floor during the Nightly News. It was one of the few things that could get my Dad to give up watching the news at night.
If you could have a conversation with a person of your choice, past, present or future, who would that person be and why?
Ronald Regan. “Trust, but verify” has been a motto I’ve lived by for a very long time and it’s served me well. I think he was quite a leader, and I would have loved to have been able to speak with him.
What's the hardest thing you've ever done in your life?
Having my first child have fairly minor surgery at the age of 3, mostly because it required general anesthesia. As a parent, watching him fight the gas and be so scared, really puts a lot of things in life into perspective. (He’s fine by the way, all better and no lasting issues.)
Tell us about your favorite hobby.
Boating. My wife would say I like to talk about boats more than own one, but there’s something to be said for that. It’s a highly technical recreation, and understanding navigation and rules of the road and handling in seas is fascinating to me. I feel like you can never be good enough, because the first time you let your guard down, you can get into trouble. As the captain, anyone on that boat puts their life in your hands, so I treat it with the respect it deserves, and it keeps me coming back for more.
What are you currently reading? What is your favorite book?
I haven’t started it yet, but I plan to soon. But as a gift from someone, I was given a Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln personally signed by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I always found Abe Lincoln fascinating, so I’m very excited to read this story.
My favorite book would have to be Dead Men Tapping:
The End of the Heather Lynne II by Kate Yeomans - It’s a local story (New England) about a fishing boat that was involved in an accident and about the final moments leading up to the accident and the time its crew hung on waiting for help, before perishing just minutes before help finally arrived. I remember the accident on the news, and know the area they were in well by boat, so it touches me deeply to think about them and what they went through.
Is there a particular place or thing you want to see?
I would love to visit Alaska and Australia.
If you could give $10,000 to a charity, what would that charity be and why?
This is a tough one. Can I split it between the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society? My Mom has diabetes, as did my grandfather, and I’ve lost two close uncles to cancer. Cancer just scares me more than anything.
If you weren't on the professional services career track, what would you be doing?
I’d likely be an engineer or developer. Once I gave up on insurance, I really ‘found myself’ in technology and love it.
What is the path that led you to Professional Services/Consulting?
See question 10. Ha ha!
Once I got involved in technology, I realized that I also loved being with the customers, and started focusing on delivery and services. A recruiter here and an opportunity there, and I moved into roles that put me front and center in creating and/or scaling services organizations.
What advice would you give to a recent graduate who just took a job in professional services?
Round yourself out. If you focus too heavily on one specific specialty right from the start, you’ll lose, or really never have, a wide perspective, which I think is very important for a PS leader. I spent tours of duty in development, support, project management, account management, operations, etc., over my career. Some I liked more than others, but one thing is for sure, it gave me great perspective on all angles of the business, and really created a solid foundation to see the whole picture.