Joseph Zeno, president and CEO, ACS Industries Inc.

Joseph Zeno, president and CEO, ACS Industries Inc.

FINALIST: Distribution and Manufacturing

During his 37 years of leading ACS Industries Inc., President and CEO Joe Zeno has overcome many obstacles. Beginning in 1974, he began the task of guiding an insolvent company to 35 consecutive years of profits. When ACS needed to purchase manufacturing equipment, he mortgaged his house to provide the needed funds while owning a minority interest in the company.

Zeno’s tenacious and innovative approach provided the foundation for ACS to resume its growth in sales and employees in the second half of 2009, as the economy started to rebound from the recession. The company has remained consistently profitable during the recent recession, and has generated a 50 percent increase in sales over the two-year period of 2010 and 2011. Since the low point of the company’s business cycle in mid-2009, ACS has added 32 staff members.

Zeno is committed to values-based leadership, which he lives and practices in both his business and personal life. He has instituted a well-defined and globally-communicated purpose and director for ACS, supported by core values and guiding principles instilled within the fabric of the company.

ACS also has consistently achieved its goals as a result of the efforts of its staff of quality professionals and its positive culture of achievement, where the work environment can best be described as collaborative, collegial and intensely non-political. The company values positive team dynamics, trust, mutual respect, determination, tenacity, perseverance and customer focus to succeed in today’s global, competitive society.

Zeno and his staff have leveraged their culture and work ethic to reinvent the company into a fully-integrated manufacturer with cutting-edge technology and growing factories in Kent, Ohio and Arlington, Wash.

How to reach: ACS Industries Inc.,