Where were you born?
Providence, R.I., although I never lived in Rhode Island. My parents lived in a small town in northeast Connecticut, and the closest hospital was in Providence. When I was 12, we moved to just north of Philadelphia, and I was around 17 when we moved to a small town in Ohio.
Education: Bachelor of science degree, business administration, with a major in marketing, The Ohio State University
What’s the best business lesson you’ve learned?
There are two groups of individuals that you should always put first. First are your customers, and either tied or just behind your customers are your employees. If you take care of those two groups, you should find business success.
What’s your favorite board game and why?
I probably would say chess. The strongest chess players are the ones that have the ability to think the most moves ahead. I think there’s some analogy from chess to life as well as to business. Training your brain to think as many moves ahead as possible is one of the keys to success. That’s not to say I’m going to win any chess competitions anytime soon.
What was your first job, and what did you learn from it that stays with you today?
Shining my dad’s shoes. I was probably six or seven years old. I got a nickel a shoe, and I used to take all his dress shoes down to the basement with his shoeshine box and shine all his shoes. I learned that ex-military guys are real sticklers for shoeshine. You don’t get paid unless it’s a top-quality spit-shine. To this day, I like a good spit-shine on my shoes, too. All kidding aside, what I learned is if you work hard [and] produce a good result, the financial rewards will follow.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Really deep down, I wanted to be a professional baseball player. What better job could there possibly be? You get to play a sport you love every day, be around teammates, exciting atmosphere and get paid big bucks for that. I just couldn’t have thought of a better job. It got to a certain level where I realized I better work hard in school because it’s probably not in the cards for me.