Devin Piscitelli relishes the challenges of leading family-founded company AAkron
Devin Piscitelli’s history with AAkron Line is intertwined with his family story, and 15 years after joining the family business full-time, he continues to write history for the supplier alongside his sister and business partner, Danielle Robillard.
“My first job in this industry was stacking lumber the summer before my 14th birthday for AAkron—lifting boards that were four times my size alongside men who were four times my age,” Piscitelli recalls. “But with AAkron being a family business, I’m sure I was trying to help out—or get out of helping—at a much younger age.”
Now Piscitelli serves as the company’s CEO, and each day offers him new and exciting challenges. Read on to learn about a day in his life.
What do you love about your company?
The people! There are many people who are still here from when my father used to run AAkron. They are the reason Danielle and I work as hard as we do.
Describe your office atmosphere.
I feel that it is a good balance of caring and hardworking people who don’t take themselves too seriously. They will run through a wall for our customers but will do it wearing their Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres and University of Tennessee gear instead of suits.
What kinds of projects or tasks might you tackle on a given day?
Anything from new hires to sales growth strategies, from the launch of our new website and mobile app to marketing campaigns, from new product development to company admin and performance analysis—and that’s just what’s on my calendar. Every day is different.
How do you collaborate with co-workers?
It depends on which co-worker I am working with and what the project is. Am I driving the collaboration or are they? I think that it comes down to surrounding yourself with intelligent people who care and whom you can trust.
How does this job challenge you?
I feel that in life you get out of things what you put in and this job is no different. Every day is different, and sometimes extremely challenging, but through hard work, surrounding yourself with great people, and a little bit of luck you can be successful at whatever you are doing. This is why AAkron has nearly tripled our business in the 15 years Danielle and I have been working together through two, maybe three, economic downturns.
What changes or improvements have you recently implemented, or are planning to make in the future?
The only thing that is constant is change, so with that being said, EVERYTHING! We are constantly improving our technology (front and back end); our safety records and processes (AAkron’s are more stringent than required); new product and imprinting development (we have invested more than $500,000 in moving molding production back to the U.S. from China in the last year); and adding new outside and inside sales positions, along with more customer service reps, to upgrade our levels of availability and service.
What makes AAkron a valuable member of the promotional products community?
I love this question. I think that for about 10 years now, AAkron has been at the forefront of challenging the status quo of this very established industry. We are different than our competitors and strive to maintain that competitive advantage through our products and services, whether it be through our nearly 400 “Made in the USA” products, AAkron’s extensive line of Mood Products or our patented Zing Line items. AAkron has been at the forefront of imprinting technology, efficiency and turn times, being among the first to offer full-color digital printing on almost the entire line. I also think that AAkron’s commitment to our customers adds value, so that they continue to look great in their customers’ eyes at the end of the day.