My favorite quote is “You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes and you can go in any direction you choose” Dr. Seuss. I have always enjoyed going in the direction I choose. Something about it makes it scary and exciting at the same time. I have always enjoyed being an entrepreneur, when I was 13 I would purchase sneakers from a warehouse and sell them to students and teachers at my school, my brother and I would wake up at 5 a.m. on the weekends to set up a booth at the Roosevelt Field flea market. My dad had a small pallet company, while studying at Brooklyn College I would help on the weekends and whenever I didn’t have school. I decided I wanted to become a CPA. I passed the exam worked at a midsize firm directly for the head partner who through his mentorship I learned about accountability, management, and entrepreneurship.
At some point I couldn’t sit in a cube my whole life. I told my dad I wanted to come back to grow the business. Since I had a fast track in becoming a manager and making a great living he thought I was crazy but finally gave in. We started with 12 employees we now have 168 employees. The revenue for the year when I started is now our weekly sales target. I have a great team and am very proud of what we have accomplished.
Our company started in a sublet space in a warehouse in 1993. My Dad would pick up broken pallets behind warehouses, fix them, and sell them to a couple of customers. Our business started to mature when we began picking up trailer loads of pallets for the Home Depot stores. In the early years cash was always an issue. We would take small salaries and reinvest in pallet equipment, tractors and trailers. When we finally started to do well we decided to open up another facility in East Orange, New Jersey. I, along with my Sales Manager, became active in our trade organization’s events, there we met many people in our industry and eventually started to get regional exposure through national brokers. We began working with companies like Coke Cola, Lowes, Staples, Pepsi, Old Castle, UPS, etc. Today, our reputation is outstanding in the national pallet community.
We have had some hard times and we struggled from two major fires that we came back from and did not miss any orders to the financial issues when the 2008 housing crisis hit. We worked very hard to the point where my Dad and I were stretched too thin. Our NJ plant grew from five employees to 40 in three years. On February 1, 2015 we decided to merge with another large company in NJ. It has been over a year and it has been the best decision I have ever made. We are now the largest pallet company in the Metropolitan Area with record profits and better decision making.
Innovative Approaches and Future Plans
We create a business model that make us a very sustainable company. We do not have one customer that is over 5% of our business. We have many avenues of revenue such as Mulch, Recyclables, Sorting, and Roll offs. Our competitive edge is our infrastructure; we have 23 tractors, 200 trailers, two shifts, and 168 employees. The average pallet company in our region has 15 employees.
We have plans this year to completely upgrade our production lines with an anticipated production increase of 15%. This will allow us to process pallets faster and have more finished inventory. In addition we are expanding; we will be establishing an additional facility in Eastern Pennsylvania. Through are national partner we will be able to hit the ground running the day we open.
We have other near term plans. We plan to increase our technology by giving all of our drivers’ handhelds in order to process paperwork more quickly and efficiently. We are working with a marketing company to give us more of a presence online.
Company Initiative and Culture
Our culture starts from the top. I handle most of the philanthropic duties for the company. Which I find most rewarding. I am a Cub Scout Den Leader for my 9 year old son Paul. Last year I also became the Cub Master of the pack. Which entails running all of the meeting and overall program.
This year shaved my head for St. Baldrick’s, a charity that funds research for young children with cancer. I like to tell people if you lead than you need to lead. Shaving my head for is a prime example of leadership for my Cub Scouts.
We offer a hardship program for our employees, collection are made among colleagues and we as a company match all proceeds. Additionally we offer an interest free loan program for employees that have personal issues such as car trouble or unforeseen bills.
We take care of our employees because they take care of us. It is very important that our employees feel like they are supported and valued. Another great way to retain and empower our employees is by introducing more ergonomically machinery. With the new conveyor lines and stackers our employees will be able to produce more, make more money, and be fresher and safer.