Seasoned Leadership in Action™ – An Interview with Tony Giovaniello, President of Shasta EDC

Tony Giovaniello, President Shasta EDC

At Supply Chain Game Changer we believe in sharing experiences and expertise from people in every industry and from across the globe.  As such we have introduced our “Seasoned Leadership in Action™” Interview series. This interview is with Tony Giovaniello, President of the Shasta EDC (Economic Development Corporation).

I first met Tony at Celestica.  We worked together in the Solutions Development organization, responsible for designing creative, winning proposals for customers, old and new.

The Solutions Development role required tremendous leadership, a broad view of all aspects of running a business, business acumen, creativity, and skill in working at all levels with individuals within and outside the company all over the world.

I expect that Tony Giovaniello uses these skills and capabilities, and many more, in his current role as President of the Shasta EDC. Thank you Tony  for your friendship and taking the time to share your experiences and expertise with us.

Here is our interview with an excellent Industry leader, Tony Giovaniello!

Tell our readers a little about your background and experience? 

Overall the last forty-fix (45) years, I have had an opportunity to work in many different types of enterprises. 

First, right out of high school, I started at the IRS. That was my first view of a factory. They were not building products. The mission was to process paper in very high volume. 

After that, one of my friends’ family was in the fabrication business. He asked me to join him in building a rep business in Silicon Valley in the early 80s. We represented fabrication companies (metal, sheet metal, and plastic), a tool & die maker, an injection molder, PCB maker, PCB assembler, die caster, and others. This was my first exposure to manufacturing. It was a great learning ground. You learn quickly on commission only.

Then, I was in sales for a computer terminal maker. We had many quality problems. That caused me to learn more about building reliability into the designs and quality into the manufacturing process. We were one of the first companies to ”reshore” back in 1989. We very successfully brought assemble back to the US from Hong Kong and Taiwan, then a few years later, Mexico. I went on the lead that operation as the COO.

Then, I moved in to the contract manufacturing industry. All of my prior experience was a perfect fit especially since CMs were moving into the realm of “system build.” After two years at Solectron, I decided to join a former colleague in forming our own contract manufacturing firm focusing on building systems. We built that business to over $50M in less than 4 years.

An investor, who wanted to enter the new desktop market, thin clients, asked me to help him build a company. I hired a team, secured three (3) Asian suppliers, 3 software suppliers ( US, France, and Taiwan). We recently 9 new products, and signed 45 Value-Added Resellers. After growing over the first year, but not yet bankable, my investor could no longer fund us, even though we were on plan.

I spent a year as a consultant helping one of my friends sell him company. We successfully sold that company to US Bank.

From 2007 – 2012, I worked at Celestica. My first role their was to lead the sales and solutions team selling design, fulfillment, and post manufacturing services to clients all over the world. Some of our largest clients were RIM (Blackberry), Palm, and Microsoft. We design forward and reverse logistics supply chains.

After that initial role, I led sales and solutions teams serving many industry sectors. My team designed complete supply chains for many very large companies, with design, production, fulfillment, and post manufacturing solutions customized to provide optimized cost and end customer satisfaction.

Now, I lead a non-profit in economic development. We on recruitment new manufacturers into our community, support our existing manufacturers, and also nurture startups who manufacture and/or create technology. We have a wonderful manufacturing collaborative and provide many hours of free consulting.

What are some of your greatest achievements in Business? 

Being the first company to design and build a computer terminal for IBM. All of their products to that point were designed and developed internally. We had to change all of our design and production processes to meet their needs. It drove improvements all over our business and spurred substantial growth across the whole business.

What part of the team that “reshored” products from Asia and Mexico in the late 80s. This showed how a “TCO” (Total Cost of Ownership) analysis could change your view of your business. This was a case study in the Columbia School of Business.

Even though the startup thin client company failed, it proved that 9 people could build a supply chain for a complex product in less than 9 months. The market thought we had over 300 people to due the quality of our products, marketing, and support. 

As Celestica, we were usually not the biggest supplier to our clients. They kept us in the portfolio because of our thought leadership. There is value in providing solutions to  problems that your client nor your competitors can resolve.

How has Business and Supply Chain changed over the course of your career? 

The biggest changes come from the ease of travel, the improvement in communications, the internet, data capturing and analytics.

Our decisions can be made and implemented quickly and with a level of knowledge and sophistication that keeps growing.

What are some of the lessons you learned in your career that you would like to share for others to learn from? 

Listen and learn. Get involved that is your path to learning. Find a mentor who is willing to share their knowledge with you and be your sounding board as new opportunities and challenges present themselves. Read, read, and read some more!

Don’t be afraid to take on a challenge, they create some of the best learning opportunities and they show others that your talent is expanding and will continue to grow.

What challenges facing the world are important to you?

My biggest passion is in developing the manufacturing workforce. Unfortunately, in many circles manufacturing is viewed as a less desirable career path. This is prevalent at a time when the earning potential exceeds that of many other fields and these jobs are available for those with a high school diploma.

There is not enough marketing or preparation in our high schools. We are working to improve our career and technical education (CTE) programs. We are challenging manufacturers to engage in these CTE programs. 

What is the role of Business, Supply Chain and Change Leadership in addressing these challenges? 

We are challenging manufacturers to engage in these CTE programs. They can guide the curriculum to align with their jobs, guest lecture, and provide contemporary equipment.

Manufacturers have the most to lose by ignoring this issue, and the most to gain by full engagement. My team is acting as a coordinator, facilitator, and driver of this integration. 

What are you working on these days? 

We are working with all of our smaller manufacturers, who seem to be very “heads-down.” We don’t want them to look up one day and learn that they are no longer part of the supply chain for which they have served for years.

3D Printing is completely changing supply chains. Competitors embracing Smart Manufacturing, even in smaller sites, are changing the competitive landscape. We are trying to be there eyes and ears. However, ultimately, they have to move their feet.

What advice would you give people who have a career in, or who are considering joining, Business and/or Supply Chain? 

These are amazingly interesting careers. They provide an opportunity for life-long learning. Don’t let the stereotypes that are portrayed cause you to miss this opportunity.

Manufacturers are looking for talent. They will show you their operation. One of the things that you’ll find is that it is not atypical for a company with 125 employees to have 40 different job classifications. This offers flexibility as your interests are fine-tuned.

You will also take great pride in being part of a team that builds a product widely used in the market place or that enables a larger product to function.

All in all, I am so glad to have had this wonderful career. It has afforded me the ability to work in sales, marketing, product management, sales management, general management, and start new companies.

If you are curious, willing to roll up your sleeves, and can grab on to the coattails of a mentor, the possibilities are endless. Enjoy!

How can people contact Tony Giovaniello?

Tony Giovaniello, President, Shasta EDC


[email protected]

Originally published on March 12, 2019.