Prior to joining Firstronic LLC, an advanced electronics manufacturing services and optimized supply chain solutions company, John served as CEO of Live Sports Radio LLC, a private-equity backed business, for 3 years. He also served as president and CEO of EPIC Technologies, LLC, a multinational EMS company, for nearly 10 years. He led the company’s growth from $3 million (through its predecessor business, CCI) to nearly $300 million in annual revenue, while achieving industry-leading levels of profitability. In 2006, he was the recipient of the “EY Entrepreneur of the Year” award in the technology category for the Midwest region.
Prior to joining EPIC, he was responsible for TMW’s investment platform strategy in electronics manufacturing. He joined TMW’s company Electro-Wire Products in 1990 as manager of market development engineering for the EMP division of Electro-Wire, which achieved revenue growth from $6 million to $30 million by 1992. John was also responsible for European business development from 1993 to 1995, during which Electro-Wire acquired a German electrical distribution system manufacturer with annual revenues of $120 million. Prior to joining Electro-Wire, he held several positions at Ford Motor Company from 1986 to 1990. He holds B.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Industrial Management from Lawrence Technological University and an M.B.A. from INSEAD, The European Institute of International Business.
1. How do you define success?
Achieving financial freedom and a balanced life to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
2. What is the key to success?
Doing what you love so that it’s not “work.” So you can pour yourself into it and do whatever it takes to be successful. I also think a key is being “programmed” early on in life to have high expectations, which means an important part of this comes from parents or those raising you as a child to expect great things.
3. Did you always know you would be successful?
Yes, that has always been “programmed” into my mind for as long as I can remember.
4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
The fact that failure isn’t an option and knowing that there is always a way. It’s just a matter of finding it!
5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
That once you start succeeding, remain focused and don’t get distracted with other opportunities, because with success will come many other competing interests from all directions.
6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Spending time with family and friends.
7. What makes a great leader?
Someone with vision, drive, motivation, inspiration, and tenacity.
8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Do profile testing to discover all of the options/opportunities out in the world for the type of skills you have to offer. The key early on is to discover what you truly love to do, as soon as possible, so you don’t waste a lot of time discovering what you don’t want!
This interview is an excerpt from Never Give Up by Jason Navallo.