Experienced 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 of people from all industries and from all over the world. That’s why we launched our Seasoned Leadership in Action™ interview series. This interview is with Tony Giovaniello, President of Shasta EDC (Economic Development Corporation).

I first met Tony at Celestica. We worked together in the solution development organization responsible for designing creative, compelling proposals for old and new clients.

The solution development role required tremendous leadership, a broad view of all aspects of running a business, business acumen, creativity and ability to work collaboratively at all levels with people inside and outside the organization around the world.

I expect Tony Giovaniello will use these skills and abilities and many more in his current role as President of Shasta EDC. Thank you Tony for your friendship and for taking the time to share your experience and expertise with us.

Here’s our interview with an outstanding industry leader, Tony Giovaniello!

Tell our readers a bit about your background and experience?

Overall, over the last forty (45) years I have had the opportunity to work in many different types of companies.

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

After that, a friend’s family worked in the manufacturing business. He asked me to set up a representative business with him in Silicon Valley in the early 1980s. We have represented manufacturing companies (metal, sheet metal and plastic), a tool and mold maker, an injection moulder, a circuit board manufacturer, a circuit board assembler, a die caster and others. This was my first contact with manufacturing. It was a great learning field. You only learn quickly on commission.

Then I was in sales for a computer terminal manufacturer. We had many quality problems. This prompted me to learn more about how to build reliability into the designs and quality into the manufacturing process. We were one of the first companies to do a reshore in 1989. We very successfully brought Assemble back to the US from Hong Kong and Taiwan and a few years later from Mexico. I ran this operation as COO.

Then I switched to the contract manufacturing industry. All my experiences so far have been a perfect fit, especially as CMs were moving into the “system building” realm. After two years at Solectron, I decided to start my own contract manufacturing company with a focus on building systems together with a former colleague. We have grown this business to over $50 million in less than 4 years.

An investor looking to get into the new desktop market, thin clients, asked me to help him set up a business. I hired a team, secured three (3) Asian suppliers, 3 software suppliers (USA, France and Taiwan). We recently signed 9 new products and 45 value-added resellers. After we had grown in the first year, but not yet bankable, my investor could no longer finance us, even though we were on schedule.

I spent a year as a consultant helping a friend of mine sell him a business. We successfully sold this company to US Bank.

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

After that first role, I led sales and solutions teams serving many industries. My team has designed complete supply chains for many very large companies, with design, production, fulfillment and post-manufacturing solutions tailored for optimized costs and end customer satisfaction.

Now I lead a non-profit organization in economic development. We recruit new manufacturers into our community, support our existing manufacturers and also encourage start-ups that manufacture and/or develop technologies. We have a wonderful manufacturing cooperation and offer many hours of free consultation.

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 up to this point have been designed and developed in-house. We had to change all of our design and production processes to accommodate their needs. It has resulted in improvements across our organization and significant growth across the organization.

Which part of the team that “reshored” products from Asia and Mexico in the late 1980s. This showed how a “TCO” (Total Cost of Ownership) analysis can change the way you look at your business. This was a case study at the Columbia School of Business.

Although 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 employees because of the quality of our products, marketing and support.

As Celestica, we weren’t typically the biggest supplier to our customers. They kept us in their portfolio because of our thought leadership. There is value in providing solutions to problems that neither your customer nor your competitors can solve.

How has business and supply chain changed over the course of your career?

The biggest changes come from making travel easier, improving communications, the internet, data collection and analysis.

Our decisions can be made and implemented quickly and with a constantly growing level of knowledge and experience.

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

listen and learn Join us, this is your path to learning. Find a mentor willing to share their knowledge and be your sounding board as new opportunities and challenges arise. Read, read and read some more!

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

What challenges in the world are important to you?

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

There isn’t enough marketing or preparation in our high schools. We are working to improve our career and technical education (CTE) programs. We encourage manufacturers to participate in these CTE programs.

What role do business, supply chain and change leadership play in overcoming these challenges?

We encourage manufacturers to participate in these CTE programs. They can steer the curriculum to be consistent with their work, provide guest lectures, and provide up-to-date equipment.

Manufacturers have the most to lose by ignoring this issue and the most to gain by fully engaging. My team acts as coordinator, facilitator and driver of this integration.

What are you working on these days?

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

3D printing is completely changing supply chains. Competitors embracing smart manufacturing, even in smaller locations, are changing the competitive landscape. We try to be there with eyes and ears. Ultimately, however, they must move their feet.

What advice would you give to people who aspire to, or are considering, a career in business and/or supply chain?

These are incredibly interesting jobs. They offer the opportunity for lifelong learning. Do not let this opportunity be missed by the clichés presented.

Manufacturers are looking for talent. They will show you how they work. One of the things you’ll notice is that it’s not untypical for a company with 125 employees to have 40 different job classifications. This offers flexibility as your interests will be precisely matched.

You will also be very proud to be part of a team developing a product that is widely available in the market or making a larger product work.

All in all, I’m so glad I’ve had this wonderful career. It has given me opportunities to work in sales, marketing, product management, distribution management, general management and start new businesses.

If you’re curious, willing to roll up your sleeves and can latch on to a mentor’s coattails, the possibilities are endless. Enjoy!

How to contact Tony Giovaniello?

Tony Giovaniello, President, Shasta EDC


[email protected]



Originally published March 12, 2019.

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