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According to The Oxford American Dictionary, the definition of grew (the past tense of grow) means to increase in size or quantity and becoming greater over time. So, you can relatively say that all of us here at Penn Machine “grew” up with Joe Pro.
Our management team has more than 200 years’ experience combined. Joe is certainly responsible for inspiring each one of us to keep doing what we do best every day — continuing to “grow” and support Penn Machine’s goals and objectives with each of our strengths focused in different areas.
Joe has many success stories; it would be a long novel if I named them all, but the short story unfolds. Joe joined our Accounting Department in the 1980s as a staff accountant after finishing his bachelor’s degree at Temple University in Philadelphia. He worked his way up to becoming plant manager at our N.J. location in the 1990s while going to school part-time to get his master’s degree in business management. Joe did this while supporting and helping to raise his family.
Shortly after, he became the operations manager for all our locations. Joe’s expertise in finance, customer service, our products and our people are second to none! In 2007, his hard worked paved his way to becoming president of Penn Machine.
Joe’s beautiful family includes his wife, son, daughter-in-law, daughter, son-in-law and five grandchildren. They are his pride and joy — in addition to everyone else’s family. Joe always goes out of his way to ask about your family or even ask what you have planned for the weekend or vacation, while wanting to hear about it once you return.
He makes it a point to seek out each employee personally to wish them “Happy Birthday!” on their special day! Do you know how happy an employee feels when the president of the company comes out to the shop floor to wish them a Happy Birthday? It always makes their day! He even parks in the back section of the parking lot. How many company presidents do that?
Joe understands that everyone is different, that each of use has strengths and weaknesses. He recognizes that no one is perfect, not even himself, and he will go out of his way to assist you in conquering those weaknesses to the best of your ability — even if it means sitting down with you and learning something new himself.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Joe back in 2007 for a college paper I was completing. One of the questions I asked him was about his top five beliefs in required attributes of maintaining good leadership? His response? No. 1, honesty; No. 2, personal integrity; No. 3, the ability to listen; No. 4, the ability to speak clearly to convey a message; and No. 5, sharing no prejudice.
I am sure that every person Joe comes in contact with today will say that Joe exemplifies all five of these attributes. Success stories, there are many, but I have to say Joe’s leadership skills take the cake. It is about “we” with Joe, not “I.”
Joe, everyone here at Penn Machine wishes you nothing but the best in this honorary moment! You have worked hard in making Penn Machine what it is today. Not only through the transitioning of ownership but the many years of making the connections in our industry, the years of making everyone aware of who Penn Machine is and your commitment and faith in our ability to manufacture world-class, quality products.
You did all of it while still staying committed to both families: the one at home and his Penn Machine family.
“Before you are a leader, success is growing yourself,” Jack Welch said. “When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” Joe, congratulations! Thank-you for helping us grow! This honor is well-deserved.
Wishing you many more years of success,
Your Penn Machine Family
Special thanks to the PVF Roundtable for helping to bring this story together.