Class Year: 2018
When Joe Paliotta III learned that the CEO, Al Clark, and CFO, Phil Field, at Penn Power Group, attended Drexel LeBow for their Executive MBA degrees, he knew that he wanted to follow their lead. Paliotta joined the program in 2016, just six years after starting at the company, and says he never regrets taking the plunge. “When you’re ready, you just have to do it,” he says. “You never regret investing in yourself.”
A former business owner and sales professional, Paliotta knew he wanted to make an impact on the business world but says he didn’t always have the tools. After graduating from Rutgers University in 2001 with a degree in business management, Paliotta looked for opportunities where he could start his own business or work in positions that had what he calls “an entrepreneurial feel.”
Aware of his search, his friend, Ed Colgan, agreed to start a small cleaning company with Paliotta at the beginning of 2002. Paliotta says he loved the thrill of entrepreneurship, but later discovered the company wasn’t the right fit for him and he needed more experience to get a business off the ground. At the end of the year, he made the decision to sell the business to his partner. “Running the company was a great opportunity for me, but I knew I wanted to try something else,” says Paliotta.
When speaking with a friend who was in the mortgage business, Paliotta found what he knew would be his next career: mortgage sales. From 2002 to 2008, the jiu jitsu student worked at PHH Mortgage and dedicated his time to seeing the business – and his success – grow. “It was a very lucrative industry at the time and I got a ton of top notch training,” says Paliotta. But when the industry took a turn in 2008, Paliotta decided to return to the entrepreneurial spirit.
After working in sales for a short time, Paliotta decided to join the company where his father had worked for over 40 years, Penn Power Group. “The biggest transition for me was when I left working in sales,” says Paliotta. “In sales, you live and die by your performance. It’s sort of like entrepreneurship or when I’m doing jiu jitsu. Everything you’ve done – everything you put in – is what you get out. You’re responsible for your own destiny.”
Starting as a customer service representative at Penn Power Group, Paliotta worked his way up to branch manager in a matter of six years. It was there that Paliotta would learn the value of working as a part of a team. “People really are the lifeblood of the success of an organization,” says Paliotta. “I had a strong background in sales and management but I needed to learn how to combine that information with the data and take that information to turn it into sales and share it with others.”
Paliotta had always known he wanted to complete his MBA, but knew that with Penn Power Group, he could truly succeed. “I had people pushing me to go to school. I had the support of my company and I had executive leadership in my company who benefited from the Executive MBA program,” says Paliotta. “Drexel is a place and an opportunity for me to really round out my skill set and learn business from all different angels. I couldn’t be happier.”