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Episode 57: The CADLIFE of Family Business

In the latest episode of the Family Biz Show, Michael Palumbos welcomed the DiLaura family from CAD Dimensions in Syracuse, New York. The episode delved into the family's business journey, the importance of succession planning, and maintaining a strong family bond within the business context.

Pete DiLaura, the patriarch and founder of CAD Dimensions, shared his experience of starting the family business, emphasizing the transition to new technologies and the evolution of the business over the years. He highlighted the significance of creating a detailed succession plan, which involved key employees and his sons, ensuring a smooth transition and the company's sustained growth.

Andy DiLaura discussed his non-linear path into the family business, from a background in sports management to recognizing the parallels between his previous job and his family's business. He underscored the company's commitment to providing exceptional customer experiences and differentiating themselves in a competitive market.

Tom DiLaura spoke about his journey back to the family business, leveraging his electrical engineering background to bring a new perspective to the company. He also highlighted the importance of being open to change and adapting to new market demands to stay relevant and successful.

The DiLaura family also discussed their approach to managing the business, emphasizing the value of listening, understanding each other, and working as a cohesive team. They shared insights into their management structure, including an executive team that involves long-time employees, and the implementation of the Five Dysfunctions of a Team framework to enhance team effectiveness.

In conclusion, the DiLaura family offered advice to other family businesses, emphasizing the importance of good listening, surrounding oneself with competent people, and being open to learning from others' experiences. Their story exemplifies the blend of tradition and innovation, the significance of preparing for the future, and the value of maintaining strong family and business relationships.

Episode 57 Transcript


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Michael Palumbos: Welcome to the family biz show my name is Michael Columbus with family wealth and legacy in Rochester New York.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And we have a heck of a show for you, today we have the flora family from CAD dimensions in Syracuse New York, and I am super excited.

 

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Michael Palumbos: To have them on and they may not even all know this, but when I started this show.

 

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Michael Palumbos: People would listen in and i'm like pete you listen to the show as i'm doing these recordings live I gotta have you on so i'm really excited here we are, two years later, and we get you on so as our welcome to all three of you welcome you know we have pete Andy and Tom to Laura.

 

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Michael Palumbos: What i'd love for you guys to do as our is our tradition is you know jump on tell you introduce yourself, give us a little background about how you went to the business and what generation are as you're doing you know gone through this so Peter i'll kick it off with you.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Right thanks Michael.

 

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Pete DiLaura: My name is Peter Laura and and as Michael is just saying I started the family business back in actually back in 1989 we incorporated in 90 and it's been just a thrill ever since.

 

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Pete DiLaura: So basically what what we do is we're solution provider for engineering and manufacturing applications, which is a little bit of software, a little bit of hardware.

 

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Pete DiLaura: And now, even with with the changes that have come about in the past couple years with coven and working process being shifted around, although in manufacturing.

 

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Pete DiLaura: You still have have some on site, but a lot of it is now the engineering is being done remote we've gotten more into the service sector as well, it was always a.

 

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Pete DiLaura: product that we wanted to get bigger into and now we're finding that doing services for our clients for our customers is turning out to be.

 

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Pete DiLaura: A very big part of our business for the future, so you know kind of what I do, although I will say, and we can get into a little bit later, too, but.

 

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Pete DiLaura: One of the things that that I have accomplished over the past 10 years is create a succession plan and so now i'm bowing out in going into i'll say semi retirement my son's may say for retirement, but now i'm falling out and and they're starting to take over.

 

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Michael Palumbos: So thanks thanks for joining us feet.

 

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Michael Palumbos: anytime who wants to go next.

 

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Andy DiLaura: yeah I can jump in Mike appreciate you having us in it might my journey into the family business is a little bit different in that I did not go to school for for engineering.

 

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Andy DiLaura: And kind of learned long learned that through through osmosis but I went to school for sports management and after college, I spent four years working in the front office for the Rochester read once so out in your neck of the woods yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I only saw he's been on the show.

 

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Andy DiLaura: Another good.

 

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Andy DiLaura: Good good family legacy.

 

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Andy DiLaura: So, at the time I didn't really think about the family business and it wasn't until till you know my dad and I would have our weekly Sunday chats when I was living out in Rochester.

 

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Andy DiLaura: And we were talking about you know the week and stuff and and the more I realized what I was doing for the red wings and sales and management.

 

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Andy DiLaura: had a lot of parallels to what my dad was doing with with CAD dimensions, so when a sales position opened up in our Rochester Office at the time.

 

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Andy DiLaura: I him and I had a long conversation over over lunch and by you know what this This makes sense for for me to to get involved.

 

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Andy DiLaura: In really just fell in love with the industry and, and you know I look back and say that didn't want the red wings, I will tell them, you know, sports and entertainment.

 

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Andy DiLaura: With with what we do here at cat dimension we're really solving problems in in that really resonated with me and, as I said, I just kind of fell in love with with what we get to do every day and.

 

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Andy DiLaura: in hindsight is as much as I loved my time with the red wings I wish I had started with cat dimensions even earlier, because it really, really became passionate about what we do.

 

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Michael Palumbos: But you wouldn't have banned who you are today without, so I will share with you Andy I have my rejection letter from the front office in the Miami dolphins, what I applied to them in 1993 and you know I still keep that ladder, you know i'm from the Joe from the Robbie family.

 

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Andy DiLaura: It.

 

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Andy DiLaura: was a great point, it is a great point about that, that being where, who I am today without that experience.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah you wouldn't made that connection, about how business is similar you know I tell people all the time I don't care what business you're in there's a formula, they all run the same.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah they're all different, but they all run the same at the end of the day, there's you know you its people, its processes its execution and strategy, you need to put that magic together the culture of the business to make those things happen so.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Great point that you were able to make that parallel Tom how are you.

 

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Tom Dilaura: i'm doing well, thanks for having us Michael.

 

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Tom Dilaura: So I will say Andy did join join the business after the red wings, but I think technically we both joined the business probably when we were.

 

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Tom Dilaura: Maybe maybe seven and 10 when we were vacuum and landscape and clean the bathrooms so hell bent on the books for some time, but, but my my journey back to back to cat dimension.

 

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Tom Dilaura: I went to school for electrical engineering I got hired right out of school for a deer the contractor and work there for several years and just.

 

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Tom Dilaura: got the got the understanding of a very large business so so kind of playing a role of a team and growing in that team arm, but at the end of the day, I felt.

 

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Tom Dilaura: Not undervalued, but, but the impact that I was having on the business was just kind of a checkbox not really something that I could go home and and really feel proud of um so within.

 

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Tom Dilaura: Within probably my fourth year being there my dad and brother had sent me over a document, and it was a new product that that solid works are.

 

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Tom Dilaura: Our software product has just released an electrical type product and they said hey what is this what does it do, can you explain this to us so.

 

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Tom Dilaura: yeah how patella was that was the biggest thing.

 

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Tom Dilaura: So, in what I knew I had dimensions that they sold mechanical engineering software and 3D printing hardware so what's my line of education, it wasn't really a great fit.

 

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Tom Dilaura: But once I saw that document and started understanding all right, there is an electrical aspect of of what CAD dimensions is doing.

 

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Tom Dilaura: That really got my brain thinking and between knowing that there was a fit for me a CAD dimensions and knowing that I could have a bigger impact on a day to day basis.

 

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Tom Dilaura: On better and I actually reached out to my brother Andrew first on the care if if I wanted to do this, what would it look like and where would the fifth day and then then going to my dad and said Sorry, I think I want to do this and can we make this happen.

 

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Tom Dilaura: So yeah so similar to android we went away, we followed what what we are we weren't in school, but, but there is something about that family business that that brings you right back to it.

 

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Michael Palumbos: that's very cool Thank you i'm pete talk about you know the formation of you know, can dimensions and you know yeah i've heard it a little bit you know 3D printing software and hardware and what.

 

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Michael Palumbos: tell me what you guys do.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Sure sure so so the formation, we actually sell as India had pointed out before solution for manufacturer, I mean 99% of our customers are into manufacturing.

 

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Pete DiLaura: or design engineering Okay, so what what back 30 years ago when CAD really first started to hit the market, it was a new avenue for engineering manufacturing to kind of become more efficient to modernize their process.

 

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Pete DiLaura: software companies came out big big systems big expenses, I mean for several years, I sold a CAD software package for $150,000 or $100,000.

 

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Pete DiLaura: They were monsters big computers, you know it took a complete environment.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Then it company came along, and it was i'll give the credit to autodesk who actually wrote the first PC based software program for cat.

 

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Pete DiLaura: And it came on in you could buy a personal computer for it, you didn't need a mainframe you didn't need a son or an SGI some of the bigger bigger cost systems and the market opened up, so there I had worked for a national manufacturer in the engineering Reaper graphics business.

 

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Pete DiLaura: bunch of us that when they bought a CAD company, there are software company and started the CAD business, so I worked there for several years, they decided to let the company fold.

 

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Pete DiLaura: number of different reasons, but bunch of US started our own business that went for about two years and then I broke off from that business that dissolved and started to add dimensions, again, there was a need for that.

 

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Pete DiLaura: reseller, if you will, which is what we are and the market was shifting so so we became a reseller for software and hardware vendors, we buy product.

 

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Pete DiLaura: We married the products, together we buy a piece of software, we buy a piece of hardware we marry them together, and then we sell it as a system.

 

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Pete DiLaura: that's what we were all about in the beginning today, things have multiplied and changed and we've grown and the market, no longer demands at the market now demands instant online.

 

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Pete DiLaura: SAS models so so now it's software as a service, so you download the software from the cloud you use it for a month or two or a year or 10 and.

 

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Pete DiLaura: You pay as you use, so our systems have all changed and 3D printing came about partially because of that change because people wanted things quicker and faster, so we picked up a.

 

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Pete DiLaura: 3D printing vendor back in 2003 I think it was or 2004 and we've been working with that vendor for the past several years and their products have developed to the point now where 3D printing is affordable it's easy.

 

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Pete DiLaura: And we've got multiple multiple customers that are now using it in multiple applications it's gone from just prototypes to printed parts.

 

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Pete DiLaura: In multiple.

 

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Pete DiLaura: The number of different plastics metals what whatever you need okay.

 

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Michael Palumbos: So Andy and Tom you you've been working with your dad now for how many years.

 

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Andy DiLaura: 15 years for me.

 

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Andy DiLaura: Just under 10 for Tom.

 

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yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos: So I have to believe that since the day your father started the business, not everything was always you know roses and rainbows right yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos: So what are this you know what are the stories what are some of the things that you've heard, and you know that your dad's proud of that he's overcome through you know the years of running CAD dimensions.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah you just repeat, and you can chime in at any time as well, but one of the you know, one of the things i've got to believe is you've been running this long enough that the word pivot.

 

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Michael Palumbos: is just part of your vocabulary, well before you know well before coven happened where everybody else had to you know understand that word.

 

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Michael Palumbos: But.

 

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Pete DiLaura: I will just preface them by saying I absolutely familiar with the word pivot we've.

 

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Pete DiLaura: done it.

 

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Pete DiLaura: forever and we've made changes Michael throughout our years and change can be for the good.

 

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Pete DiLaura: But what the boys have showed me is the pivot now can be 360 I should say 358 degrees so show the pivot has gotten bigger and the change has gotten bigger and more of it and I don't think that's a bad thing.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah Tom or any of you either one you want to throw some examples of some of the things that have happened through the years.

 

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Tom Dilaura: i'll just say that I think growing up.

 

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Tom Dilaura: As part of what our dad did was was a mystery to us, so we new new new new entity came into the office that we knew we worked really hard.

 

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Tom Dilaura: On and, as I grew up and would be around the office I would jump on a computer and learn what the software was and be able to build a block and be able to build some some parts and say Oh, this is cool.

 

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Tom Dilaura: Not until I did I joined the business that I know how much effort goes into to running an organization and being able to manage the HR side and the and the hiring and the finances of it all um, so I think as.

 

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Tom Dilaura: In my head my dad was a was a salesperson when I realized what what it truly meant to be an entrepreneur, it is such a heck of a lot more than what it is on a on a day to day that that everything is a change from from your day to day basis.

 

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Andy DiLaura: Like.

 

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Andy DiLaura: I would add to that right, you had asked what what we think he's proud of and I don't want to put words in his mouth, but I can assume that.

 

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Andy DiLaura: he's very proud of the influence he's had within not only just our lives, but the lives of our employees.

 

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Andy DiLaura: So I think, looking back in the the late 80s early 90s, when he was starting this and dad you can correct me if i'm wrong, but I don't know if if your vision went as far as we've gotten today today.

 

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Andy DiLaura: To say that we are going to be a 50 person employee that that you know spanned across the entire east coast, at this point.

 

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Andy DiLaura: In to have people retire from CAD dimensions and to have friends and family be part of the cat dimension story and to have employees that have been with us for 30 years, so I think all of that is.

 

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Andy DiLaura: is something that that I know i'm proud of it i'm sure that you are, as well as far as what you've been able to build.

 

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Andy DiLaura: When it comes to the culture of cat dimensions and I think that's probably the one thing that.

 

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Andy DiLaura: That we collectively are extremely proud of is the culture that we've we've continued to to build because of the example that he said, and because of the Foundation that he's he's provided us.

 

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Pete DiLaura: That you're you're you're spot on and I couldn't have said it better.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Years ago, when when I started cat dimensions, I had the vision of being an entrepreneur of starting my own business.

 

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Pete DiLaura: And it just happened to be in this realm only because I was familiar with it and I understood it, and, at the time, there was a need for it.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Looking ahead, or looking back I you know what if it was let's just do it and see how far we can go and let's keep it going and in 2000 in three I.

 

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Pete DiLaura: actually brought my college roommate into the business, and I said here's my dilemma, and his wife, had already been working for me as my bookkeeper.

 

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Pete DiLaura: So I said here's the dilemma I can't do everything and I had to fess up to it to say I can't find more vendors and still call on customers and.

 

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Pete DiLaura: So I brought him in I said, your job is to go find more vendors not business but vendors, that we can sell their products, I went and hired more sales people and we went from I think we doubled doubled the business in three years and then doubled it again.

 

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Pete DiLaura: So, so it was it was a great move and again from that time forward that was when we started to form the family business when Andy came in.

 

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Pete DiLaura: It just made my life so much easier because he thought, like me, and he saw things the way I did, and he was able to build up our Rochester market.

 

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Pete DiLaura: tremendously and from there, we were able to expand down into Pennsylvania and anyways it just worked out so good in when Tom came in.

 

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Pete DiLaura: It was just Okay, now we have a technical mind behind us, so it was just an absolute match, I mean it just worked so well.

 

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Pete DiLaura: So we were able to cover all the bases and then I went off and started doing more, the administrative stuff so it was absolutely a huge factor having the boys in the business It makes you so proud I can't wait to get to work every day.

 

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Michael Palumbos: It is it is fun and you know it's I loved you know, so you know my father was.

 

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Michael Palumbos: first generation before me started, you know what what we do.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And for us, though it's like we had tons of mutual respect, but we did not always do well, working together.

 

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Michael Palumbos: So we were you know, two offices apart and we had separate books of businesses, but we all we would collaborate, but never really worked together, and you know, so it was when he sold his business I bought the family owned businesses from him in 2018.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And it was just an interesting dynamic, so I think it's.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know I think it's great when you're sitting there saying I have my boys, you know with me doing this stuff and you collaborate really well work really well it's also Okay, you know there's some failing businesses did it doesn't work that way.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And sure it's yeah no I.

 

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Michael Palumbos: love the fact that you do.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Right, can I can absolutely understand that, but, but the other thing Michael and you can't disguise it it's a family business living together working together.

 

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Pete DiLaura: there's going to be some tension and I think one of the things that we've done extremely well, and I would it's one of my highlights is we do listen to each other.

 

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Pete DiLaura: And we do hear what we're saying so we can have a debate, we can get down and dirty and get angry at each other and get really frustrated, but at the end of the day, we're still family, so we leave together.

 

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Pete DiLaura: So I think that has been a plus and i've had plenty of nights where I go home talking to myself wondering okay.

 

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Pete DiLaura: But it's it's always for the right reasons and and we're not afraid to you know.

 

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Pete DiLaura: be open with each other good.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah and that's.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I mean so where did that come from that that ability for you to say was that just a natural thing or did you know.

 

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Pete DiLaura: You know i'll go back and i'll extend it to the family business being literally a part of your family and how you were brought up and how you see your company being ran.

 

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Pete DiLaura: In is indeed alluded to, before we we take personal pride and all of our people all of our employees.

 

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Pete DiLaura: We want this to be a great place in a good environment and i'll say it goes right back to how I grew up my parents taught me and what the values that they instilled in me.

 

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Pete DiLaura: And again it's just another generation, we keep we keep increasing it we keep pushing it forward, and I am so thrilled and proud of.

 

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Pete DiLaura: My sons and my daughter, who have the same values that were instilled in me we instilled in our children and it's carried forward in the boys running the company now have the same family value that I have for our employees, so it goes a long way.

 

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Andy DiLaura: So so Mike I I can add to that that as well little bit, because I think, for me it was more of a learned process right in learning through observation and I will say my dad is one of the most patient.

 

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Andy DiLaura: Man people i've ever met, and I think that that has helped our relationship, because, especially early on, is he had mentioned that him and I are very similar minded.

 

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Andy DiLaura: In when when you get to people that think the same there's typically conflict right and there's some some collision that takes place and we have plenty of that.

 

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Andy DiLaura: And I think what I i've learned over over the past, you know decade plus was really to how to follow his lead in and try to instill that patient and try to understand the root cause of what the that battle is.

 

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Andy DiLaura: In realize what the what we're trying to get is the same thing we're trying to reach the same end goal we just have different ways of doing that.

 

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Andy DiLaura: So I, I would say, as I mentioned it his patients, a lot of bosses i'll say probably would have fired me a long time ago for the comments that i've made in the arguments that i've.

 

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Andy DiLaura: I started with him, but in a lot of what we've we've talked about, and what we've worked through over the years.

 

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Andy DiLaura: It really kind of setting the guideline or setting the roadmap for for how to treat other people, and I think that goes back to the family values that he's he's instilled in US it just took me a little bit longer than most do was to mature and realize what that what that meant.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah I can I can share that with you Andy if I think that I might have been a little quick on the trigger a few a few times.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Too many, and it is and it's and it is something learned and you know pete I know this about you guys, you know, one of the things that you have done is you join the New York family business Center.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Yes, hey like like how many years ago, did you become involved with that.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Oh, my gosh it's got to be well probably 1210 or 12.

 

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Andy DiLaura: I think we're yeah maybe 12 or 13 I think.

 

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Pete DiLaura: 12 or 13 so in it, you bring that up to Michael because there's been so much that we've been able to learn into us through the family business Center.

 

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Pete DiLaura: and being able to share what we go through with other businesses not related at all, but outside of the fact their family businesses.

 

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Pete DiLaura: And to get that sense of comfort to get that sense of feeling that okay it's not just me i'm not going crazy, you know these are things that happen and here's ways that we can work with it and.

 

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Pete DiLaura: With Tom and Andy when we go to these meetings and it's a joint meeting where you know the peer groups will separate or do do their own conversations and then you come together it's It really is encouraging.

 

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Pete DiLaura: and helpful to understand that these are some of the aspects of a family business, these are some of the things that you have to understand and how you can go about working within the family to solve them yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And they you know, bring in speakers from the outside world and consultants, that you would never have been exposed to.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And you know, so I took all of our family businesses, you know don't you're not on an island, you do not have to reinvent the wheel all the time and.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know whether it's you know in New York we're blessed buffalo has a Center Rochester has a Center you've got Syracuse and cornell you know we've got lots of different family business centers to take advantage of.

 

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Pete DiLaura: factor.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Absolutely, a huge factor in being a little moines alum and having the family business Center located at one point we kind of push the envelope a little bit and we asked them.

 

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Pete DiLaura: We, the Group, the family businesses that were in our group we're having a little bit of an issue we wanted to educate middle management.

 

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Pete DiLaura: With a certain way with it with a.

 

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Pete DiLaura: With a specific curriculum and we went to the morning and the family business Center put the course together, it was a six week course we took all all those who potentially.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Had the ability to become middle managers, whether they were in sales or support or service it didn't matter but anyways we taught them the soft skills we taught them.

 

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Pete DiLaura: The accounting practices that need to be we we we went through and literally laid out this course over six sessions and we put them through it and if we ran it I believe guys for two sessions right yeah.

 

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Pete DiLaura: two courses, so a total of 12 weeks and boy was that was it huge in again, I think we put eight people through it six or eight people.

 

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Pete DiLaura: and brought them in from Rochester wherever wherever they were located and it was a one day you go up to Illinois and I think it was about a 44 hour time frame.

 

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Pete DiLaura: And we did it once a month for Sarah twice a month for three months, and then we did it again So yes, having that family business Center is a big factor and again putting everybody in the same room is so helpful in and.

 

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Pete DiLaura: we've gone down to the cornell group a couple times.

 

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Pete DiLaura: When when they've had guest speakers in fact we had our picture taken with.

 

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Pete DiLaura: With name escapes me now.

 

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Andy DiLaura: Ken Ken blanchard.

 

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Pete DiLaura: yeah.

 

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Andy DiLaura: How can I get.

 

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Andy DiLaura: Your management yeah.

 

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Pete DiLaura: yep yeah so So yes, I would totally suggest to the group listening if they have access to a family business business Center you definitely want to exploit that yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And, in the absence of the family business owner just make sure you go through every episode of the family, Michelle.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Yes, there you go.

 

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Pete DiLaura: I have, I try to.

 

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Michael Palumbos: i'm Tom I wanted you know we know your brother and father mentioned, you know, there are a lot of like and you're wired differently How does that work from your.

 

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Tom Dilaura: perspective Oh, I am so so sometimes I play the referee sometimes i'm like deciding vote, so I like to approach a question or approach, an issue kind of more our what is our next steps are and being a little more prep pragmatic about that approach.

 

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Tom Dilaura: So a lot of the times, it does become alright, if I feel this is a good idea and it's aligned with with Andrew.

 

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Tom Dilaura: Then all right, how do we, how do we package this in a way for for dead to understand and to buy into it um what's also nice about the family members, if I can see.

 

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Tom Dilaura: Andrew pushing a little too hard for for what he thinks is the correct answer you can call that out with without real real repercussions stupid because at the end of the day, as my dad said we're still going to leave your family, so I think you do get to.

 

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Tom Dilaura: You get to use your voice a little bit differently when when you're talking to your brother and your dad.

 

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Tom Dilaura: versus talking to a to a manager to an employee, where you can call that out and say hey what, what are we trying to solve or can we take a step back and let's just pause and figure out what we're trying to solve.

 

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Tom Dilaura: And ultimately any any conflict that we have the end result is how are we making cat dimensions better for for our customers and for our employees and kind of framing it back in that light that the understand what are we trying to solve here.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah so here's a question Tom and anybody can chime in as you're going through that and you guys ever read the book five dysfunctions of a team.

 

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Pete DiLaura: yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos: We got multiple copies you just I mean Tommy, I just wanted to point out, because I talked about that book on a regular basis.

 

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Michael Palumbos: What what happens between the Dolores that are you know the three of you is you have trust already.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know that you know that you can say things and then you're going to be okay, and so I go back you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Constantly you talk about that that next layer that are non family members that are part of the management team it's.

 

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Michael Palumbos: How do we instill that level of trust in them that they know they get to say whatever they want, as long as it's respectful and meaning, you know and part of a.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Constructive conversation, so that you can have that conflict without the trust you can't have the conflict and it's within that conflict that the best things happen.

 

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Pete DiLaura: It couldn't have said it better, it is it so so one of the things that when we talk about trust and we talk about change and and.

 

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Pete DiLaura: One of the things that the boys have done for the company and I said for me in the company, but.

 

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Pete DiLaura: They brought a different attention span they brought a different way of looking at the business.

 

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Pete DiLaura: For years in the beginning, as we hired people you know I just told them what their job was and how that was very technical and and.

 

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Pete DiLaura: You know, again being not realizing in the beginning, we were a family business and then, as we realized my attitude changed a little bit because it's no longer just about the company it's about the employee.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Andy was working probably I don't know, maybe three years or four years and we had we had gone to a vendor meeting, and it was about culture.

 

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Pete DiLaura: And I say, well, we don't have that problem everybody knows our culture and he looked at me and he said that.

 

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Pete DiLaura: He goes you've been in business, for I don't know at the time 1012 years is you've been in business for so long, he goes you've hired so many people.

 

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Pete DiLaura: You know your culture, I don't think they know your culture, and it was so true, and from that point, I give him all the credit, we started CAD life.

 

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Pete DiLaura: And CAD life is an acronym that stands when you go through you know it's it's customer it's it's attitude its dedication it's loyalty its integrity.

 

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Pete DiLaura: it's family and it's employee and it just because it spells that way that it works out so well.

 

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Pete DiLaura: But but Michael they brought that to the table, and I think that is what the next generation I my boys, I will say it till till i'm gone they're way smarter than I was they have a much broader scope than I did I was always focused on earning a living and and being able to grow, the company.

 

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Pete DiLaura: They look at things a little bit differently, so I think part of the family business allows us to have those changes in when we bring somebody in we hire.

 

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Pete DiLaura: People based on our CAD life culture, so that they learn right away, how to follow it in what it means, so we will do things for the Community, we will do, and in fact right now arise is is one of our.

 

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Pete DiLaura: charity events that we work with the group down there to build toys for for the handicapped kids I mean it's just absolutely incredible and again they set that up Nice.

 

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Michael Palumbos: love it love it and so few people capture the fact that those you know those soft things you know it's touchy feely stuff and you know is you know a lot of times it's like ah, we don't want to get into that, but it means.

 

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Michael Palumbos: everything and it helps it helps you to make decisions like you said on hiring probably also helps you to make decisions on D hiring I like to.

 

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Pete DiLaura: yeah right sometimes right D hiring sure.

 

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Michael Palumbos: sure when they're not a culture fit it's that it's that stone in the shoe if that pebble that's in there and it's like oh it's just causing this you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: issue and it shouldn't so for you for doing that I love I love it cab life, and you know it's Nice and easy to remember, I may not be able to get the what all.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Things are.

 

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Michael Palumbos: But.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know it's, but you can teach that and I bet you, you know, like.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I know this about whole foods whole foods, has a great reputation for creating a culture and and sharing that culture, with all the employees and i've never tested this but there's a whole foods coming into Rochester for the first time.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And I was told and i'm going to test this that you could go up to just about anybody at the store that works, then say what are the company's core values sure.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And they can give them to you well you know you have CAD life guess what they may it may take them a second to go through those things, but you know they don't get what the you know the can dimensions core values are good for you that's great.

 

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Tom Dilaura: With our culture, though it's we have a lot of competition that.

 

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Tom Dilaura: sells the same products that are overlapping the same territory about, so I think the more weekend.

 

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Tom Dilaura: can promote that culture and and promote it externally, so now our customers know what what our cab cab life values mean and how it's going to impact them and.

 

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Tom Dilaura: The fact that will go the extra mile for them and that's part of our values, I think that really is a differentiator when when we're looking at other.

 

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Tom Dilaura: competitors that again can sell the same software, at the same price same printer at the same price, what are we doing differently, and I really think that's where our culture can come into play right.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah 1,000% and in your writing to mention that it's on both sides, internally and externally culture means something.

 

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Michael Palumbos: um what I wanted pete you talked about 10 years ago you started thinking about this transition and starting to you know, to set these pieces up.

 

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Michael Palumbos: One what gave you the foresight to start that 10 years ago because that's pretty much unheard of in every business.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know it's I always tell people you know you the moment you start a business, you should be thinking about how am I getting out of this.

 

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Michael Palumbos: someday because, otherwise, you know you, you are the business where did that come from and then what would you say were some of the milestones along the you know the last 10 years of putting that together to get to the point you're in today.

 

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So.

 

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Pete DiLaura: I will go back to the family business and we had a speaker come in to the to our group.

 

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Pete DiLaura: One of the actually the morning professors and head started talking about who's got a succession plan and that's what the conversation was all about the succession plan.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Had side of it never really gave much thought to it and that's where the 10 years ago came from, he said, you know what successfully.

 

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Pete DiLaura: If you're going to write a succession plan, you should look 10 years out so at the time I was.

 

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Pete DiLaura: In my early 50s I was like okay i'll get around to it eventually but it kept thinking about it, I picked up a couple books in in regards to succession plan Ken blanchard had talked about succession planning so.

 

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Pete DiLaura: I was, like all right when in both boys were in the company, but but by then and I was, like all right when do I want to stop at what point Would I be willing to hand it over.

 

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Pete DiLaura: And there was some acquisition going on in our industry right and it was a matter of right DSL do keep it going and I had talked to the boys, I said, this is a great business, we should really look to keep it going okay so.

 

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Pete DiLaura: I went out and did a outline of my succession plan, and so, for the first year I kind of put the outline together the second year I made put a little bit more notes in it, but again, it wasn't.

 

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Pete DiLaura: It wasn't as much as a documentation, it was more like a living document I kept adding to it and changing it, but it was about year six or year for I should say six years prior.

 

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Pete DiLaura: That I actually went to the attorneys and said okay here's what I want to do here's what i'm thinking.

 

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Pete DiLaura: And it involved my two key employees who happened to be married there they were again my college roommate and his wife and Linda actually worked for me longer than Gary did but.

 

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Pete DiLaura: In any event, it involve them in involved the boys it involved, how we were going to look at you know the stock in the company what was going to be there, taken they had to get into it with some skin in the game right they had to understand what was on the table so.

 

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Pete DiLaura: We worked everything out, we made some tweaks here and there, but again, it was longevity and how to keep it successful.

 

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Pete DiLaura: So now we're in year 10 this is your 10 right, so I am retiring.

 

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Pete DiLaura: As I say, but it's a hard thing to do, it's I still come into the Office about every day.

 

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Pete DiLaura: And still at eight o'clock but i'm hoping, as the weather starts to get better than might be a little bit more golf in the afternoon.

 

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Pete DiLaura: But at this point in time i'm more working on the business, then in the business so trying to take care of you know, with Kobe we had seven offices and with coven.

 

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Pete DiLaura: We went 100% remote yeah so now we're back to about probably around 85% remote, but we no longer need the remote offices, because again.

 

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Pete DiLaura: The change allowed us to the succession allowed us to move quicker into online training quicker into you know software distribution without physically being there.

 

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Pete DiLaura: So, with all that the plan has come into place the boys absolutely have more responsibility and he is now the President of the company and Tom is now an executive Vice President and the plan moves forward right so now it's up to them to pick it up in right there succession plan.

 

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Right.

 

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Andy DiLaura: So Mike I can add to that a little bit as well, and I think that for the.

 

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Andy DiLaura: first few years of that succession plan it lived predominantly in your head right, it was ideas, it was thought.

 

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Andy DiLaura: Of stuff that that you were internalizing I think the last half of that succession plan is really when we started to to put everything out on the table and have very open conversations about it, that really we started to see that progress see.

 

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Andy DiLaura: Great was that snowball effect of of progress going forward.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah well I think that's that's pretty normal.

 

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Michael Palumbos: But you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: What I would say, p to your credit is that you were thinking about it 10 years ago, even if it was living in your head, because so many times we're so busy like you said you're working on the business today.

 

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Michael Palumbos: we're so busy working in the business and and just moving that we're not taking the time to look at the what ifs and you know that SWOT analysis, you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Because that would have been a weakness, if you didn't have that succession plan built inside of there Tom did you want to say add to that as well.

 

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Tom Dilaura: yeah I think that the Andy spring what's that snowball starts you start realizing all right, if I have to document.

 

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Tom Dilaura: What i'm doing on a day to day week to week month to month basis if it's an overwhelming document or overwhelming concept, the sake of all right, how is how is he going to get this all out of his head and into into Andrew Am I.

 

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Tom Dilaura: So I think that it really does take 10 years that one formula is what that transition is going to look like.

 

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Tom Dilaura: And majority of that time is is the documentation and and the opportunities to train us that that we can understand what what is what is he doing behind the door that we can do that going forward and being able to take that off his plate to to allow for retirement.

 

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Tom Dilaura: I think is a.

 

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Tom Dilaura: is a big big opportunity to find when when can you teach what you're doing or somebody else can do it.

 

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Pete DiLaura: A big part of that plan, though, to Michael was creating the buy sell agreement.

 

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Pete DiLaura: And there was a lot in our buy sell agreement and and to the point where it broke down again some of the stock.

 

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Pete DiLaura: chairs and that type of thing, but also the tasks that the boys had to do, and then we would get together on a.

 

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Pete DiLaura: try to get together on a regular basis and go over those reviews and even still you know it's it's hard because.

 

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Pete DiLaura: you're you're so close and so involved in everything together when you sit down and review each other and say okay here's what you got to be done it's tough to do.

 

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Pete DiLaura: So we've gotten in Indian time been way more diligent than I was in regards to holding holding our feet, to the fire to make sure we did that, and I think that has helped tremendously.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Well, I think that's a great point pete is that when we're talking about succession planning we're talking about buy sell agreements and all of those does you know business continuity.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Planning when you're talking about that there's two pieces to it there's the people side and the technical side.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And so I always you know when i'm working with a family of me it's like think about the people first what's going on who's where wouldn't you know what are the things that they have to learn.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And then, when I you know when I had this vision of what it should look like and I understand who the players are and how i'm going to affect all of these different lives and.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know pete you know to your credit it wasn't just family, it was key employees that were a part of your thinking not always the case for a lot of family businesses, so you know another Hats off, in my opinion.

 

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Michael Palumbos: But then it would then the technical piece, and you know, based on what you said you know, there was a lot of moving pieces to the technical side of things in you know the Attorney that helps you to draft those pieces had to be pretty.

 

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Michael Palumbos: expertise in that arena to be able to get that idea out because not every attorney in Syracuse New York or Rochester buffalo could do what was in your document.

 

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Pete DiLaura: I would absolutely agree it probably took us close to nine months, maybe even a year to really write that document to where to where we wanted it.

 

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Pete DiLaura: They so so you're absolutely right, it takes time to do these things you can't just sit down and.

 

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Pete DiLaura: A couple hours or a couple weeks it really takes time to do it and you go back and forth and it's not just me right, I would I would get it, I would review it with with my team.

 

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Pete DiLaura: And and tell them what was trying to it wasn't as a secret and then, once I had something, then we we got deeper into it with the boys as well, so but yeah I told them for years i'm writing the by the by selling like we don't see this document i'm like.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Well it's it's coming it's coming.

 

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Tom Dilaura: we're always convinced this 10 year plan was rolling from the.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I said the same thing about my father totally.

 

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Pete DiLaura: It really is a challenge right, especially when you've worked in the company, for you know 30 years 3032 years 33 years I think we're in now, but when you've been in it so long and to sit and look forward to say Okay, what does it look like without me.

 

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Pete DiLaura: it's tough.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah no I totally understand and my father just i'll share this with you, was 17 when he decided it was time for him to call it quits and he knew that he needed to take it all the way up to the nth degree until he was ready to walk away.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Because if he if he even dabbled he would be doing it 60 hours a week, you know and that's just the way that he were you know which.

 

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Michael Palumbos: One fair and that's what worked for him yeah.

 

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Pete DiLaura: yeah and everybody's different right so, so there is no right or wrong way with this it's the way you, you need it to be.

 

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Pete DiLaura: it's up to you to.

 

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Michael Palumbos: communicate it.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And that, I think, as you open up the conversation to say here's what i'm thinking and feeling and here's what's important to me.

 

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Michael Palumbos: How do we get there and keep my ego and there's nothing that i'm not talking ego from a bed perspective i'm just talking about, we all have ego and we need to protect.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Our ego So how do I protect my ego and what I need him and potentially my financial you know life and.

 

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Michael Palumbos: All of those things versus How do we make sure that you're you know ego is taking care of it again and not using ego in a bad way I think it's a it's healthy to talk about the fact that we all come from things we have an ego we do things differently, and we need to protect everybody's.

 

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Tom Dilaura: And I think, maybe, maybe not ego but vision in that sense, so so getting to understand what is that vision, what is our vision, how do those.

 

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Tom Dilaura: Very often, and how do we continue this going.

 

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Tom Dilaura: yeah really how.

 

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Tom Dilaura: How his legacy is going to continue on and get dimensions is is that we are, we are operating his vision on a day to day.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah and nailing down those objectives that that each person has that's great um I want to dive into something either in your time you have a sister any other siblings.

 

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Andy DiLaura: How many though just a sister.

 

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Michael Palumbos: In the.

 

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Michael Palumbos: In the business at all.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I didn't even.

 

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Andy DiLaura: i'll say indirectly so she's a she's an attorney so we use her firm for a lot of our our internal stuff but she's a family law attorney.

 

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Andy DiLaura: So we we don't have direct a direct interaction or direct relation to the business but we utilize her we found stuff ideas are bounce ideas off her all the time.

 

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Andy DiLaura: So i'd say she's an integral part.

 

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Andy DiLaura: Of the company, but not necessarily a official member of the company.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah it's you know, being part of the family business is not for every family member and that's perfectly okay.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And realizing that somebody outside of the business has some talents that you don't have this nice to be able to say hey Let me run this pasture good for you for doing that yes.

 

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Tom Dilaura: I can, I can say, and indirectly or directly, I sent her over like our statement of work from the services side that says hey there's this covers legally and it has nothing to do with family law, but making sure that the word in there are correct and protect CAD dimensions.

 

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Tom Dilaura: I have.

 

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Tom Dilaura: she's still an asset in that sense.

 

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Andy DiLaura: I think the other thing she does really well is that she brings that non business perspective to our family discussions.

 

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Andy DiLaura: So when we're talking about there's the succession of the business but there's also the succession of our our parents as well in in in kind of the planning that goes into that.

 

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Andy DiLaura: So I think she she's able we're Tom and I are so focused on the business aspect she's able to bring perspective that we don't have, which is is a huge benefit that's.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Wonderful now I appreciate that i'm speaking of your sister in your you know the family is a broader do we do you guys have a favorite family, the Laura family tradition.

 

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Andy DiLaura: You know what.

 

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Andy DiLaura: it's funny Mike I think when when you work together when you live within a few miles of each other when you spend as much time together, as we do it's hard to separate what's a tradition and what's your day to day life.

 

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Andy DiLaura: So I think we have a lot of traditions, I just don't know if we consider them traditions.

 

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Michael Palumbos: There you go no that's totally fair, I asked that question, sometimes you get some you know very, very answers, and so I just always like to throw it out there, we.

 

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Andy DiLaura: do try to play in a there's a father son golf tournament that we.

 

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Andy DiLaura: play in every year and it's actually growing right where my son now comes along.

 

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Andy DiLaura: Thompson is hopefully going to come along for the ride in that.

 

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Andy DiLaura: as well, so I think that was something that we look forward to every year.

 

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Michael Palumbos: love it as you're looking at where you're sitting right now, and I know you know this coven thing has changed everything, and so the world is different, today, but if you're looking at your business.

 

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Michael Palumbos: What would you say, are you know, two or three of the top pain points obstacles frustrations, whether they be family or non family or just business, what are the things that you guys are.

 

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Michael Palumbos: kind of in front of you right now and I asked this question because you know what i've been finding is that.

 

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Michael Palumbos: We don't live in a bubble like we talked about the New York family business Center so i'm just curious what what are you looking at what are the obstacles that you're you know working around right now.

 

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Andy DiLaura: Sure, I can jump in, and it was kind of mentioned before, but there's been a lot of consolidation within our within our channel right within our industry.

 

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Andy DiLaura: there's a lot of private equity money going in going into it and you're seeing a lot of your former family business or former smaller companies merging with bigger companies.

 

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Andy DiLaura: So in with that right to poses a challenge for us because we don't have the financial resources that that some of these bigger conglomerates might have.

 

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Andy DiLaura: So one of the things that we're actively trying to do is as Tom mentioned is really differentiate ourselves from those.

 

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Andy DiLaura: by the services and, more importantly, by the experiences that we provide our customers so really putting a heavy focus on that in in trying to.

 

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Andy DiLaura: help our customers understand that the experience they get from CAD dimensions is not the same as what they would get from from other players in this space and really focusing on that.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You just answered, part two of the question so it's one is what's the obstacle and the other one is how are you combating it, so I just want to make sure everybody caught that.

 

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Michael Palumbos: The obstacle is this consolidation in the you know and going up against the big guys and the way that can dimensions is you know, overcoming that are combat and that is through the values and.

 

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Michael Palumbos: CAD life and making sure that people understand that they're not just a number, and that you know each each individual whether it's an employee or a customer you're bringing something to the table differently on a pretty regular basis and.

 

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Andy DiLaura: The experience of working with CAD dimensions is different than.

 

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Andy DiLaura: What you would get from from other players out there.

 

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Tom Dilaura: I think part of that experiences is we're willing to say yes, more often than know.

 

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Tom Dilaura: So I think if if a customer is going to pitch an idea and says hey here's what i'm thinking is this even possible and they've.

 

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Tom Dilaura: read them several times they said we've done the three other places they've all said no here's what I want to do.

 

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Tom Dilaura: we're going to look at that and really evaluate and say yeah I think we can do this and will call upon our customers will call another family businesses that help us get that job done.

 

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Tom Dilaura: So we can deliver something to the customer, that there is that they they are hoping for, or maybe not always the biggest pain job, but something that they're they're gonna find value in in CAD dimensions that that we can deliver.

 

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Andy DiLaura: yeah I think it's fair to say we're motivated by the experience, more so than the margins are the Prophet.

 

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Michael Palumbos: there's a book out there and there's a podcast that I did with joey Coleman you might want to grab that joey Coleman did a whole thing on never lose a customer again.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And it's all about creating that experience and making sure that you've mapped out what that client journey customer journey looks like so I got some great things out of that and sounds like you're already down that path, but you might get one or two things from it.

 

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Pete DiLaura: And I think one of the things that we've learned to do fairly well within coven and again it was the quick reaction of how we broke up the sales team and the technical team, and what we thought we needed to do.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Was building that relationship and keeping the relationship without a physical presence so we've all gone to zoom as we're on now we've you know it's a wonderful tool, it has helped us tremendously.

 

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Pete DiLaura: But, yet you still have to be able to maintain that that relationship with the customer, and I think as.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Time in India pointed out it's part of cat life it's part of you know we'll look at every project, and you know if you're gonna if it.

 

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Pete DiLaura: will tell you up front, it might be a hard time, but we think we can get it done, are you willing to go, and I think that dedication has proven extremely positive for us.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Great.

 

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Michael Palumbos: What are some of the goals of the company today if you're looking out, you know 10 years from now, so you're pete you looked at 10 years out 10 years ago.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Andy what is.

 

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Michael Palumbos: What is your 10 year plan.

 

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Tom Dilaura: I I honestly can't speak to a 10 year so so what we've what we've been doing is is taken a three year strategic look at the business.

 

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Tom Dilaura: And, knowing that it's it could change into something that we can't foresee, but we feel like what three years we can we can truly make an impact on how we're doing business.

 

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Tom Dilaura: So it started in 2018 We took our first three year strategic themes and we focused on on four aspects of the business that we can change.

 

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Tom Dilaura: And what we just started as our next three year plan or we're taking a focus on on again for aspects of the business.

 

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Tom Dilaura: That we say this is something that we know we have to grow, we have to get better at and we're putting employees in charge of the steam teams.

 

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Tom Dilaura: That says all right, how are you going to help us grow and services, how are you going to help us grow in in service bureau printing.

 

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Tom Dilaura: And really tackling that and giving a realistic timeline of three years that says, this is not a small project, this is not going to have a simple answer, but really fake and plan to say how are we going to grow this 50% 100% into its own sustainable business unit, are some of those.

 

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Tom Dilaura: We call them be hags those big hairy audacious goals that are going to allow us to succeed in three years, and at that three year mark we get to say.

 

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Tom Dilaura: Yes, we succeeded, no, we got close, but then we're taking a look at those next three years that says all right here's where a business change and here's where we have to evaluate.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Perfect I wanna I want to throw up a challenge out to the Dolores family real quick if that's all right.

 

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Michael Palumbos: cherries see what you can and i'm going to share why it's important that that be had see if you can't take that out 10 years.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And so here's what i'm going to share what happened, for me, because I, I was a one year, at a time planning person for many, many years before I started getting into business coaching and understanding it and my fruit might be hag was 10 years out.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Three years ago, you know and so we're looking at that 10 year and that's getting really close, for me, and this is why I share this it was getting really close to my potential retirement timeframe.

 

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Michael Palumbos: So all of my goal setting was muddled and mucked up with that that timeframe and where it was aligned, so my team, and I said how do we, you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: They notice something was like foot on the brake foot on the gas, but i'm you know it was going back and forth with what was happening so we reset the be had 20 years old.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And what that did for us is all of a sudden now, because then the next from 20 is the three year, and so we use it like a telescope to say if this is what we see 1020 years out this is our North star, this is the Jim Collins be ag right.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And what can, what do we have to do over the next three years to really make a difference and and change that 20 year be hag changed everything for me now granted, you know, will we hit that in 20 years I have no idea.

 

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Michael Palumbos: But that North star allows us to telescope back so when we're creating priorities for the three year the one year and the quarterly priorities, it makes those much more realistic and the three year we call it the three headed to three year highly achievable goal.

 

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Michael Palumbos: So it just that there's my challenge for the two of you to sit down and have a session and maybe even bring in your management team.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And and and separately, and this is my challenge to separately write down with the bee hag and think.

 

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Michael Palumbos: 20 years you guys are young enough it's putting out 20 years, and if you can do that, I think you'll find some really cool stuff, and the reason why I say break down individually as each person write it down and then you share them that way you don't get end up with group think.

 

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Michael Palumbos: That should be separate out the management team and get everybody to and now you're going to be open to some ideas that you know you might not have thought about and pete you should be part of that too to you might even challenge the voice to say.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Sure sure.

 

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Pete DiLaura: I like the three hag.

 

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Andy DiLaura: So.

 

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Andy DiLaura: i'm like you I love the challenge right I think that's something we can we can definitely take on.

 

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Andy DiLaura: I do think one of the things that is somewhat unique to us is that if in i'll go back to when my dad started the company if he put a 10 year goal out there.

 

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Andy DiLaura: The the main our main product right, the main thing that we sell didn't exist at the time he started the company so in the technology space.

 

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Andy DiLaura: it's hard to know what that next product or that next service is going to be because it's it hasn't been developed yet so trying to to keep in front of that is something that we've been we've been always trying to do.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Fair and so i'll throw in, and this is.

 

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Michael Palumbos: i'm getting i'm giving you a little bit I hope there's hope you don't mind but it's.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Definitely our core purpose we've with the core values and the be had together create something different core purpose never changes.

 

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Michael Palumbos: So my company's core purpose is to inspire change.

 

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Michael Palumbos: It has nothing to do with any of the technologies or the things that we do it's all about why do we live, why do we, why are we out there, so that even though.

 

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Michael Palumbos: The world may change and how we deliver services and do those things were always about inspiring change, so our 20 year be hag and i'll share it is our 20 year be had is to be this.

 

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Michael Palumbos: One of the most recognized.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Come on, now I gotta pull it out oh man I just did that thing to myself, one of the one of the most recognized i'm creative family outsourced family office you know.

 

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Pete DiLaura: mm hmm sure.

 

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Michael Palumbos: players for the family owned business marketplace innovative That was the word it wasn't created one of the most innovative and so you know when we added.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Business coaching you're not going to find you yeah I think it's going to be few and far between that you'll find.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Somebody that says hey you know we manage your investments will do the state and the tax planning and help you, with your business succession plan, but we're also, by the way, we're going to coach you on how to grow your business.

 

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Michael Palumbos: 10 X over the next 10 years matter of fact, we don't want you to take money out of the business, we want you to reinvest it because you'll make more money than you can you know, in your business, we believe more people cannot you know do that.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Sure, then you're going to make in the stock market and where most financial advisors wealth managers are like how do I get that money out of there, so we can manage it.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And just a little different twist and being innovative, I have no idea whether what that market will look like or anything like that.

 

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Michael Palumbos: So you can put that out there, you know, maybe it's not about a number or anything like that I don't know when happy to chat with you, if you want to have a session sometime i'll have i'm happy to put it, to put it to work with.

 

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Michael Palumbos: That you have three year goals, though, and in that you're thinking about those things that I appreciate that.

 

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Michael Palumbos: would tell us we were 1127 tell me about the your management team, what is the structure look like how many you know that it's the two of you, the three of you non family members family members, what does it look like and how do you guys make decisions.

 

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Andy DiLaura: Yes, so we've got between the three of us, we also have three other executives or Vice Presidents that make up our executive team.

 

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Andy DiLaura: majority of which are longtime employees have been with us for 10 plus years and in.

 

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Andy DiLaura: You had mentioned five dysfunctions a little earlier but about three years ago we went through a comprehensive five dysfunctions training.

 

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Andy DiLaura: In in really put the team through the ringer within ourselves included right, so I think it was hard for all of us.

 

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Andy DiLaura: But I think what what we really learned in going through that was how to function together as a truly effective team.

 

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Andy DiLaura: Right, how to how to have constructive conflict, how to hold each other accountable, how to have that that desire that the focus on the results so that has been a huge impact, a huge benefit for us.

 

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Andy DiLaura: So much of the fact that actually currently this month we're now taking our our middle management through that same Program.

 

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Andy DiLaura: So we're doing five dysfunctions training with them as well, and not necessarily on how to in in how to utilize that with our management team, but how to transcend that down to their teams, so that they're they're using the five dysfunctions within their individual teams as well.

 

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Andy DiLaura: I think that's been a big big part of of our executive management program has been really reliant on on five dysfunctions.

 

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Michael Palumbos: love it you guys are doing so many great things and really Hats off to you.

 

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Michael Palumbos: it'll thinking like that that what you just said Andy I call that coach cascade.

 

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Michael Palumbos: So you're how do I cascade the message you know, in the beginning it's I want to cascade it from the CEO from pete to my leadership team right now it's like, how do we take those leaders and get that cascade throughout the whole company.

 

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Andy DiLaura: that's exactly what we're trying to do, and I think.

 

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Andy DiLaura: is a testament to my dad right having the the vision and foresight to say hey you know what this is a worthwhile investment.

 

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Andy DiLaura: right because it's it's very time consuming it's expensive right there's a lot that goes into building up that that team of executives and management.

 

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Andy DiLaura: And something that we always didn't have the luxury of being able to do, especially early on, so really being able to to invest in that and embrace that and it's been a big big step for us.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I think there's a huge benefit to your customer as well.

 

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Michael Palumbos: from doing that stuff because you're faster to respond, because internally, people are talking about what's happening what's not happening and how do we make these things better, and then the the you know that the employees benefit, but also so do you know the customers.

 

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Pete DiLaura: In again I you know when when we started doing this we did initially several years ago.

 

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Pete DiLaura: And it had such a positive effect and the boys brought this to me and said, you know we really need to be looking at doing this for the people coming up behind us.

 

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Pete DiLaura: And it was so important, and it didn't take much we moved it forward and now we're moving it forward again, which I am absolutely thrilled to see so but it to andy's point that does take time, it does take effort and to your point.

 

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Pete DiLaura: It years you have similar tones throughout the company, you have similar feelings and then conversations throughout the company, so in that regards it then goes out when a customer calls, we know how they're going to respond right right yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Alright, so we're at the top of the hour, what i'd love for each of you to do you're sitting down at a restaurant you're having a cocktail after family business day.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And a family member of another family businesses coming up to you and saying Tom one piece of advice what's The one thing that I need to be focused on and, if I can grab that from each of you that'd be great.

 

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Tom Dilaura: yeah so I can kick off, I think the biggest piece of advice I can give to do another family business is is you're definitely not alone in this.

 

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Tom Dilaura: So I think that the more that you can find whether it's a family business Center or a colleague that that is in a family business.

 

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Tom Dilaura: That the ability to share what you're going through and realizing that other people are going through it and then learning from that so learning the pitfalls of successions from somebody that's already gone through it, or just.

 

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Tom Dilaura: Sharing not necessarily petty but but sharing some of those day to day of frustrations.

 

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Tom Dilaura: Again, somebody has gone through that it might not be the same line of business and may not be exactly what you do.

 

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Tom Dilaura: they're the same relationships and they're the same things that occur so so definitely find find that net whether it's a family business Center or just like like I said, colleagues, that that you can share and bounce ideas off of great.

 

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Andy DiLaura: I can, I can jump in next and i'll say surround yourself with good people.

 

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Andy DiLaura: I think that you know all of us have gone through you know strength finders and knowing what our strengths ours and strengths are and what are our lesser strengths are.

 

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Andy DiLaura: In really looking for people that complement those lesser lesser strengths to build a build our team, and I think my is my dad bench and we had.

 

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Andy DiLaura: You know, for 20 plus years key employees that that really worked hand in hand with him to.

 

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Andy DiLaura: grow the business and build the business and Tom and I have been able to kind of take that in and transition that into a newer executive team of.

 

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Andy DiLaura: people that have been with us for 10 plus years and really growing the company, together with that team approach versus an individual approach, I think, is what I would what I would recommend to other family businesses.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Thank you yeah I would just close it off by saying I think one of the things I would pass on is to be a good listener, to listen to what your team is telling you to listen to others, whether they be consultants or or words of encouragement.

 

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Pete DiLaura: I think, being able to listen in and understand where to go having that vision is key.

 

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Pete DiLaura: But in addition to what the boys have said.

 

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Pete DiLaura: You know.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Trusting people as you go forward, the only way you're going to be able to do that is to understand them and and and listen to them as well, so.

 

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Pete DiLaura: I would look at it it's a combination of all of it, it takes a lot of encouragement and that it takes it.

 

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Pete DiLaura: You just got to have a little bit of ambition, a little bit of spark right, I mean we all have it being an entrepreneur I can think of nothing else you know, having done it so it's absolutely a thrill to go to work every day.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Thank you, gentlemen pete Andy Tom the delay your family from cat.

 

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dimensions.

 

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Michael Palumbos: New York.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And just want to you know really heartfelt thank you for joining us and sharing with you know our audience today.

 

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Michael Palumbos: My name is Michael Columbus and with family wealth and legacy in Rochester New York, and you have been listening to the family biz show.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Make sure to tune into future episodes or even go back and check out the past ones, because they're there every episode is evergreen and there's just some great, and you know information out there for you thanks for joining us everybody have a great day.

 

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Pete DiLaura: Thanks Michael.

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Michael Palumbos is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer (member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Family Wealth & Legacy, LLC is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. and its representatives do not provide legal or tax advice. You may want to consult a legal or tax advisor regarding any legal or tax information as it relates to your personal circumstances.

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