As a former vitamin seller, Jason Provenzano, 41, says, he saw a need for a manufacturing company dedicated to customer service.
He launched vitamin manufacturer Nutricap Labs in 2003, he says, "because I was dealing with so many poor manufacturing companies."
The company also provides label and packaging design services. It won a 2010 Stevie Award as "Best Overall Company of the Year" in June. The Stevies have been called "the business world's own Oscar Awards." He is married and has four children and owns thoroughbred racehorses.
Has the recession impacted business?
"It really hasn't impacted our type of work. People have a healthy lifestyle and they're going to continue taking their vitamins. You can live without a new couch, but if you want to stay healthy, you better continue taking your vitamins. We're constantly growing.
What are your plans for growth?
"We created a line for doctors called Doctor's Recommendation. [It will] only be available to doctors, chiropractors -- they won't be sold to the general public."
Tell me about hiring.
I stopped doing the interviews personally because I was continuously looking for me across the table. . . . I definitely don't want somebody that watches the clock. I want a person that wants to come in here, is aggressive and . . . every two weeks is looking to give themselves their own raise by making sales."
What's your strategy for taking on the competition?
"I kind of let the competition take care of themselves. We're definitely leaders. Once we do something, we always see that we're copied within a week or two. Some people pose as manufacturers and they're working in their own garage."
How did you learn how to manage others?
Referring to a previous warehouse job, he says, "I picked up on things very quickly. People would just come to me for answers. You kind of just start leading and telling people what they need to do to get the job done. It wasn't forced on me, it wasn't asked of me, it just kind of happened. "
What's your leadership style?
"I'm first in the trenches, always. I'm here till 8:30 or 9:30 p.m. every night. I'm in on a Saturday or a Sunday. So if somebody tells me they couldn't get something done, my answer to them is, 'Did you stay late, or did you come in on the weekend?'
"If I can't lead by example, it's not worth coming out of my mouth. Any CEO is a control freak -- there's no doubt about that -- or you wouldn't have gotten where you are. But you have to allow people to run with things, because if it's always your way or you think your way is the right way, there's a chance that you're never going to find out a better way."
Name: Jason Provenzano
Company: Nutricap Labs
Business: Contract manufacturer for vitamins
Location: Farmingdale, Hauppauge
Type: Private company
Revenue: $65 million