Cattani Characters: Joe Serratore

Cattani characters: Joe Serratore

Joe’s Law: To shoot low you must aim high

Joe Serratore is an open book – you’re never left wondering if he loves golf, what his thoughts are on his beloved Richmond, or what punishment is suitable for serious criminals. He also has a style that makes him welcome and respected in any environment, from locker room to boardroom.

Joe came to Cattani nearly four years ago. He first worked for our sister company, industrial blower brand ESAM, as sales manager. These days he is Business Manager–Operations for the Cattani Group, which includes ESAM.

As head of operations, Joe’s major role right now is implementing a plan to integrate the three Cattani Group sectors – Cattani Australasia, Cattani Asia and ESAM (Australasia and Asia) – into one entity equipped for substantial growth.

“We’re moving away from silos, which create problems in a relatively small company, to a group-wide model,” Joe says. “That way we have consistent and integrated processes and staff who can easily cover multiple areas and step in when colleagues are absent. That needs teamwork and understanding the vision, and we’re lucky at Cattani to have the Clark family legacy of success and the company profile, and our CEO Greg Fox’s ability to share the vision. That transparency, so that we’re all on the same page, is really important, as is leadership by example.”

Customer experience and satisfaction is at the core of Joe’s role, with support of our business development managers key to that. “We want our customers to enjoy their Cattani experience, and for us to become further engaged with our distributors. For us, customer service is ‘womb to tomb’.”

Change is inevitable, and at Cattani it has been considerable, which can make people uncomfortable. Joe sees making improvements while keeping the team on board as one of his biggest challenges, but one he has a lot of experience with. He honed his people management skills firstly in the hotel industry, then at Toll Transport where he worked for 15 years before joining Cattani.

”A major turning point in my life happened at Toll when I went from operational supervisor on the floor to managing the whole operation – with 60 people – by the age of 25. I thought, I can do this. It opened up doors to a life where I could buy property, travel, things like that. I learned I was good with people. I understood how systems worked but the biggest thing was getting people to buy in to it. Production went up and efficiency went through the roof.”

By the time he finished at Toll, he was National Business Manager with responsibility for some 440 employees at six sites across Australia.

“Developing people’s skills gives me the most satisfaction – that and helping make a company profitable, which is always the end game. I like to engage with other workers and get a kick out of seeing them develop. It’s important to me that if and when a person who works for me leaves, they feel they’re a better person, because then they can leverage off what they have learned and go on to bigger and better things.”

Joe has an interesting motivational mantra: fear of failure. “I always do my best because of this fear. I value my job because it underpins everything – my responsibility and accountability to my son Jackson, partner Laura and other people around me, my mortgage, my golf, my football, travel, buying a car. I never take my job for granted and I don’t want to give my employer a reason to get rid of me.”

We’ve mentioned golf a number of times because Joe’s interest is striking. In a list of life’s pleasures, for example, it’s hard for him to put anything, other than family, above beating his handicap, which today sits at a very respectable eight. “If I was 13 or 14 again, I would work on my golf skills because I know now that if I’d stuck at it it could have taken me around the world. When your hobby becomes your occupation by virtue of you being good at it – that’s really special.”

In Joe’s ideal world he would in fact be on a world trip that includes London, he’d be playing a lot of golf, Avicii would be pulsing through his headphones (electronic dance music is another great love) and the day would end with a dish of paella.

He would say he is a man of simple pleasures. That wicked grin and ebullient personality sure makes it a pleasure for the Cattani team to have him around.