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Words about words, brands, names and naming, and the creative process.

#sparkchamber 020419 — Gio Marinucci

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“Two-thumbs up” is the #sparkchamber rating today as we welcome an entrepreneur, businessman, and philanthropist extraordinaire. John Marinucci — friends call him Gio — is a Chartered Professional Accountant [1980], and holds H.R.C.C.C. [Human Resources and Compensation Committee Certified] and ICD.D [Institute of Corporate Directors] designations. He is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of New Flyer Industries Inc., now the largest bus and motor coach manufacturer and parts distributor in North America. During his seven-year tenure with New Flyer, Gio successfully restructured the then insolvent bus-manufacturing operations and the aftermarket-services business, transforming New Flyer into the North American leader in the heavy-duty transit market. With his guidance and direction, New Flyer completed its IPO in August 2005, then successfully completed secondary offerings in July 2007 and April 2008. Gio retired from New Flyer in 2009 and remains on the board of directors.

He previously served as President for National Steel Car Limited. Under his leadership, NSC generated a 25-fold increase in annual freight-car-manufacturing revenues, becoming the second-largest railcar manufacturer in North America, and created a railcar-lease portfolio of US$500 million.

Gio has also served as the President of the Canadian Association of Railway Suppliers, and was the Manitoba Transportation Person of the Year in 2004. He received the DeGroote School of Business Distinguished Alumni Award from McMaster University in 2013. He currently serves on the board of directors for IntelGenx Corporation, Seaport Intermodal Inc., the CWB Welding Foundation, and Pillar5 Pharma in addition to New Flyer. He is also a past chair of Mohawk College.

But of all the bullet points in his notable career, here’s the one that really resounds. In 2010, Gio founded the Marinucci Family Foundation, a registered Canadian charity focused on the live arts, proactive healthcare, and access to post-secondary education. The establishment of the foundation, of which he is the Chairman, was inspired by his own parents. “My parents, who left this world much too soon, created the foundation for the essence of who I am today. Their legacy and spirit inspired me to dream big but real [i.e., succeed] and their values are what guide and inform my conduct, relationships, and business and philanthropic activities to this day. A day does not pass without a fond memory, or a lesson learned, or an inspiration that can be attributed to them — and that totally works for me.”

The Foundation does impressive, prolific, meaningful work. In 2015, in partnership with the CWB Welding Foundation, the Marinucci Family Foundation endowed annual donations to 10 secondary-school-level welding programs across Canada for ten years. In 2014, the research lab at Mohawk College was renamed the Marinucci Family Foundation IdeaWORKS Lab after a generous donation from the Foundation. The lab is used by Mohawk staff, students, and faculty, working with industry partners to research, develop, test, and commercialize new products and technologies. It collaborates with both private- and public-sector partners in order to offer hands-on experience and the chance to solve real-world problems faced by companies. The lab specializes in eHealth [electronic health] and mHealth [mobile health], energy technologies, and advanced materials.

Keep up the good work Mr. Marinucci. You are an inspiration!

1.] Where do ideas come from?

For me, I believe it is in my DNA to seek, visualize, and recognize opportunities [business or philanthropic]. These represent an erratic yet predictable stream of inputs which fuel my creative thought processes to generate outputs [IDEAS]

2.] What is the itch you are scratching?


3.] Early bird or night owl? Tortoise or hare?

When I worked full time as a public-company CEO, I worked intensively with high performing teams — 24/7. Tremendous success but very one-dimensional. 
Now retired, I can work on multiple dimensions, i.e., greater impact, and when inspired, it is 24/7 because I want to, not because I have to.

4.] How do you know when you are done?

BY DESIGN — I AM NEVER DONE. That is the optimistic version and I am totally cool with it. Conversely ........ IF YOU THINK YOU ARE DONE — UNFORTUNATELY YOU ARE LIKELY CORRECT AND YOU ARE DONE — the pessimistic case.