If David Dussault had one message for entrepreneurs who turned out for his Startup Grind Albany appearance July 23, it was this: The key to a successful business is not the idea you plan to develop, but the quality of the team you assemble.
“You need a technology or process that’s compelling and solves a real problem in the real world,” he said. “But that’s not enough. You need a team that’s well-balanced and knows how to pull the whole dynamic enterprise together.”
One of the Capital Region’s most successful entrepreneurs, Dussault is a UVC UNY50 Leader and the founder of Package One Industries (formerly DHA Holdings), a supplier for major players in the global power-generation and petroleum industries. The firm is on a trajectory to soon hit $30 million in revenues, a success that Dussault attributes entirely to his people.
“We saw exceptional customer service as an opportunity,” he said. “We’ve hired people who love to build products in a way that makes us stand out in our industry.”
The firm determined its values early on not by writing a vision statement but by bringing everyone into a room and simply asking “Who in the company embodies all of the great things about us as a company” and then further asking “What makes these people so great?”
The following five values stood out, Dussault says:
- Honor. “This means putting our customers, employees, and communities before us in a humble way.”
- Friendship. “If you can’t be friends with your colleagues, go on and do something else. Life is too short.”
- Passion. “We want to infuse our industry with entrepreneurship and the passion to provide best experiences to our customers.”
- Entrepreneurial mindset. “We want to be problem-solvers.”
- Commitment to learning. “If you can be the greatest learners in your industry, you’ll be the most successful company in your industry.”
These values have been the bedrock of the enterprise, Dussault said. “This is how we hire. This is how we incentivize and compensate. This is how we motivate ourselves to build the business.”
Dussault was interviewed by E. Patrice Perkins, who launched the monthly series of Startup Grind Albany meetings 19 months ago. Held in an intimate auditorium in the former St. Teresa of Avila Church that Overit Media has converted into its headquarters, these meetings offer an exceptional opportunity to learn from the region’s top entrepreneurs, educators, VC’s and investors and to network. A videotape archive of all interviews in the series can be found on the Startup Grind Albany Web site. To keep up on coming events, join its Meetup group.
Photos from Startup Grind Albany by: UVC Community Connector Emily O’Neill