“It's just a wonderful thing,” Petrozziello said about having the next generation succeed him in business. “It can't be more rewarding. When Father's Day comes, I say, ‘You know what, every day is Father's Day for me because I get to see you guys every day.' It's very special.”
Except these days, Petrozziello is angling to spend less and less time in the office as the next generation continues to take more and more control of the packaging company that makes custom extrusions and containers, including tubes.
“I'm trying to become less involved. But basically nothing happens without me and my brother. I know every single thing that happens. I'm trying to spend winters in Florida. The only reason I can do that is because of my daughters,” he said.
Older daughter Christina Bitette has now spent the past decade or so learning the ins and outs of the business, and younger daughter Carolann Petrozziello has spent the last few years learning the ropes as well. And John Petrozziello Jr. is now chief engineer at Petro Packaging after recently graduating college.
“They are great, great workers. I don't have to tell them how to do anything more than once. I trust them implicitly with everything,” he said.
Brothers Rick Petrozziello and John Petrozziello figured out a plan long ago that allowed them to succeed in business.
“You certainly have to get along. It works out for me and my brother because I have an accounting and law background and he has an engineering background. So everything out in the plant that happens, he takes care of. Everything that happens in the office, I take care of. Of course, there's cross-communications about things, but we each have our spot.
“Our biggest challenge going forward is passing it down to my daughters and his son,” he said.
Petrozziello and his brother learned from their own father, Frederick Petrozziello Sr., and uncles about the plastics business after that older generation founded Petro Plastics Co. Inc. in the 1950s. That first generation eventually split up operations among their four families, and Petro Packaging is one of four companies that resulted.
Petrozziello remembers what it was like working for his own father, appreciates the opportunity that was given him and realizes that it takes time to successfully transition from one generation to the next.
“You have to learn little bits at a time. It's a challenge to keep teaching them but not to inundate them where they get overwhelmed,” he said.
Petrozziello figured it was seven or eight years of working with his father before he knew enough to run the business.
“I think a family business is a great thing. I think it's great for the parents. It's great for the children to learn about business. It would break my heart to sell the business. I don't care how much money they gave me,” he said.
Read an overview of family-owned businesses and find links to other profiles.