Episode 54 (Featuring Mike Critelli & Dr. Mary McKinney)

From Shipping To Healthcare To Film: Mike Critelli’s Journey Along the Road Less Traveled

On this edition of Your American Story, Raja goes one-on-one with one of the foremost business leaders in America, Mike Critelli, as Mike shares the story of his career path, an unusual one to say the least, and the impact he has made at every stop along the way.

Mike had been a fledgling attorney in the Chicago attorney throughout the 1970′s when, in his search for a corporate legal position, he happened upon a Stamford, CT-based company by the name of Pitney Bowes.  Despite the company being firmly nestled in what he was told was a dying communications medium, mail, he took the job anyway, based in part on what he saw to be exemplary corporate values from the top down, namely that they were “good people trying to do the right thing.”

Over the next 20 years, Mike moved away from the Pitney Bowes legal department and into the corporate hierarchy, an upward climb culminating in the company’s highest position, CEO, a position he held for 11 years.  Through this time, the mail industry proved that it was very much NOT dead, enjoying more and more growth through the years (a trend which, despite the emergence of the internet and other forms of media, still continues today), and Pitney Bowes was right there to reap the rewards.

After Mike stepped down from his post in 2007, he then shifted his focus onto an issue he noticed throughout his time at Pitney Bowes, the rising cost (and inefficiency) of the health care industry.  He became the CEO of Dossia, a company dedicated to simplifying the healthcare industry by putting health care records back into the hands of the patients themselves.   He also remains a leading national voice when it comes to making health care simple and accessible to individuals and companies alike.

Having become a leading voice in the mail/shipping and health care industries, Mike decided to take another path less traveled for his next venture: filmmaking.  Specifically, as principal of Gyre Entertainment, a California-based movie production company, whose first film, From the Rough, written by Mike’s son (also named Mike), is slated for theatrical release later this Spring.  Starring Academy Award nominees Taraji Henson and the late Michael Clarke Duncan (in one of his final roles), the movie depicts the remarkable true story of Dr. Catana Starks, the women’s swimming coach at Tennessee State University, a historically black college, who, in 1988, was named the coach of the men’s golf team. In addition to becoming the first female coach of a men’s collegiate golf team in NCAA Division 1 history, she also had to succeed through circumstances that forced her to recruit white, non-U.S. golfers for the squad.

As Mike gears up for the big release of From the Rough,  he takes some time to talk with Raja about his story, and the lessons he learned along the way, not only about these wide variety of industries, but also about himself.  You definitely do NOT want to miss this discussion!

-And speaking of things you do not want to miss, especially if you are in a position to exit your business, Duquesne University’s Small Business Development Center is presenting an informative four-part workshop series, entitled “Transitioning Your Business”, throughout late April and early May on the Duquesne University campus.  The first par of this series, “Getting You and Your Business Ready”, will take place Monday, April 21 on the campus of Duquesne University.  For more information, check them out on the web atwww.duq.edu/sbdc.

Raja will be a part of this great series, as he is lined up to speak about the business atmosphere for both buying and selling in Pittsburgh as part of the April 21 event.  Here, Raja talks with Dr. Mary McKinney, the Director of the Duquesne University SBDC, about what attendees can expect from this groundbreaking series.