CJ Paterniti Speaks to Chardon HS | D&S Automotive

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Speaking Series at Chardon High School with CJ Paterniti

Last week, CJ Paterniti talked to students at Chardon High School about entrepreneurship and business. Below are a few questions that students had after the talk.


Which location did you start at?

When I started we only had our Mentor location.  That is where my tenure began.

When did you decide to open several shops in the area?

When my Mentor and Euclid stores hit full capacity it was a decision move to open a location that we had a larger draw from.  This will also be a way to decide where we open another location in the future.

How did you get people to take you seriously when you started out as a young businessman?

That’s a challenge I deal with on a daily basis.  Manners, humility, being polite and respectful is a good place to start.  I also believe in relying on the facts.  Trust is a huge factor when dealing with typically the second largest investment in someone’s life.  A vehicle.  First is the home.  I am very passionate about what I do.  My largest asset is my staff.  So, when you are a leader in any business the drive and passion will be a huge part of your success, which people will recognize.  With that said people will take you serious when you have proved yourself as a leader and when you earn their respect.

How long does it take to become an owner of your own business?

Overnight to overtime.  All depends on the situation.  This is difficult to answer.  Being an owner of multiple business’s every situation was different.

How long did it take to get the position you have now?

I always had a passion for working in my families business.  I’ve developed new processes and procedures to increase efficiency.  I had to prove to my father Carmen that I had what it took to make the company better than when I took over.  I assessed what was controllable and what wasn’t.  With my employee’s being my largest asset culture was going to be key.  After all, they are an extension of what I possess as success.  The phrase ‘you are as strong as your weakest link’ meant something to me.  Instead of firing them immediately I would attempt to process manage them.  In the end if they failed because they were provided the education and tools to complete the job, the only reason otherwise is because they don’t want to or care.  I have climbed the position ladder to get where I got by blood, sweat, and tears.  I believe humility has been a huge impact in gaining my teams success.

We all win together or lose together.  And ultimately passion will drive success.

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