The Conversation: Don Rongione, Bollman Hat Co.
Bollman Hat Co.: Number of employees, 280 at facilities on four continents, most at the Lancaster County facilities in Adamstown and Denver; 2013 revenue, undisclosed; hats produced per week in Adamstown, 12,000; headquarters, 110 E. Main St., Adamstown.
Background: Management and accounting degrees, La Salle College, 1979; accountant for firm now known as KPMG; joined Bollman Hat Co. in 1982 as controller; promoted to vice president, then chief operating officer; became CEO, president and chairman in 2002.
Personal: age, 56; wife, Dr. Maryellen Kueny; four sons, two grandchildren; residence, Cumru Township.
Hobbies: running, exercise, sports, music, beach vacations.
Recently read book about business or leadership: “CEO Lifelines: Nine Commitments Every Leader Must Make” by Salvatore Fazzolari; “Good to Great,” By Jim Collins.
Best piece of management advice: “Be honest, transparent and sincere in what you do. People will react positively to that.”
What is the No. 1 challenge you’re dealing with at your company right now:“The No. 1 challenge is all the financial resources required to do the things we aspire to do. To build brands globally, particularly with the number of brands we have, requires a tremendous amount of investment, particularly financial investment, to expand those brands in the targeted markets.”
From felt top hats to stylish lids for a night out on the town with friends, Bollman Hat Co. has you literally covered as one of the oldest apparel companies in the U.S. Changing fashion and economic trends haven’t always made hat manufacturing easy, but the future looks good, said Don Rongione, the company’s president, CEO and chairman. Rongione has been at the forefront of the American Made Matters movement, an effort to promote the value and importance of products made in the U.S.
Business Weekly: How is the hat industry going these days?