In our last post, we featured an interview with former president, Braun Jones. Our next conversation was with former chapter president Tony Cancelosi, who served from 2002 until 2003.
Mr. Cancelosi is the President and CEO of Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind (CLB), and prior to that, he was President of ICL, an international software company, and the CEO of a number of for-profit technology companies including iBrite and Source Digital. Mr. Cancelosi also authored a book called Santa’s Secret in 2010, with all the proceeds going to the CLB.
Here is what Mr. Cancelosi had to say about his time with the ACG, as well as how corporate growth activity has changed since he was president:
CGCS: Can you describe a significant occurrence that happened in the deal community during your tenure as ACG National Capital president.
Mr. Cancelosi: I’ve been an ACG member for 25 years now, and during my tenure as president, the most memorable deal that took place was the acquisition of two different companies between members sitting at a table together, having lunch. Six months later, because of that initial lunch, one company acquired the other, further cementing the value of being an ACG member.
CGCS: Can you describe something significant that happened during your time as chapter president.
Mr. Cancelosi: As chapter president, I created the ACG Gala along with Shiv Krishnan. We found it important to have a full Gala to honor people who had done deals, no matter what sector they were in.
I was also able to create an environment among former presidents to get together once a year and discuss the history of the organization and how it’s changed over the years. I find it important to incorporate knowledge and pass it on from one president to another.
I’m also very proud to say that I was the first and only official Santa Clause appointed for the ACG!
CGCS: What changes have you seen in the DC business community in the last 25 years? How has the business climate changed? Any new industries to take note of?
Mr. Cancelosi: The DC business community has changed tremendously in the last 25 years. Early on, it had a lot to do with personal relationships. Through ACG, people came together to see what were the leading organizations at an early stage. There was a lot of networking and intertwining of professionals from many different backgrounds, and they all got to know each other very well.
As the years passed, deals became bigger. Handshakes were no longer enough as things became more sophisticated. There are more documents, more performance measures, and bigger government integrators. There’s more due diligence today, but personal relationships remain important.
Technology has been the key-note area for us. There are still numerous start-ups in the area coming up with great new ideas and technologies.
CGCS: Can you describe some of the major trends shaping and influencing the business environment in DC today. How has that shaped corporate growth activity?
Mr. Cancelosi: People increasingly want to see organizations that are led very efficiently, have an impact, and, from a corporate formulation standpoint, run efficiently and make a profit.
People are looking for better performance and growth, and again, something that can positively impact society. We’re not just selling widgets anymore; what does our product provide that can have an impact on society?
To hear more from Tony Cancelosi and the rest of the ACG National Capital past presidents, register for the 25th Anniversary Celebration and Networking Event on Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at the Waterview Center in Arlington, VA. Additional details and event registration are available HERE.