With more than 30 years of experience in finance, accounting, and human resources in both public and private organizations, Andre Piazza lives and breathes numbers. And, as one of Distinguished’s veteran employees, Andre has watched and helped our organization grow from a startup trying to find its niche to one of the leading national insurance program managers.
We could talk a lot about Andre professionally, but in the interest of also sharing a personal side of our leaders, we’re offering a few anecdotes from Andre’s journey, experiences, and passions.
Tell us about your journey to get to where you are now.
My journey started in 1984 upon receiving my college degree in accounting, finance, and international economics. I began my career in public accounting performing audits, M&A, and tax returns. During my last few years in public accounting, one of my clients persuaded me to leave public accounting and come over to the company side to be his CFO. I spent the next five years there learning how to apply my knowledge and experience to the company arena. In 1999 I was hired as a consultant to help Distinguished Programs Group with a management buyout. Upon completion of the MBO, David and Andy hired me to be their Controller and VP of Finance. Several years later I became their SVP of Finance and eventually CFO. This has been an incredible journey filled with a lot of hard work and long hours!
What experiences have shaped who you are?
When I was in my 20’s just starting my career with a lot of student loans, I decided to get married and start my family. My wife and I had no money and needed to find a place to live so we decided to buy a handyman special and rebuild this old house. Buying this old house and working hard to rebuild it in my spare time taught me a lot about managing your time and building your foundation and future. We immediately found ourselves with equity instead of rent payments and parlayed that into acquiring other rental properties. This allowed us to become debt-free by the time we were in our early 40’s. I use my knowledge gained from all of these construction projects to make decisions at work on how to manage and build departments that interact effectively with other departments of our organization.
What are you passionate about?
I love the game of golf! Unfortunately I did not discover this game until I was 49 years old and my oldest daughter joined her high school team, so I have a lot of years to make up in a short time. I generally play around 100-plus rounds a year (as you may know, it snows in NY and NJ so the season is about 9 months long). To me the game of golf has many life lessons that run parallel with how I approach my work and life. It is a game of integrity, honest, strategy, practice, and perfection. Plus, it takes a long time to master and play!