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Zotos International’s high-energy local chief

  • Position: Vice president, plant operations, Zotos International Inc.
  • Age: 41
  • Education: B.S. in economics and business administration, SUNY Binghamton, 1993; MBA, California State University at Dominguez Hills, 2004; post-graduate certification in operations and supply chain management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2006; global business program graduate, International Institute for Management Development, Lausanne, Switzerland, 2010
  • Family: Wife Kelli; son Anthony, 16; and daughters Victoria, 12, and Lydia, 11
  • Residence: Victor
  • Activities: Family, travel, working out
  • Quote: "I’m high-energy, I’m aggressive and I’m passionate about getting people excited about what we do. I don’t want to crush people, but I do want to succeed."

 

 

As executive quarters go, Anthony Perdigao’s office could best be described as tiny.

Its size, however, is not a concern for Perdigao, the 41-year-old vice president of plant operations at Zotos International Inc.’s Geneva site. The energetic and outgoing head of the facility prefers to be moving around the 650,000-square-foot building instead of sitting behind his desk.

"I’m high-energy, I’m aggressive and I’m passionate about getting people excited about what we do," Perdigao says. "I don’t want to crush people, but I do want to succeed."

He says the company’s success-whether that means achieving superior financial performance or finding more energy-efficient ways to do business-is his top professional priority. And by being visible and working alongside others, he believes, he gives it his best shot.

Zotos manufactures a full line of hair care and styling products for salons and stylists. It has roughly 700 workers worldwide, including 336 regular and 110 long-term contract workers at its Geneva plant.

The Connecticut-based company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of hair care products. It is wholly owned by Shiseido International Corp., a U.S. subsidiary of Shiseido Co. Ltd. of Tokyo, a manufacturer and supplier of high-end cosmetic and skin care products.

Shiseido entered the U.S. beauty market in 1988 when it acquired Zotos from Conair Corp. Zotos was founded in 1919 as Inecto Inc., which formulated, manufactured and sold permanent hair dyes.

Shiseido trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and on the pink sheets in the United States under the symbols SSDOY and SSDOF.

The facility in Ontario County makes hair products for professional salons. It is a fully integrated plant, meaning it blow-molds and screen-prints bottles, compounds the bulk product, fills and packages the bottles, and distributes the product to customers in roughly 80 countries.

The firm has operated in Geneva since 1969 and is the only manufacturing facility for the Zotos and Joico brands.

Perdigao declines to disclose revenues for the firm but says they continue to grow, with the exception of a small drop in sales in 2009 due to the global recession.

"You are never standing still in business," he says. "You either move forward or you move backward."

Focus on learning

A New Jersey native, Perdigao was raised in the Southern Tier. He earned a bachelor of science degree in economics and business administration from SUNY Binghamton in 1993 and then went to work at Toshiba America Inc.

While there, he received his MBA from California State University at Dominguez Hills in 2004.

An advocate of ongoing education, Perdigao received post-graduate certification in operations and supply chain management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006 and is a recent global business program graduate of the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland.

He came to Zotos in 2005 in a management role and was promoted to his current position a year later. Perdigao says he left Toshiba at a time when the consumer electronics industry was contracting and he was anxious to jump into a business area with greater growth potential.

Since landing the top spot in Geneva, Perdigao has led a series of renovation and expansion efforts totaling some $30 million. They include increasing capacity and adding a new hair-styling product line; refurbishing and expanding existing product lines; and constructing a new compressor room.

In 2007, Zotos added a 270,000-square-foot distribution center and new equipment. Another building expansion is slated for this year.

"I want to grow and push the boundaries of what manufacturers can do," Perdigao says, referring in particular to the company’s sustainability efforts.

That drive can lead to long hours. He works in the office from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. five days a week and often is there for part of the

weekend. He believes the work is necessary with the economy rebounding and the professional beauty industry back on track.

"Our time is now," he says.

Perdigao is on the road frequently, traveling roughly 30 percent of the time, domestically and abroad.

The energy level at the Geneva plant is high, and co-workers say that starts with Perdigao. He walks fast, talks fast, and one can almost see the wheels of thought in motion.

Ross Gansz, Zotos’ director of procurement and outside operations, describes Perdigao as an "incredible mentor and coach" who surrounds himself with a talented group of managers and employees.

"He gets people engaged and is clear and concise with his vision," Gansz says.

Perdigao believes in a saying Shiseido’s CEO had placed on a small gift to employees: "All great leaders over-communicate."

Despite his constant energy and ambition, Perdigao strives to be approachable and down-to-earth.

The best part of the job, he says, is being involved in new initiatives and driving strategies for growth. The most challenging is maintaining an edge in competition with firms including Wella AG and John Paul Mitchell Systems Inc.

"We work to make sure manufacturing in New York looks as good as it can," Perdigao says, adding that having strong relationships with local suppliers and government leaders helps.

Zotos was named business of the year in 2009 by the Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce.

Hair-color products continue to be a leading growth product for the company. Perdigao says product development is the lifeblood of the company and Zotos spends millions of dollars annually on such endeavors.

In its work on environmental improvements, Zotos has launched a multimillion-dollar program of installing wind turbines to generate power. The wind turbines are expected to be up and running on the eight-acre campus by summer’s end.

The company’s goal is to generate 60 percent of the power it needs on-site by the end of the year, with a plan to reach 100 percent renewable power a year later, Perdigao says.

The company also has initiatives in progress to consolidate freight operations, strategically using rail shipments. Zotos has partnered with Finger Lakes Railway Corp. on a project to refurbish an old rail spur.

Changes also have been made to manufacturing processes, from using recycled material in the production of plastic bottles to eliminating paper inserts by printing instructions directly on packages.

Next, Zotos will be transforming old warehouse space into LEED-certified office space that optimizes natural lighting and uses geothermal and co-generation energy for heating and cooling, Perdigao says.

Family time

When he is not working, Perdigao enjoys spending time with his family. He lives in Victor with his wife, Kelli; 16-year-old son, Anthony; and daughters Victoria, 12, and Lydia, 11.

The family takes a couple of vacations each year, including a Christmastime visit to his parents’ house in Florida, which also includes a trip to DisneyWorld.

Since he tends to work long hours, Perdigao tries to make time for overnight or weekend getaways with his wife. He also makes a daily trip to the gym a priority.

Michael Manikowski, director of the Ontario County Office of Economic Development, has worked with Perdigao for several years. He says Perdigao has been largely responsible for Zotos’ recent growth.

"He is bringing national attention to Zotos as a green, sustainable salon products company," Manikowski says, adding that Perdigao also works with local leaders to attract new capital and jobs to the local plant, which is now one of Ontario County’s largest manufacturers.

Perdigao also has brought a substantial amount of new technology to Zotos’ manufacturing processes and works constantly on process improvements, Manikowski says.

"Certainly, it is not a stretch to call Anthony a visionary," Manikowski adds. "He provides leadership in all areas of production and development with a primary goal of making Zotos the premier green, sustainable salon products manufacturer in the world."

Perdigao says he intends to keep his focus on growing the company. He declines to give specifics but talks excitedly about a three- to five-year business plan that contains things never before done in the beauty industry.

"Everything is strategic in nature," Perdigao says. "I’m always thinking of the next step."

Anthony Perdigao

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