A Great Company Needs Great Managers
He had a confidence about him and a can do attitude which many would find annoying from a distance.
We had one thing in common in that we were second generation and had been dipped in blue early in our lives.
The department was in chaos, we got our jobs done but morale was low. The upper management was a bit toxic.
Ron came in and laid out his expectations of us, he took a pause, then he gave us a list of things we could expect from him.
What he did was build a team, he made us want to do better, he expected the best out of us and he reciprocated. If you needed a hour or two off to run an errand, you got it. If you had to work a couple of hours more to get something done, you worked the extra hours with no complaints.
The old IBMer was very risk adverse. Ron encouraged us to take “prudent risks” to make improvements. If you did all you could and it did not turn out as expected, you were covered. You knew you had back up. We pioneered some new procedures which benefitted us all.
Ron and I would talk about my moving on as I was getting burned out. While we did not talk about a specific position, we talked about my interests. He said he would look around. Ron could not take his management so he left after two years.
The new manager was a nice fellow but truly a lightweight. Nice enough fellow, but weak. Ron came by my office a couple of months later and said he had found me a potential job. I took the job in Education and I was renewed.
What Ron did was coach his employees, he would critique and encourage. He was a hard but extremely fair. He was scouted by the NHL but an injury sidelined him. So, he went into the family business.
He died suddenly last week playing Hockey. He was only 54. I waited two hours in the cold with hundreds of others to say goodbye to an extraordinary man.
His name was Ron Jankowski and he was what all Managers should be. He was what a great company needs to cultivate and support.
Briarcliff reeling from sudden death of fire captain
By ROBERT MARCHANT
Ronald Jankowski used to tell his hockey buddies he was going to give up the sport to concentrate on his golf game.
Yet week after week, Jankowski, 53, laced up his skates to slap pucks and trade shots with a group of friends who played together for more than 20 years. It was on the ice at the Harvey School in Katonah on Tuesday night that Jankowski, a community leader and longtime volunteer firefighter, played his last game. He collapsed and died of heart failure as stunned players looked on.
A longtime friend and teammate, Phil Ogden, watched a Katonah emergency medical team work feverishly to bring Jankowski back, "but it just wasn't going to happen," Ogden said. Now the community is in mourning and preparing to honor a hometown fixture who made a name for himself in many arenas of local life.
"He was a larger-than-life character," said Ogden, a Chappaqua resident. "Everyone knew him, everyone wanted to know him."
As a captain in the Scarborough Engine 92 Company, part of the Briarcliff Manor Fire Department, Jankowski played Santa Claus for department holiday celebrations and taught high school students about fire safety with an eye toward turning them into volunteers.
A fire department colleague, Mike Bassett, called Jankowski a role model.
"He was the go-to guy," said Bassett, a Briarcliff police sergeant. "If you wanted something done, you'd give it to Ron Jankowski, and it would get done and done right."
Bassett said the sudden death was a blow to many segments of the community.
"It was a total shock to everybody," he said, "Everyone was stunned by it. There's going to be a tremendous turnout for his funeral. I think it will be one of the biggest funerals Briarcliff Manor has ever seen."
Plenty of local hockey players will likely to be among the mourners at St. Theresa's Church in Briarcliff on Saturday for the 10:30 a.m. service.
Jankowski played a regular pick-up game and also suited up for fire department clubs and a team called the Blazing Saddles. A defenseman, Jankowski's humorous nickname among players was "the Goon," said Ogden. "Never vicious, but aggressive," he said. "He played the game the way he lived. Full of energy, 100 miles an hour."
A human resources professional at IBM in Somers, Jankowski is survived by his wife of 26 years, Carol Ann, and son, Christopher Ronald, a graduate student, both of Briarcliff, as well as a number of siblings, nieces and nephews. He was born in Kingston, N.Y., and raised in Mahopac, where he was senior class president at Mahopac High School.
Visitation will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. today at the Waterbury and Kelly Funeral Home on Pleasantville Road.
Donations may be made to the Ron Jankowski 92 Engine Memorial Fund, care of the Briarcliff Manor Fire Department, 1111 Pleasantville Road, Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., 10510.
Briarcliff Manor deputy fire chief dies of heart attack
By SEAN GORMAN
BRIARCLIFF MANOR - Firefighters are planning a memorial service this weekend for a fellow member who suffered a heart attack and died this week while on his way to a fire call.
The services are being held to remember Deputy Chief Joseph E. Piazzi, a 76-year-old village resident who joined the department in 1971.
"Joe was a great guy," Briarcliff Manor Fire Chief Marty Gallagher said yesterday. "It's a big loss to us."
Piazzi had answered a series of storm-related calls Wednesday before returning home around 6 p.m., fire officials said.
He was on his way to yet another call when he began to experience chest pains and called 911 at 6:28 p.m., Assistant Chief Douglas Cacciola said.
A Briarcliff Manor firefighter and EMT who lives two doors from Piazzi on Hazelton Circle responded to his home about a minute after the call went out, fire officials said.
"When the first EMT arrived on the scene he (Piazzi) did say, 'I was going to the call, and I couldn't breathe,'" Cacciola said.
He was taken to Phelps Memorial Hospital Center in Sleepy Hollow and was pronounced dead about an hour later.
"He was a regular guy, a good guy, an astute firefighter ... The fire department was his life," Cacciola said. "He was a father figure in the department, a mentor to a lot of the younger guys."
Piazzi was the Briarcliff Manor chief from 1983 to 1985. Before coming to Briarcliff Manor, Piazzi was a captain in the Mount Vernon Fire Department, according to a news release from the Briarcliff Manor Fire Department.
Piazzi remained an active member of the department and in recent years helped with traffic control around fire department scenes, Cacciola said.
"Joe's a great guy. Joe was always here," said Tom Farrington, a deputy chief with the Briarcliff Manor Fire Department. "Whenever there was a call here you could count on Joe's red truck pulling up and coming into the firehouse. He's going to be missed."
Visiting hours will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. tomorrow at Waterbury and Kelly Funeral Home, 1300 Pleasantville Road in Briarcliff Manor.
There will be also be visiting hours on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 9 p.m. A fire department memorial service will start at 7 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.
The funeral will be held Monday at 10 a.m. at St. Theresa's Church on Pleasantville Road in Briarcliff Manor.