Perry Piparo

Perry Piparo, Purchasing and Sales

Perry Piparo

Perry Piparo has been an Otto Brehm, Inc. employee for the better part of 20 years. He remembers meeting then-president Ernest Brehm Sr., the oldest son of founder Otto Brehm. “I was an outside sales rep at the time, so I was on the road a lot,” he says. “One day when I stopped by headquarters, Mr. Brehm comes over, addresses me by name, and asks me about my family. That personal attention to every employee—it’s how they treat their customers, too. And that’s continued through three generations of the family business.”

Working at Brehm wasn’t Perry’s first job. With a degree in finance, he started his career on Wall Street. Then a friend who worked in shipping told Perry about an opening. “It was five minutes from my home, and the hours and pay were reasonable, so I took the job,” he says. When a job opened up in sales, Perry, with a wife and two small children to support, welcomed the advancement. After about 15 years, he returned to Wall Street, but before long he was back at Brehm.

“I never expected to get rehired. But Ernie Jr. and his wife Nancy welcomed me back with open arms,” he recalls. “It was very humbling. I will always be indebted to them for their kindness.”

It’s that one-to-one personal touch, the family business that treats employees like family and values its customer relationships, that makes Otto Brehm, Inc. a strong industry contender. Over the years, Perry has seen competitors come and go, often with high employee turnover. But at Otto Brehm, he says, it’s the relationships—with their customers and with their staff—that are more important, not just making a quick buck.

“A company that hires good people and keeps customer relations top of mind can absorb the ups and downs,” Perry says. “Otto Brehm will stay true to its roots as its branches grow.” He adds, “I would do anything for Nancy and the family members who run the business. I’m a company man, 100%.”

Vito Virga

Vito Virga, Shop Steward

Vito Virga

Vito Virga was just out of high school when he started working at Otto Brehm, Inc. After his older brother, who also worked for the company, urged him to apply, Vito landed a job as a delivery truck driver, a job he enjoyed for 25 years before stepping into his current position as Otto Brehm’s shop steward.

A hard worker by nature, Vito says, “Right from the start I liked working here. It’s always busy, which I enjoy. Plus I got to drive around the region, seeing new places and meeting new people.” When the shop steward position opened up, a union job that includes advocating for driver safety and resolving workplace issues, Vito gladly took on the new role. “The customer always comes first,” he says, “but so does workplace safety.”

Vito will often sit in as a senior man is training a new driver, and his 30-plus years’ experience affords him valuable perspective. It goes without saying that every driver is committed to on-time, reliable, accurate service. But Vito likes to remind new employees about the importance of developing relationships with the customers they serve.

“Every employee hears this from their first day on the job: You have to take care of the customer. If you don’t, pretty soon you won’t have any customers to take care of,” says Vito “Unhappy customers will go somewhere else.”

Over the years, Vito has seen many changes in the industry. “Today there’s a lot more competition,” he says. “I appreciate that Brehm does whatever it takes to stay competitive. That includes providing everything the customer needs to make their business better, stay one step ahead, and grow.”

Otto Brehm, Inc. grows the same way. Whether it’s adding new technology to help drivers or warehouse workers do their job or expanding the product line according to market demands, a business stays strong by maintaining focus on customer relations.

“We have customers who made the switch to Otto Brehm because they didn’t like the way their last supplier treated them,” says Vito. “That won’t happen if you always put the customer first.”