June 2, 2017 Q&A with Featured Hockey Players in Business Member: John Bongiovanni
President, Bon Tool Company
Where did you grow up?
Suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (about 20 minutes from downtown)
What is your hockey history?
- Played hockey in high school and amateur leagues growing up
- Played college hockey for the D3 program at Denison University
- Primarily been a center, but have played wing throughout the years and an occasional fill-in for defense
- Still try to play at least once or twice a week in a men’s league (but with a nine-month old at home and frequent travel it gets tough)
What business are you in now?
Bon Tool is a leading manufacturer of construction tools and equipment for building industries. The trades we service include concrete, decorative concrete, masonry, drywall, stucco, plastering, roofing, asphalt, hardscapes and landscapes, and general construction. We are a third-generation family business, which was started by my grandfather in 1958. I began working full time in 2007 after graduating from college and have served as the company president since my father’s untimely passing in January 2017.
How has hockey helped you achieve success?
Hockey has always provided me with a competitive edge, a desire to do better and the understanding that a loss isn’t the end of the world. While I enjoyed a mostly successful hockey “career,” there were obviously ups and downs. Those ups and downs have been critical to my success, especially because I entered the workforce in the worst U.S. economy since the Great Depression (particularly in our industry). I knew from my playing experience that if you stick to your basics, focus on your game and continue to look forward you will overcome the challenges you face. I realize that hockey also has made me a teamwork-minded person. I appreciate the efforts I get from employees, and try to keep everyone on the same page. I see my position at work similarly to how a coach looks at his team. It isn’t about having the best players, but instead figuring out who will work best with each other to be the most productive.
Can you share a few fun facts about yourself?
I married my wife in 2012, and we have a nine-month-old son, Colton. I travel quite a bit for work and for pleasure (been to six continents). Being from Pittsburgh, I’m an avid Penguins and Steelers fan. A lifelong fan of many sports, in addition to playing hockey growing up I also played baseball, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, golf and rugby. Having given up most of these in my adult life, I still try to play hockey and golf as much as possible.