Vic Pellicano has a vision for Naperville. He’d like to see companies like his transform the city into a major technological hub.
Pellicano, 31, is CEO of Verenia, a company that offers cloud eCommerce solutions that help companies sell their products online.
Verenia started “as a basement business,” Pellicano said, and has moved its office space in Chicago to Bolingbrook, Warrenville and now Naperville on Fifth Avenue near Naperville North High School.
Pellicano believes Naperville has the resources and talent to become a technology hot bed. He argues that today “many talented young people in their 20s and 30s are commuting downtown” and would likely stay in Naperville if more technology-based companies came here.
A product of Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood, Pellicano said his roots gave him a resiliency and a toughness that have served him well.
“I lost my mom when I was 19, and my dad died while I was still in college, and I figured there were only two options,” he said. “There is something about people from Chicago and New York — there is that ‘toughness,’ and I realized I could sit around feeling sorry for myself, or get up and do something. I tried not to think about things too hard and not have any ‘zero’ days. I soon realized I was going to have to do things, because there was no one else to depend on.”
Pellicano said his interest in computers and developing software came as a result of a computer his father bought when he was 14 years old.
“My dad never used it, but I began fooling around with it and things just clicked,” he said. “I started writing software just for the fun of it and didn’t think I could make a career of it.”
Pellicano said his parents’ deaths left him with no resources and that he put himself through college, earning a double major in math and computer science while still working full time. From there, he went on to attend the Chicago School of Law at Loyola University and then secured a position as the lead software engineer with Freedman Seating Co. in Chicago. There, he developed the company’s first internal software department and implemented innovative strategies and business models to manage virtually every aspect of the company’s software technologies.
Today, Verenia employs about 10 people throughout the country, and the “EOS Cloud Store” is the company’s flagship product. Pellicano said the product is designed for “business-to-business” sales and is similar to programs offered by luxury car manufacturers that allow you to custom design a car and its features online before being built.
“We have an account with a company known as BK Lighting that offers these light bars for emergency vehicles,” he said. “Our software allows them to design whatever configuration they want and then maybe a company buying a fleet of emergency vehicles can have them all outfitted that way.”
Nicki Anderson, president and CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, said one of her objectives as the leader of the organization “is to look to the future” and try to lure folks like Pellicano and their businesses to Naperville.
“Those who are in business in their 20s, 30s and 40s are the ones who are going to help bring our technology here up to speed,” Anderson said. “I’m going to form a ‘technical forum’ and bring in people from our Young Professionals group to help bring us to the forefront and expand technology in the community.”
Colleagues of Pellicano say they look to their leader to keep the young company moving forward. Jason Colosky, vice president of accounts, said Pellicano is “the reason we’re here where we are today.”
“Vic has risen through the ranks and is the person who has led us into the current contracts with our customers,” Colosky said. “He’s an inventor and a big self-starter, and is a driven individual who is intelligent and all-encompassing, and knows how business works. We look to him for leadership all the time.”
Pellicano said his plan during the next three to five years is to make his company and its products a household name.
“I want us to become a brand name and have companies use our system to order parts online,” he said. “We want companies to need our product just to stay even with their competitors. We’re still ahead of our own competitors who haven’t caught up yet as we offer a different view of software. But in the end, we tell people we’re a ‘solutions’ company.”Tags: business, Technology