Welcome to Marzilli Machine Co’s third installment in the Meeting Marzilli series, today we talk with Lee Marzilli, the CEO of Marzilli Machine Co. Learning more about the owner of the company. Lee’s entrepreneurial journey starts in college, where she attended the University of Rhode Island, earning her Masters of Business Administration, as well as an undergrad in Psychology. In this blog we dive into Lee’s early ambitions before becoming a business owner, we then talk about the effect the business has had on her, and her future goals for Marzilli Machine Co. During our conversation, Lee also reflects on the pivotal moments that shaped her leadership style and the challenges she faced in the male-dominated manufacturing industry. As we cover her personal and professional growth, we get valuable insights into the evolving industry of CNC Machining.
We start today off discussing Lee’s education, then moving on to life before the business, what it was like starting Marzilli Machine, and any future goals she has for the company. As mentioned earlier, the first thing I discussed with Lee was her college education. I learned that she attended the University of Rhode Island. Where she earned her Masters of Business Administration, as well as her undergrad in Psychology. Following college, she planned on joining her mother in running the family bookkeeping business, Lee always had the goal of starting her own business, it runs in her blood. However, the bookkeeping business didn’t pan out the way she expected. Her mother wasn’t the only one in her family who had experience running a business. Lee’s grandparents owned a shop, and were active in CNC Machinery sales, introducing her to the industry at a young age. During her college studies, Lee secured a position as a Rite AID store manager, where she was able to start sharpening her team leadership skills from a young age, far before Marzilli Machine Co. would become a thing. This would eventually lead to her college graduation in 2013, where she would ultimately leave Rite AID, and join her husband, Jamie Marzilli, in leading Marzilli Machine Co. Onboarding into the manufacturing industry is not an easy task for anybody. The possibilities of CNC Machining, are seemingly endless, and always evolving, making it a notoriously difficult industry to master. However, in just three short years, Lee knew the industry like it was the back of her hand. She was able to learn and retain everything necessary to turn a piece of stock, into a complete part. I wanted to learn more about her onboarding process, as someone relatively new to the industry myself, I too know about some of the difficulty that comes with CNC Manufacturing. She made it clear that her biggest struggles when learning manufacturing were working drawing related. Deciphering complex prints can be extremely difficult, even for engineers, so it’s no surprise this was mentioned. Yet she was still able to pick this skill up, as well as everything else necessary, in that three year time frame. A true testament to her quick learning abilities.
We then moved on to discussing her work today, and how running the business has evolved over the years. When I asked her about her day-to-day focus, she went into depth about her accounting responsibilities. Lee always has her eyes on the numbers, and is constantly thinking about ways to take Marzilli Machine Co. to the next level. She is responsible for things such as in house finance, & payroll. Things that leave zero room for error. Not only does she handle this, but she also plays a huge role in the businesses quoting process. She has also been training the internal sales team to learn how to help her out with quoting, as the business is more demanding now than ever before. In fact, when I asked Lee about how being an entrepreneur has effected her personal life, she explained that she always feels like she is working, and now has little to no time to enjoy external activities. She stated that she enjoys her work, and is following her dream, so it doesn’t bother her, but it definitely took an adjustment period. I could only imagine how tiring that could be. I wondered what possibly could keep an individual so motivated, so naturally that had to be my next question, what keeps you going every day? Lee had an instant answer, almost before I finished asking the question! She said, without a doubt, her kids and family are the reason she’s so driven. She stated that she loves the fact she has free time to raise her children, and is not bound by a work schedule, as she is able to work from home as well. And she mentioned how it’s nice being able to bring the families dog to work, to spend time with the crew in the office. I switched up the conversation at this point to learn a bit about the future of the business. Lee had lots to say, making it clear to wants to improve the life of employees as much as possible. She is looking to add an in house daycare, to help decrease the living costs for employees. Not only a daycare, she also mentioned an in house gym, and even an in house school for machining, to allow employees to further their industry knowledge. Lee also put emphasis on how important the upcoming expansion is, so we can have enough space to add these amenities to the facility. The expansion is looking to be completed by spring 2024! During this expansion Marzilli Machine Co. is looking to heavily improve on automation skills, capitalizing on lights out machining to improve employee satisfaction and virtually delete some of the tedious tasks operators may have to deal with. Stay tuned for next weeks blog where we will be taking a deeper look at the upcoming expansion.