This week’s employee spotlight is on Don Schiavone. Don is our COO here at Grasshopper and on our management team. Simply put, Don is responsible for making sure the vision of Grasshopper’s founders becomes a reality by ensuring that we have the right people doing the right things at the right time. This is most often accomplished by ensuring each and every team member lives up to our core values every day.
Let’s get to know Don…
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Of course an astronaut. I grew up watching stories about our race against Russia to the moon. Having successfully won that race, the next challenge was to fly to mars. I dreamed of being on the mars landing team.
What was your first car?
I had a Vette. Yup, that’s right. How cool was I to be a teenager with his own Vette. Unfortunately, it was a Chevette rather than a Corvette. Much less cooler, believe me. It was a stick shift as well. So, for the first 3 months learning to drive it, bystanders would swear I was riding a bucking bronco.
What’s your favorite movie?
Too cliché to go with The Godfather, with a last name of Schiavone. So, I’d have to say Goodfellas. However, I am also a tremendous fan of Hoodwinked!. I love anything with Patrick Warburton in it and he is hilarious as the Wolf.
If you could visit anywhere, where would you go?
I will definitely return to Italy someday, no question about that. The food, the sights, the people, bellisimo! However, if I could truly visit ANYWHERE, I must say I would love to visit the moon or even mars. I believe that will be within our reach in another 50 years to take a vacation to outer space. Looks like I was born 50 years too late.
What’s your favorite day of the year?
Definitely Christmas. There is nothing like the pure joy seeing my children sneak downstairs in the morning to see what Santa left and to have the whole day with my family enjoying time together bundled up in the house with a warm fire and enjoying a great meal.
Fun facts – have anything interesting people should know about you?
I have my private pilot’s license with instrument rating. Prior to the birth of my kids, I use to enjoy flying small planes all over the east coast. I once had to make an emergency landing flying from Charlotte, NC, to Pittsburgh, PA. I was just about to fly over the Blue Ridge Mountains at about 10,000 feet when my engine started to sputter. Fighting back mild panic, I was able glide to a small nearby air strip and make an emergency landing. That really got the adrenaline pumping.