A Chat With Harvey Dean, president/CEO, Pitsco
In the early 1980s I had some health challenges, and during the time that I was off work I reflected on who I was and what I really knew about. And I really did have, and still do, a passion for education. I have several degrees in education. And so I refocused my life, and said, I’m going to quit playing with all of this stuff that hadn’t made any success anyhow. I just focused on education in 1984 and stayed out of everything else.
CS: How did you change how you did business after 1984?
Dean: I think it was a refocus on innovation. We changed our byline from “Fast, Friendly Service” to “Innovative Education.” I really refocused on the fact that we were the only company in this field trying to help teachers with new technology and new products to engage children. In 1985, a change occurred to rename industrial arts to technology education. Using innovative education as our byline allowed us to develop a lot of new products, as we still do today.
CS: How long were you a teacher before you started the business?
Dean: I was a teacher for four years in Oklahoma, then I taught at a university for four years. I got a couple of degrees post-bachelor’s degree, but I was also teaching out there.
CS: Career-wise, what’s been your greatest challenge?
Dean: I think it’s been maintaining a dynamic place for people to work. Where they feel a part of it, and they feel responsible and appreciated. We’re still just a small company, but when you get more than 50 people, you have to be very sure that you keep everybody going down the same route, on the same page, with purpose and passion. As you get to 100 employees, it’s still important, but it’s that much harder.