Second Annual Pace Pitch Contest
David Oreck | Joseph R. Baczko | Bruce Bachenheimer
additional speakers to be announced
Mr. Oreck traces his devotion to his company's products to his 50 years as an airplane pilot. Mr. Oreck avers, "Like airplanes, great vacuums must be light, powerful, dependable, brilliantly designed and exceptionally engineered." He maintains a fleet of vintage airplanes, including a one-of-a-kind 1944 Beech Staggerwing.
Born in Duluth, Minnesota, David Oreck headed for the excitement of New York City after flying combat missions for the Army Air Force in World War II in a B-29. At 21, he landed a job selling RCA radios, televisions and phonographs. He rose through the ranks at RCA and accompanied RCA founder David Sarnoff to Washington, DC, for Congressional hearings on setting technical standards for a newfangled invention: color television. When RCA needed a new distributor in New Orleans, a poor-performing market, Mr. Oreck jumped at the opportunity. In two years time, he turned it around and went from last to first place.
In 1963, David Oreck established Oreck Corporation, first selling upright vacuum cleaners to the hotel industry. At the time, hotel maids and janitors were burdened with heavy and bulky machines that were cumbersome and difficult to maneuver. Workers were delighted with Oreck's light but powerful upright, and eventually, they began purchasing the machines for home use. From there, word spread quickly to the public about a product that would make vacuuming easier and more effective. Today, his most popular product, the upright Oreck XL, weighs a mere eight pounds.
Mr. Oreck is proud of his company's other innovations, such as his products' hypoallergenic qualities (much sooner than "indoor air quality" concerns became a national concern) and the ability for a vacuum cleaner to switch from cleaning bare floors to rugs without having to switch attachments.
Recently, a satisfied customer wrote to David Oreck and said, "How do I get my teenager to clean his room with the vacuum?" Mr. Oreck designed an upright vacuum cleaner with an FM radio and headphones in the handle.
Today, Oreck Corporation employs 1,500 people, who work at its New Orleans headquarters and its state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Long Beach, Mississippi.
Joseph R. Baczko
Mr. Baczko is currently the Dean of the Lubin School of Business. Previously, he advised private equity firms on international acquisitions in areas of consumer services and specialty retailing. From 1997 to 2001, he was Chairman and CEO of Frank's Nursery & Crafts, a specialty retailer acquired in a leveraged buy-out which he led. After several years devoted to turn-around activities, the company reorganized under new ownership. From 1993 to 1997, Mr. Baczko was a private investor associated with the Cypress Group, LLC, a major private equity firm, and the lead investor in Frank's Nursery & Crafts. As President and COO of Blockbuster Entertainment from 1991-1993, Mr. Baczko helped lead that company to significant growth in the US and internationally, and market leadership worldwide through the expansion of company-owned operations, acquisitions and franchising. During his tenure, the company doubled its size and operated more than 3,000 stores worldwide. Mr. Baczko was the founder and President of Toys R Us-International, and led that company's successful global expansion from 1983 to 1990. He established major retail operations in Canada, France, Germany, UK, Spain, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan. The growth of Toys R Us-International became a textbook case for successful global expansion in specialty retailing. From 1979 to 1983, as CEO of Max Factor-Europe, Mr. Baczko directed that company's UK- based manufacturing and marketing operations throughout Europe, and developed a network of joint ventures in the Middle East, Africa, Japan, and South Asia. Prior to 1979, Mr. Baczko held various management positions with W.R. Grace and in merchant banking.
In addition to his business career, Mr. Baczko has had significant involvement in academia. He is currently the Dean of Pace University's Lubin School of Business. Previously, he was Chairman of the Board of Visitors for the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, a position he has held for the past nine years, and during which time he has worked closely with its Dean in enhancing the School's mission and capabilities. He has been a past member of the University's Board of Regents for eight years, the last two of which were as Vice-Chairman. Mr. Baczko was an active member of the University's Capital Campaign Steering Committee, which successfully concluded its $1 billion campaign last year, of which the School of Foreign Service raised $120 million.
Mr. Baczko is Hungarian, born in Germany, raised in France, and immigrated to the States with his family in the fifties. He graduated from the School of Foreign Service with a BSFS, and received an MBA from Harvard University. Mr. Baczko was an officer in the US Marine Corps, and served in Vietnam. He and his wife have three grown children, and reside in New York City.
Mr. Bachenheimer served as a Vice President of iQ Venture Partners, an Assistant Vice President of Westpac Banking Corp. and an International Banking Officer for the Bank of Tokyo. As the International Product Manager for MSI, an SBA certified 8(a) firm, he was responsible for the initial commercialization of a high-technology forensic science system. In that position, he conducted business in over twenty countries. He has also started successful ventures in both the US and overseas.
Mr. Bachenheimer has served as a consultant to the NYC Department of Small Business Services and several entrepreneurial ventures. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the MIT Enterprise Forum of NYC and serves on numerous committees at Pace, including the Selection Committee of the University's incubator. Mr. Bachenheimer is the founding faculty advisor of the Pace Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs, a Students In Free Enterprise Sam Walton Fellow, and the organizer of the Pace Business Plan Competition, Pitch Contest and Entrepreneurship Conference.
Mr. Bachenheimer holds a BBA, Summa Cum Laude, from Pace University and received the McKinsey & Company Leadership Scholarship to pursue an MBA. degree, which he earned from the Australian Graduate School of Management.