It was supposed to be one- or two-year assignment — serving at the helm of the AME Champions Club. But for long-time manufacturing professional Patrick Carguello, time flies when you’re having fun and creating new learning opportunities for your peers.
Today, Carguello serves as AME’s director of International Operations. However, for 16 years, he served as director of AME’s Champions Club. Additionally, he has served as president and CEO of AME, its annual conference chair, vice president of AME International Operations, vice president of conferences and on numerous programs and committees in support of manufacturing excellence.
In 2011, Carguello was named to AME’s Hall of Fame for his work with the Champions Club. Honorees are recognized for having distinguished themselves in the manufacturing community, consistent with AME’s vision and mission, to inspire a commitment to enterprise excellence through shared learning and access to best practices.
“Pat Carguello is the Champions Club,” said AME President Paul G. Kuchuris Jr. “He built Champions to be an outstanding vehicle for leaders to network. His professional experience and attention to detail guaranteed that each session would be of great benefit to all that participated.”
The AME Champions Club is exclusively for the "Champions of Excellence" within a plant or facility. Membership enables these agents of change to interact directly within a select group of individuals who shoulder similar responsibilities to improve their company's competitiveness, and who approach that challenge with an equally high level of enthusiasm and insight. Champions Club membership also enhances a company's commitment to the "Excellence" process, while creating a broader alliance of companies with AME.
The club is comprised of senior executives from large and small companies who represent a large cross-section of industries and provide each member with exposure that would be unattainable in other types of organizations and industry groups.
The club’s objective is to provide its members with state-of-the-art management techniques and skill development opportunities that help them and their companies compete more effectively in a globally competitive world marketplace.
According to Carguello, the principal benefit for a membership is the unique opportunity to meet and network with peers who have similar problems and responsibilities. Only members in the Champions Club are invited to the four annual meetings where specific topics are discussed and noted authorities are asked to present.
“When you peel it back, the real value and relevance of the Champions Club today is that it’s like an internal society of folks who can rely on each other,” Carguello said. “Sometimes, when you’re at the top as a senior level executive, it can be isolating and difficult to ask someone for help. The Champions Club is an effective mentoring group whether it involves a company of 50 employees or 500 employees. They all have similar problems.”
Carguello should know. Long before serving in the Champions Club, he had already established his reputation in manufacturing. During his 30-year career with Eastman Kodak Company, Carguello held positions in engineering, production and warehousing. He retired as unit director of Industrial Engineering, and is a co-author of “Assessment for Excellence.”
His role with the Champions Club was a natural extension of his career, Carguello said. And looking back through his history with the club, Carguello noted many instances that bring him satisfaction and rewarding moments. For example, once a member of the AME Champions Club stood up during a general session of an AME annual conference and, unsolicited, said that the AME Champions Club has made his company the success that it was now enjoying.
“That was a WOW moment for me. It made me feel like I was making a difference in some small way,” Carguello said. “Another time, a Champion told me that he goes on business trips quite often, and the AME Champions meeting is the only trip where his wife can attend with him and have a great time. The spouses have formed their own network of friends. I guess the point here is that creating an environment where learning takes place is enhanced by also focusing on the social aspects. This was another revelation that helped me enhance the AME Champions program."
Although it’s difficult for Carguello to recognize his own achievements for the Champions Club, his colleagues are the first to tout his leadership and the club’s success. Tony Laraia, vice president of Operations at Aerco International, Inc., in Blauvelt, New York, co-chaired AME's first International Conference in Boston with Carguello in 1994 and is among his biggest fans.
“Pat has built the Champions Club into a premier experience sharing program for executives focused on achieving enterprise excellence. He along with the constant support and assistance of his wife, Nancy, has produced an outstanding series of programs, year after year that demonstrate, without question, the true meaning of continuous improvement,” Laraia said. “While accomplishing all that, Pat has found time to support countless other AME initiatives and programs, and is one whose advice and thoughtful counsel is sought after and trusted. He is a man of integrity and honesty with an impeccable reputation that brings honor to our organization. I and many others are proud to call him friend.”