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Key Idea: Recruit Top Talent

Leadership matters and the cost of hiring experience usually pays off.  Burton May came from outside the organization while some managers worked their way up.

Key Question:


A big vision gives you the courage you need to get the right people in the right places. Linda has a smile on her face when she tells about recruiting the current management team but if you watch her closely you may detect that there was pain in the process. They had people who needed to leave because they couldn't keep up with the changes or who didn't want to learn new things.

By holding on to her vision for growth she and her parents had the courage to fire some people to make room for people who want to make big things happen. The big vision also gave Linda the courage to go after top performers who would never come to work for a company that didn't have a plan for the future.  
Q: What did Burton May say about why he is glad to be at Opici?

A: He said in the big companies he had worked for in the past it took forever to get a decision made. There were layers of bureaucracy who could not handle information fast enough for Burton to take advantage of an opportunity. At Opici he was free to move ahead with ideas and he could also consult quickly with Linda or Mr. Opici.

Think about it

What are you doing to attract talent to your company? Are you happy with the current leadership?

Clip from: Opici Wine Group's Three Generations

Glen Rock, New Jersey:  One never knows when power, love, and money intersect within a family, how it'll play out. When company founders, Rose and Hubert Opici, thought the next generation was ready to run the company, they retired to Florida.  They were a bit too optimistic. Though from within the family, their new leadership had power and money but not the love that was Rose and Hubert's special ingredient that had nurtured this business into being for over three decades. Luckily, Rose and Hubert were paying attention. They came out of retirement, removed their bad apple, and restored health and vitality to the business.  
The hard lessons learned from that experience steeled the family for the tasks ahead. Their daughter, Linda, became president and they began recruiting strong veteran industry talent. Then to prepare their grandchildren, Dina and Don are getting on the job training from the bottom up.
Learn how a business is built by celebrating life around an evening dinner with family, customers and suppliers. It is a very basic business formula: Know your customers and suppliers well. Get to understand them, like them, and trust them, and the business follows.

This company opened for business in 1933 and you will hear the third generation talking about taking Opici into its second century of operation. 

Go to all the Key Ideas & Videos of this episode...

Opici Wine Group

Linda Opici, President

25 DeBoer Drive
Glen Rock, NJ 07452

Visit our web site:

Office: 2016891200

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1933

Recruit Top Talent

LINDA: What we've had to learn is -- you have to have a strong management team around you. And at times, we did not have that. Fortunately, within the last year, we've managed to create that. We've changed the entire staff of the upper management which was running New Jersey and New York and the VP of Sales - and we have changed the entire structure.

HATTIE: Okay - because?

LINDA: Because we weren't pleased with the way things were going, because we want to go to the next level, because we needed to do this to effectuate growth and to attract new suppliers and meet their demands. And so, we had to make some people maybe unhappy. But, the most important thing to us is the welfare of our company.

HATTIE: Burton May is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Opici Wine Group.

BURTON: In my previous life, I worked for a major company in the business. The corporation was such that it was very well run, but on the same token, you couldn't get a decision made on the spur of the moment. In this particular position and with this particular company - decisions are made every single day. You don't have to wait around and have a committee to do it - you don't have to wait around and get the okay from Hubert or anybody else. That decision is made - you are given that latitude to make that decision. And by doing that, that gives us the ability and the one-upmanship on our competition in the marketplace.

LINDA: What we did was we went outside of the company on several of the re-positioning and reorganization and looked into other companies that we were dealing with that we thought had expert people. And we approached them --- to see if there was any interest. And there was. We also, within the company, brought people up. People approach our people all of the time - now - because, I think we have such a great team in place and obviously everyone is envious of a winner and therefore, our people are approached quite often.

PATRICK: The attraction is that you can still have access to senior management. And senior management can have an everyday interaction with even the warehouse people or our customer service or our credit people. And that's important because you find more things out from the bottom up than you do from the top down.

HATTIE: So now that you've got all of these winners, how are you going to keep them?

LINDA: Oh we'll keep them. There's things you can do.

HATTIE: Like what Linda? Like bonus plans?

LINDA: Like bonus plans and there's plans for the future that we will put in place for them - and have already - that will secure them with a dollar at the end of the road that will be very intriguing and I'm sure that's kind of a hook you need today. First of all, coming here is exciting everyday because there is so much going on -- and second of all -- what he would get at the time of retirement would be so interesting that he wouldn't want to leave. Because, if you stay - we pay.

HUBERT: I still go out and sell. Last week we had a product that was laying in the warehouse and I said to one of the salesman, "I am coming with you." And so we went out. And when the managers saw me go out, they went out. I said, "Lamar, you go out and the next day you go out." And they sold 50 cases and we haven't sold 50 cases in a year. And so, I always say you should be a leader and not a pusher because if you lead they follow - if you push they resent it and resist your advice.

LINDA: I think we spur each other on and no one comes here like, "I do this and I do that." We are a team working together.

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