C3’s Rick Mancinelli on creating a fun, upbeat company culture

March 11, 2019
Article by Lori Lucas

Although Cloud Computing Concepts (C3) is rapidly growing through acquisitions, CEO Rick Mancinelli likes to talk more about the perks he provides for his 25 employees than the company’s profits.

C3 has been named among the Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for six years in a row, and he plans to make its Delray Beach headquarters even better with an expansion that will double its space as it adds employees.

Mancinelli, honored by the Business Journal in 2015 as a Palm Beach Ultimate CEO, offered a tour of the expansion that’s under construction. He discussed his workers’ benefits, which include a flexible schedule and a fully stocked refrigerator. Another perk to come: a corporate golf cart for swift access to Atlantic Avenue and the many local establishments.

What are the positives of doing business in South Florida? The negatives? In the last 10-15 years, I’ve certainly seen more camaraderie among business owners, and it’s become a more tight-knit community. Some of the inter-county barriers are starting to come down. There’s more of a ‘think local’ approach than there used to be. As for the negatives, we in the tech world have a sort of Catch-22 when it comes to recruiting talent. There’s a desire to move here – no state income tax is always a plus, and certainly the weather – but there’s a fear among some of those candidates that if it doesn’t work out, where else could they go? There’s still a perception that there’s no serious business in Florida aside from hospitality. Collectively, the various economic development agencies and chambers have been working to combat that misconception. The candidate pool has gotten much deeper and more sophisticated than when we first started down here.

What’s the hardest part of your job? Stress. Being an entrepreneur, you shoulder a tremendous burden. I treat my employees as if they’re family and, likewise, they do the same for me. It’s important for me to try to make the best decisions, not from the fiduciary perspective, but as far as taking care of the people who have allowed us to get as far as we’ve gotten.

What makes a good leader? Understanding your people, their needs and what it takes to get the best out of them. A lot of it is about listening. Here, we try to create a fun, upbeat culture. We try to be flexible and give them cool perks, like we’re getting a corporate golf cart for the employee of the month so they can buzz down to the beach for lunch. It’s about taking care of your people and helping them realize their best potential.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? My original mentor, Larry Ullman, used to say that computers don’t solve problems, people do. I always took that to heart.

How did you end up in South Florida? I came down in 1999. We were having one of those winters in New Jersey where it just kept snowing. My roommate asked if I wanted to go to Florida for the weekend. On the fifth day we were there, we rented a home, packed our stuff and never came back. I haven’t shoveled a bit of snow since.

How do you balance family and work life? If you can figure out that one, you’d be a millionaire. It’s a challenge. The company is demanding and the pace of business has accelerated. Technology is a 24/7 business. My two boys are 9 and 13 years old, and it has become my personal therapy to go to their hockey games and tournaments. It’s a conscious effort. I owe it to my wife and kids. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of continually working.

What’s the most important part of your daily routine? I’m definitely a mocha latte guy. That’s usually how the day starts: a mocha latte and getting the boys ready for school, playing with the dog and getting out the door. Those are the good days, but sometimes you wake up and your phone is 100 messages deep because of something crazy that happened to a customer account. Thankfully, those days are fewer.

What are your favorite TV shows right now? I was a big “Homeland” fan. I watch “The Orville” and “Silicon Valley,” which is also funny. “Billions” is good. Beyond that, it’s the news or anything on the Discovery Channel.