Birthplace: Middletown (New Jersey)
Current title: CEO, Kaseya
Previous positions: CEO of Trust Technologies, co-founder and executive VP of Identify Software
Boston College, B.S. in finance
Boards/organizations: Zoo Miami, Cooper Voccola Family Foundation, Monmouth County SPCA, Anima BioTech, Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation
Kaseya, a Miami-based technology company that was once little known, has become one of the city's leading firms in just a year.
It's not hard to understand why.
The IT management company is on track to become the largest private employer in the region. It has multiple Brickell offices, and plans to hire 3400 new employees just in South Florida. It made headlines across the country in April when it acquired the naming rights to the Miami Heat home arena located downtown Miami. The venue, now known as the Kaseya Center in downtown Miami, is introducing its brand to basketball enthusiasts worldwide.
Kaseya’s transformation has been largely attributed to the CEO. Since late 2015, the company has grown from 500 to over 4,500 employees.
Voccola also loves to give back to the community via the Cooper Voccola Family Foundation. The nonprofit, named after Cooper, a 14-year old beagle/Pekingese cross, has partnered up with charities such as the Humane Society of the United States and Disabled American Veterans to assist animals and humans in need.
What brought you to Florida? I moved to Florida in the early 1990s so that I could attend the University of Miami. After a year, I transferred to Boston College. If I could change anything, I would stay at UM. I had one of the most memorable experiences of my entire life. It made me fall in Love with Miami.
Why did you fall for the city? Miami was very different from New Jersey, where I grew. My hometown was mainly Italian, Irish and Polish. Back then, we didn't even have internet or cable TV. Before I moved to Latin America, I knew nothing about Latin culture. The food and the language were different. Miami is the only place where people dance at parties. In New Jersey, you wouldn't have seen that. It was a completely different world.
What was your first occupation? Baseball umpire. Dave and Rob have been my best friends ever since elementary school. We were all Little League umpires for the T ball division in the fifth grade. We were paid $10 per game as the home umpire. Rob was our best of the three. From the age of 15 to 20, I worked as a security guard for the Garden State Arts Center. It was the best job I've ever had. I sneaked friends into all the concerts that were held in that part of New Jersey.
Early in your career, you co-founded Identify Software. What did you gain from this experience? My mentor, Yochi Slinim, founded that company, and he graciously called me one of its co-founders. We were the very first solution for application performance management. I was just starting my 20s when i joined. As a bootstrapped company, I quickly learned how difficult it is to pay employees. In the past 15 years, the current generation of tech executives and CEOs has benefited from a boom in venture capital. But we had to make money from the start. Maybe you'll have to forgo a paycheck for a couple of months in order to ensure the survival of your company. This experience taught me to be tenacious.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in a career as a technologist? Don't just get in it for the money. You shouldn't get into the tech industry if you find it boring. If you are worried about layoffs or other issues, and you're interested in tech, take a longer-term perspective. If you want to stay on the cutting edge of any industrial revolution, a career in tech is the way to go. Tech is changing everything - from health care to construction and even media.
How can Kaseya continue to grow when other tech companies are cutting back? Our customer base is one reason. Our customers are small and medium businesses and their tech consumption is exploding. We didn't hire thousands of people on a whim, when capital was so cheap. We have always been careful to hire conservatively over time because we know that we have obligations towards our employees.
Why did you create the Cooper Voccola Family Foundation? Around six years ago my dog Cooper woke up in the morning with herniated disks in his spine. Overnight, his hindlegs and tail became paralyzed. Since then, he has been receiving rehab. Many families do not have the funds to provide this kind of intensive therapy and so many disabled pets end up being euthanized. We do a great deal of work for animals with disabilities. We work with veterans, particularly those who have suffered traumatic injuries. Cooper is a great source of inspiration for us: If Cooper can overcome his obstacles, then so can others.
What are your hobbies? You can do jiujitsu and boxing, or walk around with Cooper. I'm pretty boring.