DITEK - A Legacy of Family, Philanthropy and Industry-Leading Products
During the thirty years I led DITEK as founder and CEO, three guiding principles defined our company. First, treat each employee with respect. Second, only build the highest quality products. And third, never stop giving to your local community.
In addition to building a successful business our employees love, we’ve had the privilege of working with extraordinary charities in the Tampa Bay area. We've helped build schools, fund scholarships, and protect the families of first responders.
And to think, it all started at a Super Bowl party over forty years ago.
Long before DITEK was founded, I was in my late twenties traveling around the United States in the sporting goods industry. At a Super Bowl party in the late 1970s, I met an entrepreneur who was making surge protectors in his garage. The technology wasn't as sophisticated as what we make today, of course, but I was intrigued. He understood manufacturing and I knew sales, so it was a natural connection. We worked together to turn his garage operation into a nice business.
Taking the leap of ownership
After working together for ten years, my friend sadly passed away. His company experienced production issues, leaving customers frustrated and waiting for delivery. So, I decided to start manufacturing surge protectors myself in Tampa Bay, my own backyard. I was 40 years old and started with only three employees. It grew from there.
Creating a family legacy
When DITEK began I was still single and had no idea how much of a family business it would become. I met my future wife, Joanne, through business connections. She was vice president at a large company that supplied some of our components. Together we grew DITEK into what it is today, with just under 100 employees.
Having built DITEK with a strong foundation, Joanne and I are thrilled to pass along the legacy to our daughters Wendy Gattis (CEO) and Melissa Lostraglio (VP of Administration) to manage daily operations. Plus, both of our sons-in-law work for DITEK. They're all doing a great job.
Every job is equal
DITEK has been voted by our employees as one of the top companies to work for in the Tampa Bay region for 13 years running. Everybody is treated with respect here—no exceptions!
The best part is that we’re the only manufacturer to make the list every year. DITEK is just a great place to work. I know every person's name and their kids because I care about each of them. We provided health insurance for our employees before we could afford it; and I’m proud to say we have employees from literally all over the world.
Staying connected to the community.
Another tremendous benefit of leading DITEK are the doors it has opened for us to invest in the children and families of our community. I’ve learned from some generous and humble business leaders that it’s the act of giving that is important. Sometimes small businesses can be intimidated by gifts from large corporations. Always remember it’s your gift, it’s your passion… it’s the giving that is important. Become part of your community and give what you can. A small business you can influence a community just as much as a major corporation.
Always give what you can
There are many charities we have been honored to help support such as The Pinellas Education Foundation - the number one public education foundation in the country, honoring our students, our teachers and the support staff. Gold Shield Foundation - which provides scholarships for the children and surviving spouses of police officers or fire fighters killed in the line of duty, as well as many other education related programs in our home state of Florida.
In addition to giving back to our community, I want DITEK to be an example for other businesses so that they recognize how important it is to look beyond spreadsheets, reports, and invoices. DITEK is testimony to what happens when you all share the same goal of making your community stronger.