Editor’s Note: This October, we will celebrate our 30th class of 40 Under Forty honorees. Each week in 2022, The Business Journal of Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia will highlight one of our 2021 40 Under Forty honorees leading up to the announcement of our milestone class this fall.
Food City is ubiquitous in our region, and as a result, when many people of K-VA-T Food Stores, they think of groceries.
But as Phil DiPietro figured out 20 years ago, the job opportunities offered by the Abingdon, Virginia-based corporation extend well beyond the produce section and the cash registers. DiPietro joined the Food City team in 2002 while working on his computer science and mathematics degree at Emory & Henry College.
He started as a part-time computer technician and junior software developer, and he never left. Following his graduation from Emory & Henry, he became a full-time software developer with the company.
DiPietro said his roles at Food City have allowed him to match his skills with his prime motivation – helping others.
“Helping people has always been my passion,” DiPietro said. “I’m a technologist at heart, so the idea of helping people solve problems with the delivery of technology (is exciting).”
As the years have gone by, DiPietro has moved up the ladder at K-VA-T Food Stores and currently oversees several key team members as director of application development. He still provides software solutions, but DiPietro is now doing so on a much larger scale than he was when he joined the company.
According to Don Mascola, vice president of in-store service and information technology at K-VA-T Food Stores, DiPietro is the youngest member of the information technology leadership team, and the trust Food City has in him is evident by the weight of his responsibilities.
“He is responsible for all of the company’s programs, whether on premises or in the cloud,” Mascola wrote in DiPietro’s recommendation letter. “He has recently taken on the additional responsibility of converting our merchandising and procurement software from a home-grown system to a modern cloud-based platform.”
DiPietro counts Mascola as one of his mentors, along with Food City CEO Steve Smith and vice presidents Haskel Bledsoe and Kevin Stafford. He said all of their advice is rooted in the maxim that if you treat people right and take care of your people, they’ll take care of you.
“Always be critical of your performance, ask for feedback and don’t be afraid to make decisions with the understanding that they may be wrong from time to time, but they’ll help you learn in the long run.” DiPietro said when asked what he has learned from his mentors.
DiPietro is also involved in the Kiwanis Club of Abingdon, where he organized a golf tournament at Glenrochie Country Club during the COVID-19 pandemic to help the organization offset losses from its annual fundraiser. DiPietro’s analysis projected that the event turned an $11,000 profit.
As DiPietro and his wife Katie raise their children – Cole and Kinzley – he hopes to continue helping others through the delivery of technology while helping put Food City on a firm foundation for generations to come.
Next week we will profile Dr. Chelsie Dubay of ETSU. If you would like to nominate someone for inclusion in the 2022 class of 40 Under Forty, visit 40under.com and follow the instructions.