Meet Donato Enterprises
CHRIS COLUMBUS DONATO
CEO and Founder
“The name of our company is Donato Enterprises. I put my name up front, because I know that the work we do is good. I’ll put my name on everything we do, because I will stand behind it.” — Chris Donato
Donato Enterprises’ success is rooted in a firm foundation: Its founder’s clear-eyed concept of business excellence, commitment to integrity, and vision for continual improvement.
When Chris Donato left his job at Xerox Corporation in 1996 to found the company that bears his name, he had an unshakeable commitment to building a firm that reflected his personal ideals. Consequently, dedication to hard work, absolute integrity in all business dealings, and a desire to excel in all areas are the hallmarks of both the man and the company he founded.
Chris established Donato Enterprises after an outstanding prior career as an Account Representative for Xerox Corporation. At his hiring, he was the only one in a group of 25 new hires to join the firm without a college degree; nonetheless, he rapidly established himself as a leader, rising to the #2 ranking in his district within his first year. By 1992, he had assumed stewardship of leading accounts such as Chrysler, K-Mart, and Blue Cross, establishing himself as the company’s #1 salesman nationwide.
After initially establishing Donato Enterprises as a sales enterprise, Chris quickly recognized the need for an inspection, sorting, and quality assurance company that could provide a significantly higher standard of service to major manufacturing firms. Chris developed proprietary inspection and containment processes that significantly improved the efficacy of sorting activities, creating the framework for Donato Enterprises’ outstanding performance: The company sorts with a 99.965% effectiveness rate, compared to the industry standard of 87%.
Born into a blue-collar background, Christopher Columbus Donato was the son of an auto body service technician and GM assembly worker father and an office manager mother. Spending his formative years in Warren, Michigan, Chris learned the value of integrity and commitment to excellence from his hard-working parents. The family later moved to Richmond, Michigan, where he graduated from Richmond High School. Chris still credits his father with much of the wisdom that led to his success: “My father had only a seventh grade education, but he would master everything he tried,” he says. “I learned a lot from him about the value of a hard work ethic. It’s the way I was raised, and it’s the way I am raising my kids.” Chris and his wife Pam, Donato Enterprises’ Vice President, are the proud parents of three sons, all of whom work in the family business.
Chris and Pam have remained active in community organizations, working with the Autism Society and the Richmond High School Band, spearheading a drive to acquire new band uniforms – the group’s first new uniforms in four decades. In his limited time away from work, Chris enjoys boating, water skiing and snow skiing. His primary focus, however, remains his family and his business—his drive to make Donato Enterprises the best it can be remains as strong as ever. “I try to plan to make sure that things are done right,” Chris says. “It’s about the thought pattern, about how we do things – making sure the processes are bullet proof and that we make sure that things are always done right.”
PAMELA A. DONATO
Pamela Donato, Donato Enterprises’ Vice President, was born in Detroit to a GM assembly line worker father and a stay at home mother. She was raised in Carleton, Michigan where she learned small town values and a strong work ethic. Pam graduated from Airport High School with honors before attending Monroe County Community College for two years. She then transferred to the University of Michigan to pursue a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology, earning her degree in 1989. During and immediately following college she worked in a title company then as an administrative assistant to an insurance agency.
Pam married Chris Donato in 1994 and they started a family right away: They had three boys within five years. Meanwhile, she helped to start the sorting and quality inspection business with Chris in 1996. Among her initial duties, she sorted and packaged parts, conducted kit assembly, and worked in assembly, inventory control, and quality control. In the company’s early stages, she was the only member of office personnel, handling customer support, scheduling, accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, and human resources. She helped to set up containment activities at customer locations, developed Control Plans, FEMAs and PPAP’s and helped institute ISO Quality Standards.
As the business has grown, Pam has settled into the Accounting Department and supervises an office staff of five while maintaining involvement with all aspects of the business. She currently helps to set policy, performs employee reviews, handles all accounts payable, oversees the human resources activities, and supports customers by organizing out sort inspection activities.