Employee Spotlight: John Pisciotta, Senior Project Manager

SNA Displays proudly considers the concept of “people first” to be one of our core values. While our tangible product offering is top-tier LED video display technology, our real strength is the people who work at SNA Displays day in and day out, the ones who make Dreams Live Digitally® a reality. As we continue our employee spotlight series, let’s learn little more about John Pisciotta.

John has been with SNA Displays for a little less than seven years, starting as an operations manager before becoming a project manager, and eventually a senior project manager. Through these various roles, John has been involved in several large-scale, high-profile projects and shared some of his experiences managing the AT&T Discovery District with the Limelight blog. He has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Rutgers University and holds a PMP certification.

Personal Background

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Where did you grow up? Do have you any favorite childhood memories you’d like to share?

I grew up in southern New Jersey in the Philadelphia suburbs in a town called Marlton. My favorite childhood memories include summer vacations to Georgia with extended family as well as spending entire days in the woods behind our neighborhood, building forts made partially from the environment and mostly of our imagination. 

Do you have a personal motto or mantra? If so, what is it and what are its origins for you?

“Keep up, don’t catch up.” This is essentially a mantra against procrastination. I remember hearing it on my first day of engineering school orientation at Rutgers in 2008 from the dean. I try to apply this mentality to all aspects of life, which keeps me busy treating everything with a certain sense of urgency and, therefore, living life to the fullest. 

How do you like to spend your free time?

I am very into fitness and HIIT classes. I belong to a boutique gym in New York that offers high intensity classes and I participate in about 3–4 classes per week. When I’m not there, I love to play indoor volleyball with friends and in 2022 I’m working on improving my cooking and meal prep skills as a personal self-improvement goal. 

What’s a fun fact most people don’t know about you?

A fun fact about me is that I was 7 years old when the generation-1 Pokémon Gameboy games debuted and I was immediately obsessed to the point where my parents needed to restrict my play time. I own a Nintendo Switch and still routinely purchase and play the new releases.

What’s something you wish more people knew about you?

I wish more people knew that I generally prefer silence over small talk and it’s not personal if my behavior is perceived as alienating!

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Besides your job, what subject(s) are you interested in or have expertise in?

I have a large interest in learning foreign languages (I received a Spanish language minor at Rutgers), and it’s a skill I wish I practiced more.

Who’s had a significant influence on your life?

The friends I’ve made in my adult life in New York and the colleagues I’ve worked with professionally have had a profound impact on developing my worldview and exposing me to ideas, culture, food, and best practices I would have never accomplished on my own. 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?

“Excellence isn’t perfection.” This is another concise mantra that really resonated with me when my current supervisor enlightened our team during a weekly meeting. When we hold ourselves to high standards of achievement, we easily forget that all the work that we do isn’t going to be perfect on the first try. It might never be perfect, and that’s OK. 

Professional Background

What did you do professionally before joining SNA Displays?

I worked on the general management team for an immersive attraction in Times Square called The Ride. The Ride is part show, part tour-motor-coach experience with a large fleet, large staff, and complex operation that was a joy to help manage.

Experience at SNA DISPLAYS

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What drew you to SNA Displays?

SNA Displays’ specific core competency of designing and manufacturing the iconic displays that symbolize Times Square sparked my interest. I knew I wanted to live in New York from a very young age, so I may have unconsciously been drawn to this work based on that dream. 

In your own words, how would you describe your current role?

As a senior project manager, I manage and advise on the most significant and consequential projects in SNA Display’ portfolio, usually exceeding $5M. Our responsibilities include planning and executing design-build projects while monitoring and controlling their performance against our baselines (scope, schedule, budget). We are the single point of contact for our customers and work to connect our team of experts (both within the company and our team of vendors) with each other and to the right information to move projects from sale to completion.    

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What is your typical workday like?

Most of my workday is spent on video conferences with stakeholders monitoring project progress, planning next steps, resolving issues, discussing risks, and removing impediments to keep the project moving forward. When not on the phone, I’m following up on all the commitments I’ve made on previous calls and completing those tasks while following up with others to verify they’re doing the same. Occasionally I will visit our project sites if any issues or milestones come up that require it.  

How have your previous jobs been similar to working at SNA Displays? Different?

My position on the general management team at The Ride was operationally focused whereas my responsibilities at SNA Displays are project focused. Another huge difference is that previously the majority of my communication was limited to internal stakeholders. At SNA Displays, I’m responsible for communicating with and engaging stakeholders in a much wider net, including customers, project team consultants, and vendors.

What do you like most about your job?

I enjoy that the nature of my responsibilities are project-based, meaning that when the project is completed, I get to move on to the next project with new challenges that can be overcome using what I’ve learned from previous projects. Since our project are fast moving, I get to meet and work with new project teams very frequently.  

What accomplishment at SNA Displays are you most proud of? Your career overall? What is your next big accomplishment going to be?

Both in terms of my current position and my career, I’m most proud of my work on our TSX Broadway project. The project is head and shoulders above any other project we’ve completed in terms of complexity and visibility, and it has required me to grow professionally over the last three years in a way that would take some their entire career. We are about three years into the four-year project duration with many milestones already achieved and still many to go. Whatever my next great accomplishment will be, I hope it comes with fewer grey hairs and mental breakdowns! 

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How has your current role helped in your career development?

My current role has provided me an education and experience in managing difficult situations (missed deadlines, quality non-conformance, uncertainty of what next steps to take) when the stakes are high as well as working with team members to reach solutions to complex issues with many stakeholders and constraints. 

If you could switch jobs for a day with anyone else at SNA Displays, whose job would you want and why?

I’d like to switch jobs with my supervisor Anne St. Mauro for the day to experience her responsibilities and gain a better understanding of how my peers approach issues and challenges that come up on their projects and apply those solutions to mine. 

Looking to the Future

Where is SNA Displays and/or the industry headed in the next 10 years?

I think our industry is headed in the direction of more complex projects and applications using LED technology as the price of the technology continues to fall and the paradigm continues to be proven with iconic projects. SNA Displays will scale to meet the demand as it develops a team of experts prepared to deliver those projects to the highest quality standards.  

What advice would you give a prospective SNA Displays employee in your field?

You don’t need to be an LED technology expert to be successful or have a fulfilling career at SNA Displays – but we do have LED experts! Very little of my time is spent on product management. Those who have focused on project management and problem management in previous roles are well suited to succeed here since business is driven by the delivery of projects for our portfolio of clients.