Meet Berwyn’s Entrepreneurs: Tony Garritano of Berwyn Tech Entrepreneurship Center (BTEC)
Welcome to Meet Berwyn’s Entrepreneurs! Berwyn has become a hot spot for urban professionals, entrepreneurs and creatively minded individuals. From musicians to crafters, small business owners to dedicated team members, Berwyn is home to a remarkable group of movers and shakers who keep our community vibrant. This segment gives us a chance to get to know what makes our local leaders tick! Enjoy!
Meet Tony Garritano of Berwyn Tech Entrepreneurship Center (2137 Oak Park Ave), est. 2017
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Current Residence: Chicago, IL
All About Tony: My name is Anthony Garritano, I live in the Chicagoland area with my wife and two daughters. I grew up on the far south east side of the city, a blue collar community surrounded by manufacturing companies where my father worked for US Steel and Lever Brothers for over 30 years. I attended Catholic school all through high school with my younger sister. After high school, I attended the University of Illinois in Champaign, where I graduated with a Bachelors in Program and Facility Management.
After returning from college, I was ready to start something, but I wasn’t sure what that something was yet. I held jobs in the restaurant business and was an exam proctor. I proctored exams for individuials that worked in the manufacturing industry, specifically at the Ford Motor Company. After sometime doing this, I grew more curious about those individuals taking the exams and the type of job readiness they received to move within their industry. My career transitioned to working in job readiness prep and helping employers find employees in the least likely industries.
Over the past 15 years, I was able to develop my craft and begin to understand the complexities involved with career development skills training and life-sustaining employment. It was a wild ride of ups, downs, successes and failures. In the end, I was able to take a great wealth of knowledge from those experiences, which has helped prepare me for new stages of my own career development.
The Business Side: At the start of 2012, long-time colleagues of mine opened up a management consulting company, XD Technology Industry. XD Tech is a venture capital firm offering entrepreneurs, languishing companies and not-for-profits data, innovative options, marketing, branding and business plan support.
In 2016, when we identified that there was need to expand our services to Berwyn, I was able to assist in the design and development of Berwyn Tech Entrepreneurship Center (BTEC). BTEC is a “gym for business growth” that aims to be a hub for providing support services from technical assistance to mentor-ship at any phase of a business’s life cycle including pre-start, start-up, growth or transition. At its core, BTEC aims to be a diverse community center founded on connecting entrepreneurs to formal educational resources and experienced advisers as well as to tapping into peer networks for both learning and camaraderie. In a phrase, we “expose, educate, employ and empower” our clients to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and to innovate together. Expect to see the team working with students who want to learn more about business, with newcomers looking to test their ideas and with companies looking for reinvention. This all happens in a 6,000 square foot building that offers 10 offices along with meditation and media rooms.
In 2018, my business partners and I are positioned with the business community in Berwyn to support the local economy and foster the next generation of social entrepreneurs. We are combining our knowledge of job readiness, manufacturing and job placement with the growing need for more individuals in the tech, marketing and media industry.
Describe yourself in three words.
Innovative: I like thinking outside the box to help solve problems.
Easy-going: I’m reflective. I like to think through things before I respond to any situation.
Dedicated: I’m dedicated to my business, dedicated to my team members, dedicated to my family and dedicated to myself, knowing that if I put forth my best effort’s, I will surely be able to achieve my goals in life.
What inspires you?
My father is a great inspiration of mine. He worked in the manufacturing industry for over 30 years and truly was a reflection of hard work and dedication. He also made sure to always put family first. I remember working with him around the house while listening to bands like the Beatles. His hard work really rubbed off on me!
Tell us something people might not know about you
While in college I managed to stay on the straight and narrow because I didn’t get a chance to have too much of a social life. I worked the 3rd shift at a local grocery store, so I got to see all of the party goers at 1am making their way to my store to cause havoc. I could tell so many stories about the people that walked in. Also, as a father to two sweet girls under 5, I could probably belt out the full theme song to Moana or Frozen at the drop of a hat.
Which person from history would you most like to meet?
Jerry Garcia, the founder and leader of the Grateful Dead. His music reminds me a lot of the music I listened to with my dad while growing up, which brings back some pretty awesome memories.
What do you consider mankind’s greatest invention?
One of mankind’s greatest inventions is the plastic portable baby gate! A simple and beautiful invention that keeps young kids safely contained so they don’t roam all over the house. I have two daughters, ages 2 and 4 and this invention has provided me with peace of mind, not to mention important personal time knowing that they can’t venture off to cause trouble.
Which place would you most like to visit and why?
I am very interested in having the opportunity one day to visit the French-Italian Rivera—seeing the beauty of Cannes and Nice, then traveling to Monaco and into Italy’s Tuscany region. I have to connect with my Italian roots, so why not choose one of the most beautiful places in the world!
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Tony is bring years of program management experience and employer services to engage the youth of the Berwyn community at the Berwyn Tech Entrepreneurship Center. They’e rolling out a Youth Earn-and-Learn Tech & Digital manufacturing bridge. The program will include internships and full time job placement. Visit BTEC’s Facebook page or contact Tony for more information!