Long boasting a love of math and science, Bob Lamendola has an analytical mind. That doesn’t mean a fear of the unknown won’t rear its head on occasion.
Lamendola has encountered his share of crossroads during a 36-year career spent largely in information technology, some of which tested his mettle. He’d been working in corporate IT for 15 years when his organization was acquired by a competitor, which asked him to join the new team. Lamendola opted to create his own consulting company; his first client was none other than the firm that had acquired his former employer.
But the biggest leap of faith for Lamendola was the opportunity to have his consulting firm acquired by a small managed IT services provider. And while Lamendola didn’t consider himself risk-averse, he did have a young and growing family to consider, making the proposition somewhat of a gamble.
Moving forward with the deal reaffirmed Lamendola’s confidence in paving a bold future. “This was a turning point in my career, as I realized that I owned my destiny and that I should never be afraid to take a chance when I believe in the decision,” said Lamendola, a 2022 ENX Magazine Difference Maker. “From that day forward, I never looked back.”
Lamendola continues that philosophy in his role as senior vice president, technology and head of the Digital Services Center for Ricoh North America. In order to reinforce a culture of excellence, he believes it’s imperative to empower team members to share ideas, take risks, “fail fast” and value his teammates and their contributions.
“My approach to business is transparency,” he said. “I believe if you are an authentic, sincere and humble leader, you’ll create a productive environment where positive outcomes are achieved.”
The holder of a BS in computer and information science from Bloomsburg University, Lamendola has long been intrigued by the world of IT; even earlier, he pounced on the chance to join his high school’s fledgling computer science curriculum. He’s grown with the technology, and during his 15-year tour with Ricoh, Lamendola’s titles reflected the more nuanced aspects of IT discipline. And while problem-solving truly speaks to his sweet spot, the reward comes with facilitating personal growth in others.
“One of the most rewarding parts of my job is having the ability to make an impact on an individual’s life, at work, or in the community,” he said. “I enjoy encouraging IT leaders and team members to actively participate in business strategy, portfolio development and innovative solutions. There is nothing more rewarding than rallying together as a team to make an impact.”
Lamendola himself benefitted from influential leaders from his formative years, including Ron Ostertag (the former CEO of General Semiconductor, Lamendola’s first employer) and Mona Abutaleb (former COO at mindSHIFT and Ricoh EVP). “As a young leader, I learned how important the development of a positive inclusive culture can have on results, which is something that Ron taught me,” he said. “When the culture is right, success can occur. Mona taught me how to show compassion, while still being a strong and determined leader. My leadership style is a reflection of many attributes that I’ve learned from both of these very successful business leaders.”
One of the crowning 2021 achievements for both Lamendola and Ricoh was the creation of the Digital Services Center (DSC), tasked with carving out a new digital services portfolio and spearheading the company’s digital transformation. The DSC resulted from the collaboration of various technical and engineering teams spread across the organization, and Lamendola believes the project has been a rousing success thus far, underscoring Ricoh’s culture of innovation with a focus on agility.
Another key behind the DSC’s success is the creation of a customer co-innovation team dedicated to collaborating with Ricoh’s strategic sales and account-based marketing teams to generate new opportunities for clients. “Collaboratively, we are working together, to create new value for our customers, using a bespoke approach to address specific customer problems within the focus industries that we’ve chosen as part of our business plan,” Lamendola added. “It’s exciting, it’s new and it’s starting to uncover great opportunities.”
As 2022 draws toward a conclusion, Lamendola will continue to seek ways to deliver value to clients through digital services. He believes Ricoh has the potential to create considerable business value for customers. Building upon past successes will entail ensuring the next generation of Ricoh professionals can leverage a positive and mutually rewarding environment that fosters further growth.
“The competition for talent will continue to be fierce, so I am putting pressure on myself to be creative, open-minded and inclusive in everything that we do regarding retaining and acquiring talent,” he added.
Lamendola and his wife of 36 years, Paula, have two children—a daughter who works for RepresentWomen in Washington, D.C., as a research director; and a son who works as a cybersecurity analyst for Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. In addition to spending time at the beach, he enjoys water sports, working out at the gym and watching his beloved New York sports teams.