For this latest installment of Retail Voices, we sat down with Joe Milone, who heads up product development in our Akron, OH facility. He’s been around since OnQ’s early days, and has played a big role in helping to grow the company to what it is today.
We recently sat down with one of OnQ’s newest hires, Gus Sharrock, who joined the company to head product development in early-2021. In our conversation with Gus, we explore his early impressions of OnQ, and get a glimpse into his approach to solving complex problems for our clients at retail.
You’re pretty new to OnQ. Tell us about any first impressions of the company, your team, etc.
Self-empowerment is a big deal at OnQ. It’s not the sort of place you’ll be told you can’t accomplish fantastic things – in fact, that’s part of what attracted me to this job in the first place. I’ve been tasked with bringing together a team capable of tackling the biggest challenges at retail, during what could become the most defining year the retail industry has ever faced. To help lead that charge is an opportunity that doesn’t come along every day.
What’s your ethos, and how do you want to bring that to life at OnQ?
Make great products! That’s my purpose. I get bored if I’m not getting my hands dirty inventing, designing, creating. Throughout my career I’ve been involved in just about every aspect of design, creative, engineering and production. For me, there’s a real satisfaction when my team comes up with new ways to approach old problems – or better yet, solving problems clients don’t even realize they have. Especially now, in light of the pandemic, retailers are very open to creative approaches to help reinvigorate their retail presence after a very challenging year.
What’s one of the most difficult aspects of your job?
I love the difficult aspects of my job. When a client comes to us with murky objectives, tight budgets and sky-high expectations, we have to weave together those imperfect elements to create the perfect retail experience. The process is difficult and it isn’t always pretty, but the problem-solver in me thrives on this sort of challenge.
How can you help retailers succeed during these unusual times?
There’s no retail playbook for 2021. The greatest value we can bring our clients today is to help them “lean into” the situation. It’s our job to help brands and retailers do the absolute best they can with what they have to work with, today. Of course, we’re all committed to achieve some level of normalcy so we can go about our lives the way we used to. But retail has changed a lot in the past 12 months, and it’s bound to evolve further in the months and years ahead. In that respect, our clients will rely on us more than ever to help them navigate these uncertain times.
Any parting thoughts?
2021 is going to be an amazing year. It’s going to be challenging in lots of ways, but times like these favor those who are bold enough to lean into the challenge, take risks, and work incredibly hard to create retail experiences worthy of customers’ time and money.