Five years ago, Charlie Pasquariello was working in the Boston area for water solution technology firm Watts when he was asked to relocate to Fort Myers: the company asked him to serve as senior product manager for the company’s HF scientific business unit. He took the leap and things have been flowing ever since.
“It ended up being a great opportunity for me,” he says. “It was a great career decision and a great personal one as well.”
HF scientific develops instruments that help produce clean drinking water for municipalities, marine ballast water systems to help keep oceans clean and water management solutions for health care settings. “[The job] can be very stressful, technically challenging and commercially challenging at times,” he says. “But I think what motivates me is the fact that I truly believe in the mission of the company, in the products we’re producing and the fact that it’s making people’s lives better.”
Pasquariello often reflects on past decisions to assess if he could have done anything better. “You always need to be focused on continuous improvement, on learning from your mistakes,” he says. “Can I be one percent better today than I was yesterday? What I can learn from what just happened, whether positive or negative? What worked really well, and what didn’t work so well?”
He sees that ability for self-reflection as an offshoot of his 20-year practice of martial arts. “You put hours and hours into dedicating yourself to learning a skill, and it can’t help but bleed into other areas of your life,” he says.
Nick Ganzon, his supervisor and vice president of Watts’ Water Quality Platform, is an important mentor, teaching Pasquariello about everything from business strategy to how to present information effectively. They have different styles — “he tends to be more conservative, and I’m not opposed to taking a big risk if I feel that it’s justified,” Pasquariello says — but learning to navigate those differences has also proved helpful in Pasquariello’s day-to-day work, where he has to consider input from electrical engineers, software technicians and other scientists on staff.
“You want to make sure you’re attacking a problem from all angles and you’re gathering all perspectives,” he says. “The challenges we have are very technical, and everyone is a subject matter expert at what they do. What I need to be able to do in my position is not only figure out what work bests for our engineers, but what do our customers want and what is going to help solve a problem in their lives. And then I need to tie that together with the company’s goals and objectives.”
Pasquariello has a long-term goal of becoming the CEO of his own company, and his relocation led to a rental-property side hustle when he decided not to sell his Boston-area home. “It’s like a hobby that pays me,” he says. “My favorite game as a kid was Monopoly.”
City of Residence: Fort Myers
Employer: Watts Water Technologies (HF scientific Business Unit)
Title: Senior product manager
Birthplace: Rhode Island
Years in the area: Five
Marital Status/children: Free
Alma mater/degree: WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)/B.S. in management engineering
What community group or organization are you most involved with? Li Family Martial Arts Association (traditional kung fu school based in Arlington, Texas). I was an instructor in Boston’s Chinatown for several years prior to moving to Southwest Florida. I still teach private lessons and small group sessions.
Are you working from the company office, home office or hybrid? Hybrid
What's the weirdest job you've ever had? Or the weirdest task you've ever been assigned? I landscaped for a number of years starting when I was eight. In high school, I was working with some of my cousins on a job site at one of the mansions in Newport, Rhode Island.
What's your top tip for being productive? If it can be done right now, do it! If it can’t be done immediately, then list out the things you need and start crossing them off the list until the task is completed. Breaking down large obstacles into smaller ones creates traction. Be 1% better every day!
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? Relocating to Florida for work several years ago presented me with an opportunity to rent out my house in the Boston area. I then discovered that investing in rental properties (though challenging) can be a fun and rewarding side hustle!
What's your favorite off-hours activity? Gym, reading, martial arts practice, shooting range and going to the beach for the most part. In the past year I also became SCUBA certified and began taking high-risk executive protection (bodyguarding) courses for fun.
What's the most significant item on your life bucket list — and what's keeping you from completing it? CEO of my own company – working on it!
What's your favorite podcast? “Bigger Pockets” for real estate investment advice and I occasionally listen to different podcasts relating to Buddhism, Taoism and Stoicism.
At what percentage on your phone do you start to get Low Battery Anxiety? Never. I routinely shut it off for several hours a day, and dislike all forms of social media.
What are the top three apps used on your smartphone? GPS, Pandora and email (boring, I know)
What books are you reading now? Winning Now, Winning Later by David Cote (former CEO of Honeywell), No Ego by Cy Wakeman (Consultant to Fortune 500 companies) and The Essential Rumi (translation by Coleman Barks)
What's your go-to music genre, band or act to be inspired? Rap and EDM
Who would play you in the movie of your life? Good question … maybe Timothee Chalamet if he shaved his head and hit the gym for a few months?
Where is your happy place? It’s a state of mind. Any time or place I’m practicing seated, standing or active meditation … or drinking tequila.
Describe yourself in three words: Fearless, driven, compassionate
Who is your mentor for your career and why? Nick Ganzon. My supervisor and vice president of the Water Quality Platform. We are part of a global corporation, and our jobs tend to be highly technical and commercially challenging.
What are the biggest lessons you have learned from your mentor? I’ve learned a lot (directly and indirectly) by working closely with Nick over the years. I’ve benefited immensely from being privy to the questions he asks, how he structures a presentation, the way he presents information to executive leadership, and the way he (ahem) motivates others — all meant to provoke thought and ensure that we execute on our business strategy. Nick and I have very different styles, and we don’t always agree, but I’ve learned that as long as we are directionally aligned and there’s a certain amount of trust and support on both sides, we can move the needle on this business. Results speak for themselves: built a brand new facility in Fort Myers, six major product releases, double-digit growth every year, etc.