Meet Michael Maggiacomo, President & CEO, Alerion Corporation
Interviewer: Your Company’s banner said that ‘…Alerion is a progressive healthcare company whose management team has been committed to the health and wellness for people of all ages for more than twenty years.’ Can you tell us a little about yourself and how the company was started?
Mr. Maggiacomo: ‘For a good part of my early business career I was in commercial banking. I did lending, policy, management, due-diligence – that kind of stuff. I was also involved in the development of some of the policies a few banks used to determine how to lend money to healthcare and institutional companies and other specialty industries. (Charities, schools, insurance companies, non-profits, construction, and some other specialty industries…)’
Interviewer: Wasit primarily businesses like Alerion?
Mr. Maggiacomo: ‘No, actually I was really a generalist and did all kinds of things. But the pattern was the same – I was always analyzing businesses and coming up with new ways to slice and dice things. I even worked with the ski industry! Very different from Alerion…’
Interviewer: So how was Alerion born?
Mr. Maggiacomo: ‘I was always pretty philanthropic. Not just simply donating money. I was on a number of non-profit boards even at a pretty young age. My skillset for management and business was useful for those types of entities and I loved helping people so it was great. My focus was (and still is) helping people during the pivot-points in their life (childhood, college-age, elder care issues, and needs of people with handicaps).
I was involved with a couple of entities that had retirement facilities and did fantastic residential programs. The only problem was that they were extremely expensive for most people to afford.
I was also involved with an entity that coordinated home care services for the state. It was a great organization, and was subsidized by the state for elders who could not pay for services. The only problem was that it was really designed as a triage to provide care for as many people as we could.’
‘So, ultimately, we developed Alerion as the middle-class alternative to those two ends of the spectrum. We designed our own progressive programs so they could be delivered to people in their homes. Clients had to pay for services out of pocket, but it still worked great because it was less costly than a residential facility but offered much more than state and federal subsidized programs; and even more than many other private pay programs out there.’
Interviewer: How is Alerion different from other home care companies or home health agencies?
Mr. Maggiacomo: ‘While we sometimes intersect with both the medical and non-medical home care companies in terms of services, we consider ourselves to be a lifestyle brand and a wellness company. Alerion operates on an adage that many in the medical profession have long known…it’s easier to treat a patient before they get sick!’
‘Our home and wellness services are much more activities based.’
Mr. Maggiacomo smiles and adds, ‘…don’t panic – we’re not all crunchy granola. Nor are we sitting and meditating all day long! This is Greatest Generation, common sense type stuff. Nothing too froufrou… Just focusing on what works for the people we serve.’
Interviewer: I also noticed that the holding company, for which you are CEO, has other business holdings. Is Alerion involved in other businesses?
‘Yes that’s true. The holding company, Alerion Corporation, has other holdings along three primary business functions; one being healthcare and wellness, the second being consulting, and the third being real estate and hospitality services. There are different corporate entities but they all pretty-much fall under those three functional areas.
Interviewer: Why did you decide to franchise the Alerion Home Care & Wellness model?
Mr. Maggiacomo: ‘We simply were not able to grow fast enough to keep up with demand. We needed a way to spread the model quickly and effectively to help as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. Franchising was the solution to that dilemma.’
There are many gifted entrepreneurs out there searching for a meaningful business to be associated with but they lack certain tools to put it all together. Alerion’s gift is assembly and focus. We have well-conceived programs and services and an established infrastructure. If you combine those ingredients (a skilled and motivated entrepreneur with Alerion’s skill at assembly and focus) and you have the recipe to a successful business.
Interviewer: What are the attributes of an ideal Alerion franchisee?
Mr. Maggiacomo: ‘They need to share our fundamental pedagogy – We don’t just work for a paycheck – we work for a purpose. We are constantly trying to improve ourselves. Through our personal development, we learn things that can benefit the people we serve. Our personal life is connected to our work life.
Alerion colleagues share a core set of beliefs that make up the foundation of our corporate culture. You will notice the following common attributes: (1) We are driven, but warm, congenial, and professional; (2) We are results- oriented; (3) We focus on our strengths – not our weaknesses; (4) We are flexible.
Interviewer: Any last words of advice for anyone thinking of taking the plunge into franchising, or I suppose the world of entrepreneurism in general?
Mr. Maggiacomo: ‘Sure…’ he smiles, ‘…a word of welcome and a warning: It’s not safe out there – it’s wondrous; It offers the potential to satisfy both personal and professional goals. But it’s not for the timid.’