Right man for the job
WATERLOO, Iowa – Mike Mallaro knows that one of his biggest responsibilities as CEO of The VGM Group will be maintaining late founder Van Miller’s legacy.
“Will things change? Sure, they have to, to adjust to the marketplace,” said Mallaro, who was unanimously appointed to his new role by VGM’s board of directors in February. “But it’s not like all of a sudden, we have a different CEO and we’re going to be a different company. Van set us on the right course and I plan to stay on that course.”
Here’s what Mallaro said about his tenure at VGM so far and what’s in store not only for the company but also the HME industry.
HME News: Looking back at your 15 years as CFO of VGM—what stands out as your biggest accomplishment?
Mike Mallaro: I’ve been part of a lot of success and growth. There were 250 employees when I started, and 850 employees now. Most of that growth was what I call building out our platform to add value to our members and partners. If you look at what we were in 2001, we were a membership group. What we’ve done is make those services more significant and more robust with things like CPAP fulfillment, digital marketing support and contracts through Homelink.
HME: You were also involved in VGM’s transition to an employee stock ownership plan or ESOP in 2008.
Mallaro: That was a real inflection point for the company. It changed the dynamic of how all of our associates saw their role, and we sort of grew and became more successful after that.
HME: What’s the biggest thing you learned working alongside Van for so many years?
Mallaro: It’s all about the people. You’ve got to get the right people and create the right environment for those people. If you do that, you’re going to be in pretty good shape.
HME: What do you hope to accomplish in your new role?
Mallaro: We have significant business in the golf and restaurant segments, and will continue to expand and put resources into those. We also have business outside of HME in other post-acute care businesses, areas like rehab physical therapy and long-term care. I think you’ll see us pushing harder into those segments.
HME: You’ve always been a cheerleader of the HME industry. Despite everything that’s going on, how do you remain so positive?
Mallaro: I’ve always been really bullish on this industry. I know reimbursement has been tough, especially over the past seven or eight years, and the audit and regulatory environment is crazy, but the unit volume continues to grow significantly. There are few places in the economy where you see this kind of unit volume increase. When you look forward—with all the aging and health problems and the push to get people out of hospitals—all those factors line up so beautifully for HME. The HME space is going to get significantly bigger than it is today.