TOM SESTI:
 
Tom Sesti




 
 
 
 
 
President of Bandals International Inc. in Rochester Hills. Bandals are sandals with interchangeable bands. Sesti has more than 10 years of experience in footwear and outdoor and sporting goods marketing and management. He is responsible for day-to-day management of the company along with sales and operations. Launched in 2009, Bandals was just starting out in business when the economy stagnated. Sesti then expanded Bandals sales overseas, and grew the product line to include Boot Hugs, bracelets added to boots, for year-round sales. As a result, revenue increased by 250 percent and profits tripled in 2011. Bandals has received seed capital from Hennessey Capital and TechTown's microloan fund First Step Fund. Previously, Sesti managed multiple brands and had overall profit-and-loss responsibility for the retail business unit at Excelda Manufacturing. He launched his career as a founding partner of what is now the Regal Financial Group, a multi-service financial firm based in Grand Rapids, an Inc. 5000 company. Sesti received his bachelor's degree in economics and management from Albion College and his master's degree in management and marketing from Aquinas College.


WHERE BORN: “Pontiac.”

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “My former boss, Steve Shoop, from Excelda Manufacturing in Brighton. He was the first person I worked with who let me run with my style and encouraged me to go after things the way I envisioned them. When I left to start Bandals, he was one of my first investors.”

LAST BOOK READ:Drive by Daniel Pink, and the one before that was The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly.”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Intense, loyal, and self-motivated.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: “We're excited. We're a blend between footwear and accessories and direct selling. The direct selling industry is in a growth pattern and our category in general is really growing.”

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: “I'm not the 'techiest person' you'll ever meet but I have a Powerbag, designed by FUL, Justin Timberlake's brand, made by Homedics. You plug it in, charge it up, and you can charge any electronics through this thing.”

FAVORITE PLACE: “In Michigan, Glen Arbor near Sleeping Bear Dunes.”

FAVORITE HOBBIES: “Running, reading, and camping.”

FAVORITE FOOD: “Buddy's Pizza.”

MY HIDDEN TALENT: “I have a unique and fairly useless ability to memorize lyrics. If I'm giving a speech, I'll speak into a recorder then listen to memorize it.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “As a good father, husband, son, brother, and in the business community, as someone who gave more than he took.”


At the annual awards reception in May 2015, one Leader & Innovator from the previous 12 months will be selected as the Leader & Innovator of the Year.