Three male adult relatives embrace for a photo
Joe Crisafulli (center) joined by his nephews Jason Crisafulli (left) and Tony Crisafulli (right)

Joe Crisafulli has retired after 40 years in the commercial cleaning industry, the last 27 of which he spent with ATRA Janitorial Supply, Pompton Plaines, New Jersey.

ATRA was founded by two of Crisafulli’s brothers 37 years ago. The family convinced Joe — who already had experience working in distribution, running his own cleaning contracting business and working on the frontlines as a janitor in the public schools — to join them. His career at ATRA allowed him to help his brothers, and eventually their sons, grow.

“I was fresh out of college and knew very little about the cleaning industry,” says Tony Crisafulli, Joe’s nephew and current ATRA president, of his time starting at the company. “Fortunately for me, I had Joey to lead and not only teach me the technical end of selling cleaning supplies, but also the importance of developing relationships and friendships.”

Joe was instrumental in helping to grow the business from just a few family members to a two-location, 30-member company servicing all of New Jersey.

"As we grew the business and hired these fine folks, Joey took great pride ownership in ATRA and took each of our new employees under his wing," says Tony. "He taught every one of us the important skills he had learned and what it takes to be successful. Even today, he still shares his wisdom and experience."

That wisdom includes three pieces of advice that those who worked with him will always remember:
• Take pride in what you do.
• Always treat customers with respect, no matter if they are a custodian, a facility manager or a superintendent of schools.
• Always be honest because you can never earn back lost trust.

Had Joe Crisafulli lived a different life, Tony says it would have been as a teacher, “because in the end, that is exactly what his career turned out to be.”