The Story of Louie Cacchioli

I met a guy last week. An inspiring young man. A motivated and responsive employee. His name was Louie Cacchioli.

Louie is pictured above in his New York City fireman’s gear. He was a NYC fireman at 9/11 and yes, he was in the tower and saved people’s lives. And he almost died doing it. But I did not know that when I first met him. And he did not know me. Here is the story.

Our company recently exhibited at a medical conference in Philadelphia.  It is an event attended by thousands of nurses each year – as they go to workshops and learn about the latest trends, tools and opportunities to improve their operation. Our new product, WoundwiseIQ, is an imaging analytics tool that helps more quickly and effective analyzed the healing progress of a chronic wound. So, we were excited! There was an opportunity to meet many new potential customers and show them what we can do to help improve their wound healing results. We prepared prior to the event to improve our product and our demo (and my demo ability!) so we could handle the flow and the questions and activity.

I arrived at the exhibit hall mid-morning; the show did not start until 5pm. I found my booth location and started unpacking. When I opened our backdrop exhibit display, guess what I found? One of my panels was mangled in shipment! Completely mangled. Wrinkled to the point that it would not even flatten out. I was on the ground on my hands and knees pressing the panel to the floor and trying to smooth it out with my body weight. All of a sudden, I heard the screeching sound of golf cart brakes. A voice yelled out to me ‘Can I help you?!’

He yelled again from the cart as I looked up. ‘Do you need some help with that?’

I said, ‘Yeah sure that would be great, what do you think we can do?’ He said ‘My name is Louie. If you trust me, I will take the panel in the back with the guys and we will try to flatten it out.’ He had a lot of co-worker fellows who were installing carpet, electrical, and other items to help get the exhibit hall ready to go. So I gave him the mangled panel and thanked him so much for simply stopping by to help, and to do what he can! So off he went.

About 20 minutes later, Louie comes back with one of his colleagues. The panel looked much better, but I still was thinking in my mind whether I could even get it to stay up on the backdrop. Louie did not just let it stop there. He said, ‘Can we help you put that panel up?’ (Is that a great, customer-driven employee?! He read his customer’s mind and understood his customer’s concerns before the customer even expressed it.)

Louie and his colleague proceeded to help me put my booth together for the next 30 minutes. Now there were probably one hundred exhibitors. But they stayed with me, like we all would want our customer service employees to stay with our customers when they need us. And in the end – the booth looked sharp. Real sharp.

I was so amazed by Louie and his passion to help me when I did not even ask for it, that I went over to the service desk on the other end of the hall and said ‘Can I talk with Louie’s boss?’  I think they were expecting me to complain – that something was not done right, or something did not arrive.  But instead I said, ‘I would like to put in a good word for Louie and his team. Do you know how much of an awesome valued employee you have in Louie?’ I explained the story. The people at the desk smiled and said, ‘Absolutely! We will get the word to Louie’s boss!’

“Troops properly inspired, and animated by a just confidence in their leader, will often exceed expectations or the limits of probability.”

John Hancock
(addressing General Washington after their victory at the Battle of Trenton)

I was at my booth an hour later putting  the final touches together on our technology, and was getting ready to go over to the hotel to check in. So I look up and there he was again. Louie, in his golf cart smiling. I walked over. He said, ‘You didn’t have to do that. But I wanted you to know that I appreciate it very much. And I want to do a favor for you Gary. I am going to make your day.’ He pulls the picture at the top of this article out of his backpack, and signs it. ‘Dear Gary, God Bless. Louie Cacchioli.’ He tells me his story of 9/11 – how after saving a group of people, he was eventually buried in the rubble of the 2nd tower falling. His friends dug him out and saved him. It changed his life.

I told him my story of 9/11, and how I came in and was on the ground days after it happened, to help my CIO customers get their data center power going again – major corporations (NYSE and others) on Manhattan. I was president of a 600-person technology services company, but that changed to 599 when we tragically lost one of our employees in the first tower. As a tribute to our associate, we erected a monument and flag at our headquarters in Columbus Ohio and invited his family out – it still stands there today.

Louie and I could have talked for a long time – we shook hands and expressed hope that we would meet again.

So this blog is a dedication to my new friend Louie Cacchioli. A great young man. A dedicated customer-driven employee for his company. A hero who clearly dedicates his life to helping and inspiring other people.

As we think about our country and celebrate everything that our country stands for, we should similarly think about our company and everything that it stands for. Louie made me think about the values of my healthcare startup company. And you know what we did – we worked as a team this past week to refresh our company values. What do you think:


WE ARE RESPONSIVE. We listen and learn. We have a sense of urgency. We are hands-on. We do this because of our deep desire to make our customers raving fans.

WE BUILD INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS. We create technology that improves operations and provides valuable information and hope – to patients and those who care for them.

WE BUILD RELATIONSHIPS. We want to win and push hard, but we are also humble. It takes a team, including our customers and partners, to achieve true success.


The Bottom Line

The bottom line is this: If you as a leader can inspire your people and bring out their personal passion and desire – customers will notice and want to engage more, and that can help take your business all the way to the top!


Ready to explore your potential? 

  1. 1-on-1 Coaching: Gary has implemented the ideas above successfully with his own teams, and he is actively refining them today with his CEO coaching customers. Can we help you implement positive results in your company? Contact Gary directly:
  2. Learn at your own pace: Join The Growth Cube Academy – a training school for small business CEOs that includes 20-minute video workshops conducted by Gary that you can listen to at your leisure, and focus in on specific topics.
  3. Think – Order Gary’s book, The Growth Cube, or join Gary’s newsletter and stay up-to-date with new successful models and tools!
  4. Learn more about how Gary is applying these principles real-time in his startup company. Go to and sign up to see a demo or invest in Gary’s AI and imaging analytics software products that help improve patient wound healing.