Matt Oddo is the CEO and Founder of Aegis Environmental Inc. and has led his company’s success through market highs and lows.
Under his leadership, Aegis has stood the test of time for over twenty-eight years. As a business savvy entrepreneur, Matt Oddo has grown his company with precision, strength, and a positive business attitude.
As a wrestling athlete, Matt attended Auburn University. However, when the school dropped their wrestling program, he finished wrestling at Iowa State University before shifting his focus to business. Following graduation, he landed a job with the Department of Agriculture. While it proved to be an opportunity to enhance his skill sets, he did not agree with government civil service policies.
Taking control of his situation once more, Matt relocated to Chicago, where he worked under the largest abatement company in the United States. He remained in that position for a year but was recruited by a headhunter in 1990. He moved to Franklin, Tennessee, and accepted a position with Lang Engineering. There, he developed an innovative lead-based paint program. However, realizing he was underpaid and wanting to explore other professional opportunities, he decided to start his own business.
In 1994 Matt Oddo founded Aegis Environmental Inc. – an environmental contracting firm based out of Franklin, Tennessee. With decades of professional experience, Matt and his team remain trusted industry leaders.
What do you currently do at your company?
As the owner I am responsible for everything that happens in my business, good or bad. I focus mostly on financial, productivity rates and trends. I supervise all operations of each staff member that is employed here.
What was the inspiration behind going into your own business?
I have a father who believed in me. When I first started out, he loaned me $80,000 to start my business. Two years later, I am proud to say that I paid him back $240,000. So it was a nice return on his investment. Another source of inspiration comes from Rush Limbaugh’s saying “suck it up and go do it.” I do my best not to overthink certain situations. My last inspiration comes from a previous employer of mine, Gary Lang. He advised me that the current economic situation would not withstand the business and strongly advised me not to do this. In other words, it’s important to have confidence in your own decision making skills.
What are the keys to being productive that you can share?
Organization is the key to being productive. I make a list of things I want to get accomplished that day and check it off as it is completed. I stay focused and keep my priorities straight.
How do you measure success?
I measure success by longevity and repeat business. Always do what you say that you will. That is something that has been lost over the years by a great number of businesspeople, and what is the most valuable.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned through the course of your career?
If and when you make a mistake, or find yourself in a pickle, own it. We have all heard that the check is in the mail, when it is not. However, if someone explains truthfully the details of cash flow problems, for example, I want to be helpful. So, be truthful and honest. It pays off big in the long run, and sleeping is easy.
What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your industry?
Work hard. Here is something that might be of interest to you is that I never took a vacation until I was 38 years old, other than three-day weekends. I never went on any trips until I was 38 years old.
How do you maintain a work life balance?
I am a competitor. If there is a winner and a loser, I am playing. I play a lot of pickleball, I do not ever sit down if the sun is out. When the work is done, it is time to play pickleball. Pickleball was preceded by wrestling when I was teaching kids the sport. I also enjoy woodworking. Competition ties into business as well. I have always relished a good fight.
What has been the hardest obstacle for you to overcome?
I never see anything as obstacles. When there is a problem, there is always a solution.There is a solution. That is my attitude. Which can apply across the board in daily life. When there is a problem there is a solution, I will find it and execute it. It is all a matter of perspective.
Who has been a role model in your life, and why?
My father, Tom Milkovich, and the late Howard Ferguson. Also, the late Dr. Harold Nichols, Iowa State University head wrestling coach. All three of these men are and were legendary coaches.
As an entrepreneur, what has been a highlight of your career since you have opened your business?
It was the Kentucky State Office Building in Lexington, Kentucky. We entered into a $2 million abatement contract. It was an exceptionally large and high-profile job that put us on the map.
What is one piece of advice you have never forgotten?
There are times that you may have to work 80 hours in a week. Big deal. Wrestling practice was way harder than that. “The more times you put steel through fire, the harder it gets.” – Howard Ferguson.