Dennis D. Cirucci (pronounced “Suh-roochy”) launched a stellar banking career in the unlikeliest of places.
Long before he was attending power-dinners “at the Fed” with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and commandeering one of suburban Philadelphia’s powerhouse community banking institutions, he was sweeping floors in a grease-soaked gas station.
In trademark Cirucci style, he soon became the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s youngest certified state inspection mechanic, at the age of 17. He had already opened his first charge account at the age of 16, in a glimmer of the accounting and investment aficionado to come.
Those oil-stained coveralls are a far cry from the crisply starched, dazzling-white dress shirts and silk ties he dons today as the President and CEO of Alliance Bank headquartered in Broomall, Delaware County. But his savings savvy and “won’t quit” work ethic were in evidence, whether he was diagnosing a Ford that wouldn’t start, or a budding start-up company in search of a financial “fill-er up.”
Raised among three generations in a close-knit Italian household, Cirucci today is a straight-talking banker, CPA and community activist who is not afraid to get his hands dirty and to take on the big guys to fight for the future of neighborhood banks. Even as a teen in a steamy garage, he knew the value of checking under the hood for problems, replacing broken parts, and taking preventative measures to keep engines running on all cylinders.
Even in the fabulous 1950’s, it was clear Dennis was going places.
He attributes that action-oriented, high-achiever streak to the influence of his father, Robert, and his beloved maternal grandfather, Dominic Piccione, who was born in 1898, the turbulent year of the Spanish-American War.
Dominic’s father died when he was young and his mother was blinded by glaucoma, so Dominic was forced to quit school after the third grade to provide for his family. He worked without interruption or indolence from the age of 11 to 66, performing an assortment of odd jobs, from picking up soda bottles and performing manual labor until he found a full time job at a box factory in Philadelphia, where he began to save and build his nest egg. At nineteen years of age, while driving his Indian motorcycle to work, he was run over by a delivery truck and suffered compound fractures in both legs. In the hospital for weeks, Dominic’s doctor noticed his legs were not healing properly and had two large orderlies hold Dominic down while he re-fractured both legs and reset them. He never told the story to anyone. Instead, his wife Elonora (Dennis’s grandmother) told Dennis in detail what happened. The box factory would later relocate to a huge new two block long facility in New Jersey. Dennis could always remember his grandfather‘s limp which became worse as the day wore on. However, he never let the injury or daily pain define him. He went on to become the box factory manager, running the entire operation which covered two city blocks in length–which Dominic walked end to end several times a day. On weekends, he would be called in for production issues and he would take his young grandson with him for company. When he retired after 49 years of running the factory, the company had to hire three men to replace him.
Ironically, Dennis’s father, Robert, also started as a machine feeder in a different box factory. Robert worked his way up to packaging engineer, designing all types of boxes. He also would be called back to work to solve production problems and would take young Dennis along on weekends, teaching him box design basics. Dennis loved model trains and watched with pride as his father designed all types boxes and packaging for Lionel Trains Corporation.
Dennis credits his determination and work ethic from watching his father and grandfather work hard, never taking sick days, and never complaining.
Read the full article in October’s issue of Transactions. Aren’t a subscriber? Visit the Transactions page on this website or call PACB at 717-231-7447 to start receiving the magazine.