The head of Farmingdale-based Lorraine Gregory Corp. is an ex-cop with a big heart, and he’s become a pillar of strength in the Long Island community.
Greg Demetriou is always out and about, networking and reconnecting at a tireless pace — and continuously looking for new ways to help. He’s built a niche for himself in the nonprofit world, in particular, as the go-to guy for its ever changing marketing and communications needs. He hits the gym at a ridiculous hour, then blasts into the work day, which includes sitting on a few boards and supporting a myriad of charities. And yet, despite the crazy schedule, he somehow still manages to walk away with the National Father of the Year Award. Here’s Greg…
FMC: Why do you do what you do?
GD: Necessity is the mother of invention, or in my case, a reinvention. I could not find a job. Lorraine and I took the chance and bought a small company so I could have a job. I am still doing it, but now it is because I love my job. Having seen the company grow so dramatically over the years, struggle through the recession and be able to regain a solid footing is very satisfying when I think I had a hand in that.
I learned more by observing my father than anything else in my life
FMC: When you were 5 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up, and why?
GD: I’m lucky I remember what I had for lunch. Remembering five years old is just out of the question. Next!
FMC: What is your greatest life accomplishment?
GD: That’s impossible to answer in short form. Some really good milestones though are becoming a New York City Detective — something I wanted from my teenage years — helping my brother build his business, and growing and running my company for 25 years. That was an important goal, making it to 25.
FMC: What’s your guilty pleasure?
GD: Gambling. On our infrequent casino visits I only spectate at the tables. I have become a slots player to stay safe.
FMC: What gives you hope for the future?
GD: My faith. The sun will come out tomorrow.
FMC: What’s your idea of happiness?
GD: Having my kids and grandkids around me. It is the best and when I feel the most complete.
FMC: Coke or Pepsi?
GD: Either, but diet and caffeine free.
FMC: What mistake did you make that turned out to be your best learning experience?
GD: I took my eye off cash flow and it nearly killed the business. I won’t do that again.
FMC: Who was the most influential person in your life?
GD: My Father. With only an eighth grade education he was a master at making us a family. He was a man’s man with a heart of gold. I learned more by observing him than anything else in my life.
FMC: Favorite restaurant?
GD: Ciro’s in Hauppauge. Try the Calamari Orgenata – it’s superb. And Andreas’s 25 in Commack. Get the Luciano Sauce on anything.
FMC: Last book read?
GD: Who Moved My Cheese.
FMC: Where do you get your news?
GD: Depends on which side of the bed I wake up on. There is a left and right side to bed just like the media today.
FMC: What five people, living or dead, would you want to have dinner with?
GD: Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill, General Patton, Richard Branson, Margaret Thatcher, Saint John Paul II.
FMC: Favorite drink?
GD: Vodka on the rocks. Hold the fruit.
FMC: What’s the biggest misconception people have about you?
GD: That I’m a tough guy.
FMC: Define leadership and tell us, who is your favorite leader and why?
GD: Leadership is bringing together a group of people providing them with vision and support to help them be successful. Jesus is at the top of all time leadership. Think about it. He recruited illiterate fishermen and tasked them with building a universal church that would last forever, and they did. Talk about people skills.
FMC: What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
GD: Depends on which career. In the NYPD, being a good enough actor to work undercover. In business, making decisions that impact others’ lives and livelihoods.
FMC: What’s your choice of super hero superpowers?
GD: Not flight, I’m not a fan of heights. And not strength, I can still open jars. Not x-ray vision, bones are funky looking. Maybe mind reading. Is that is a superpower?
FMC: Yes. What’s your idea of success?
GD: Success is a holistic proposition. Faith, family and finances need to be aligned to be truly successful. Success in only one of those is no success at all.
FMC: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
GD: Spend less than you take in and you won’t ever get in money trouble. My father told me that.
FMC: If you weren’t you, who would you want to be?
GD: Elliot Ness
FMC: What’s your current state of mind?
GD: Annoyed. Answering questions feels like homework and I hate homework. I really need to go back to work.
FMC: The good news is we’re halfway done. The bad news is, we’re halfway done. Now, next question: What’s the biggest challenge facing your industry right now?
GD: The speed at which the marketing and communication paradigm is changing makes it difficult to stay on top of it all.
FMC: Which talent would you most like to have?
GD: Anything musical
FMC: Early bird or night owl?
GD: At the gym at 5 a.m. most days.
FMC: What quality do you most like in a person?
GD: A sense of humor and lack of drama.
FMC: What is your most treasured possession?
GD: Indulge me, I have three. A $20 gold eagle coin necklace and chain that my father had made for my mom, an ornate solid gold pocket watch that was given to my dad by his best friend, and my New York City Police Department Medal of Honor.