Louis Matrone, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce for 2004, joined the non-profit organization’s board of directors six years ago simply because a fellow co-worker asked.
At the time, past chairman Merv Forney represented Electronic Data Systems (EDS) on the chamber. When Forney retired in 1999, he asked Matrone to take his place for the company but remained a member as a strategic planning consultant. "I had a desire to help him. He’s a good friend," Matrone said.
Matrone left EDS in 2000 but stayed on with the chamber as a representative for Reston-based Information Management Consultants (IMC), Inc., where he currently serves as president and chief operating officer. "I got sucked into the enthusiasm and excitement," he said. "This is a labor of love for me. I enjoy getting up if there’s something with the chamber that day."
MATRONE WILL SERVE as chairman for the 2004 term to replace outgoing chairman Robert Sevila, partner of Sevila, Saunders, Huddleston & White in Leesburg. He will preside over the chamber’s executive committee and board of directors and serve as a representative at the chamber’s functions and events.
"It was a natural for him to be in that succession chair," said Forney, who served as chairman in 2000 and again in 2001. "If you look at Louis’s background, he’s been in executive leadership positions with companies he’s worked for. Number two, he’s people-oriented. … He understands what a good leader needs to do in motivating people."
A Florida native, Matrone decided to enter the business field at the age of 12 when he noticed a golf trophy on the mantel and asked about it — his older brother, basically his idol and an accountant, had won it in a youth tournament. Matrone told his father that he wanted to study accounting, a subject unfamiliar to him, on a golf scholarship.
"I never wavered from that," Matron said. "I didn’t know what an accountant was, but my brother was one, so that’s what I wanted to be."
Matrone attended Troy State University in Troy, Ala. on a full athletic scholarship for golf, graduating in 1978 with a degree in accounting and business administration. He immediately began working for EDS at the company’s headquarters and accounting development program in Dallas, Texas. He remained with EDS for 22 years, moving nine times with relocations and changes in positions, including that of chief financial officer and in sales marketing and business process management. His last position was senior vice-president for EDS’s government industry group at the company’s Herndon location.
IN JUNE 2000, Matrone took a job with IMC, a smaller company than EDS and a private IT services consulting company. He was interested in the entrepreneurial spirit he had seen in his father, who started an ice plant to accommodate the seafood industry in New York. "We can react quicker to meet [customer] needs than in a larger bureaucratic environment," he said.
At the chamber, Matrone also wants to meet those needs, the customer being chamber members.
"He puts a lot of time and energy into it, and it’s not for personal gain," said Jen Sterling, chamber vice-chair and president of Hinge Incorporated, a branding company in Chantilly. "He’s just a good person. He’s very outgoing. He’s very motivated, and he honestly cares about all of these small businesses and their successes."
Matrone and his wife Pam, residents of Belmont, have a son and a granddaughter. They have been married for 28 years.