Syracuse UniversityAtlanta

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Joseph T. Trino ’70

Joe TrinoJoe Trino ’70 has made a career of turning struggling companies into successful ones, so much so that he’s come out of retirement twice to do it. His work ethic stems from his student years at SU, where he balanced his studies with a part-time job as a car salesman. “My wife and I were planning our wedding at the time, and she was in nursing school in Utica, New York, so I attended classes at SU’s satellite campus there,” Trino says. “I took classes by day and sold cars by night.”

After earning his degree in business administration, Trino spent six years at Xerox working in a variety of sales positions. In 1976 he got a call about a $5 million software company in Andover, Massachusetts, which at that time was the second largest software company in the U.S. That call was the start of his 35-year career in the software industry. 

In 1983 Trino ended up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, directing the turnaround of a struggling public software company back to profitability. After the turnaround the company was acquired by Atlanta-based Management Science America (MSA), and Trino accepted a role as president of MSA’s Manufacturing Software Division, moving his family to Atlanta. MSA was subsequently acquired by Dun & Bradstreet and became D&B Software.

Trino went on to work for Warburg Pincus, a private equity firm. Together they formed a startup company called SynQuest, and under his leadership the company grew into a multimillion-dollar industry leader in supply chain management software and a successful IPO on Nasdaq.

Trino sold SynQuest in 2002 and retired for the first time. But he couldn’t stay retired. Warburg Pincus asked for his help with some of its portfolio companies, directing strategic decisions and guiding merger and acquisition activities. Ventyx, another Atlanta-based company, was part of the Warburg Pincus portfolio and struggled with poor financial performance.  With Trino’s guidance, Ventyx returned to profitability and was acquired in 2007. Trino retired again, only to accept a consulting position in London to assist in determining the disposition of a subsidiary of a U.S.-based technology company.  

In late 2008, Trino returned to the U.S. and was recruited by a former colleague to help improve the performance of a Philadelphia-based company. The company returned to profitability and was acquired by The Active Network in December 2011.

Back in Atlanta, Trino has been enjoying his third retirement for over a year now. “I’m trying to figure out how to relax, which doesn’t come naturally to me,” he says. “But I enjoy spending time with my son, daughter-in-law, and their twin daughters here in Atlanta, and with my daughter and her husband in San Francisco.”

Trino may be officially retired, but he remains actively engaged with SU, serving on the Atlanta Regional Council and the board of advisors for the School of Information Studies (iSchool). “I enjoy looking at the role of technology in the future and feel that all SU students should have a technology component to their education,” he says. “Looking at the next 30 years, changes will be drastic, and technology is the basis for success. It will be a key piece of everything we do, and the iSchool is at the forefront.”