Rich Plaskon is a 30-year veteran of the Cutco/Vector business who has produced over $80 million in sales.  As the long-time Division Manager of the Virginia Division, Rich established himself as one of the company’s top executives, and became a model of success, consistency, and financial well-being for many others.  Now, he’s working in new role as National Sales Manager of the company’s NextGen organization, working to expand the Cutco sales opportunity to people outside the company’s traditional college student target market.


  • The labels placed on Rich as a child, and how those impacted him for many years
  • How he got started with Cutco/Vector, some early experiences
  • The many lessons that arose from failures in his early career
  • The time in the 1990s when Rich became a company pioneer as the first openly gay high-level leader in Vector
  • Key people who have impacted his great career
  • How Rich was able to “crank and bank” as a manager and build his first million dollars in savings
  • What he’s excited about for the years ahead, both in and out of Vector


Q: Tell us a little about your story and how you got started with Cutco.

  • At an early age I was labeled as learning disabled.
  • I became a full-time trucker for 14 months.
  • I was then offered to go to college but still did trucking in the summers.
  • At the end of my Junior year I was trying to figure out a plan for after my senior year and my career counselor told me I needed to find a job with real work experience. My mom found an ad in the newspaper and I went in for the interview and the rest is history.

Q: Tell us about some of your more transformational experiences in your career that really stand out.

  • The biggest lessons have come from failure.
  • At the end of my first Branch office I had a pretty bad year but I loved it and I wanted to run an office full-time. I told Al Dileonardo that I wanted to become a District Manager and his response was, “Why don’t you find a job that you’re good at?”
  • He gave me a shot and at the end of the summer I made a note and wrote down everything that went wrong or that I failed at that summer on one half and on the other half I wrote down possible solutions for those failures.
  • I was the worst office at the end of summer but we were the number 1 office in the Fall.
  • You cannot become strong without first experiencing all of the hardships.
  • Wisdom comes from overcoming failures.
  • Coming out as the first openly gay high-level leader in Vector was a momentous occasion. Once I got authentic with myself, all sorts of success opened up.

Q: Who were some of the people who influenced you throughout your career?

  • Fi Mazenke
  • My parents
  • Al DiLeonardo
  • Don Freda
  • Mike Lancellot
  • Jon Vroman
  • Dave Powders
  • James Crittenden
  • Scott Dennis
  • Amar Dave’

Q: You’ve always been looked up to in Cutco/ Vector as someone who is very good with money.  Not just making a lot, but also saving, investing and accumulating money.  I’d love to hear about your path in this area and any tips you may have for others about success financially.

  • I coined a term, “crank and bank”
    • Crank means you have to be willing to crank out the work. Nothing replaces hard work.
    • And when you’re cranking you will be making bank. Bank it!
  • Get a good accountant and a good financial advisor.
  • Pay all of your taxes.
  • Save and invest the rest with the goal of early retirement.

Q: Cutco/ Vector tapped you recently to help in a new role and a new capacity.  Tell us a little about where you see that going.

  • I built my career in large part around recruiting and developing Cutco representatives who were not the more traditional college student Cutco/ Vector rep.
  • What I’m doing now is building an entire recruiting and training program for this demographic of people who aren’t in college and are looking for either a career in sales or just want a part time job.

Q: This podcast is all about changing lives. How do you aspire to change people’s lives in the years ahead through your work or through your influence?

  • From my past, I look forward to the future and just think about all the lives that will be impacted through our new programs.



  • I liked how Rich talked about how many of his successes in his life were born out of failures.
  • Cranking and banking. Working hard, producing a lot, putting that money in the bank.
  • Think about the labels people have put on you, that you’ve put on yourself, or that you’ve put on others in your life and how putting labels on people impacts them for years to come or their entire life.
  • Look for the good and the potential in everyone.



  • Launched- the term given to the moment a new rep leaves training and goes to their first appointment.
  • Branch Office- a Vector/ Cutco office often run by a college student who runs a sales office during the summer months.

Show Notes provided by Carlo Cipollina

To learn more and get access to all episodes, visit our podcast page!

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