Member Spotlight: Joseph Rotella, President of Spencer Organ

Spencer Organ is a locally owned pipe organ restoration and maintenance company. For this June’s member spotlight I asked president Joseph Rotella a few questions about his membership to SBN as a local business owner. Check Spencer Organ out at!


Why did you join SBN?

One of the reasons Rotella joined the network is due to personal values he wanted to incorporate into his professional life. Spencer Organ had always been socially and environmentally concerned but it was really through attending a BALLE conference that Rotella realized there were other business owners like him—business owners who cared about the people they served and the earth, instead of just maximizing profits. He saw SBN as an organization of people like him who didn’t have to work in isolation, but instead had identified their shared values and were working toward common goals. Rotella appreciates the many programs of SBN; for example he identified attending a few of the Local First dinners, “a great way to appreciate and support other members within the network who are trying to do good things.” Before Rotella met with Katrina Kazda (Managing Director SBN/SBLP) and enrolled in the Sustainable Business Leader Program (SBLP) Spencer Organ had already started a recycling program and installed solar panels in their office (it was “easy to get some of the basic things done,” Rotella said) but SBN through the SBLP, helped him identify and execute actions that would normally be hard for a small business owner to do alone. The power of the network, he stated, is the power to support.

Why do you feel sustainability is important?

“On a basic level, we’re living on a finite planet, and as a society we need to begin to curtail resource usage,” Rotella said. From the perspective of a small business owner actions may not change the world, but if “more people do it” (curtail resource usage and produce more sustainably) “and talk about it and rethink how they and their companies do business then we can affect some real change.” Rotella concluded with a statement that sums up the views of many citizens concerned with the environmental safety of the future: “we’ll either learn to make these changes as a society or face collapse.”

What does your business do to contribute to the green economy and what is your biggest challenge in doing so?

“It’s one thing for us to recycle, but its another thing when we get all our business neighbors to start recycling as well.” Spencer Organ lives out their personal values and makes it known that they’re living these values. They attempt to make other business owners excited about doing the same and make sustainability in the workplace seem plausible. People should realize that “it doesn’t have to be one way or the other—businesses don’t need to give up profits to become sustainable. Their work can be fair and green,” Rotella said, citing his biggest challenge as explaining to people why we all need to do these things. Meeting people where they are in talking about these issues is one useful approach so that we can move forward as a society. 

What else would you like to share with the Network?

Rotella wanted to “emphasize the importance of understanding that we’re all in this together.” Collective support in this new way of doing business shows that small and local business owners can all be successful—these types of efforts don’t need to exist in isolation. SBN allows members to “share ideas of things that work and don’t work, and that is one way SBN is so important—it helps identify how we can better achieve these goals collectively."

email: [email protected]    |    phone: (617) 395-0250

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