Meet the President & CEO
My first meaningful, money-making, work experience was selling women’s shoes to movie stars in Beverly Hills, while I worked my way through university. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science and a secondary school teaching credential, all from California State University, I went on to teach public junior and senior high school students, as well as adult school, in the inner-city of Los Angeles. My passion for education led me to earn a master’s degree in education administration with an administrative credential from Cal State. At this early point in my career, I had set myself on the path to becoming a school principal or superintendent, but, much like life itself, things changed abruptly.
At the age of twenty-nine, acting on nothing more than an impulse, I applied for a position with Merrill Lynch Relocation Management, on the opposite side of the country in New York. The company later became Prudential and then Brookfield Relocation. As the youngest person ever hired into a management position by the company, I poured my energy and enthusiasm into working with others to found and build Merrill’s Group Move and Consulting Services Division. For seven years, I worked closely with many Fortune 1000 companies, leading the planning and implementation of group moves as well as other relocation consulting projects.
The experience of starting a new business from scratch, inside Merrill Lynch, is one I quickly fell in love with. Each and every day I faced new and exciting challenges; it brought out the best in me and gave me an opportunity to develop my true potential. As Merrill’s Group Move and Consulting Services Division achieved great success, I seized a second opportunity to build a business from the ground up. I agreed to start a consulting division for Premier Relocation Services, a Weyerhaeuser Company. As Senior Vice President in charge of this division, I again focused on the art of group moves, plus related consulting services.
When the Weyerhaeuser Company, our parent, decided to exit the relocation business altogether, along with others, I decided to capitalize on the change. Emboldened by my success at Premier, I completed a leveraged buy-out of the consulting services division I founded and launched it as my own company. In May of 1991, on a Wednesday, Premier Decision Management (later Paragon Relocation) became an independently owned entity. On that Friday, payroll was funded, under my direction as President and CEO. This is a moment I will never forget and one in which I take great pride. What started as my desire to enter the business world, while still teaching in California, had led me to the top position of a successful relocation and consulting business, providing services to large, multinational corporations. What a journey!
Though our company headquarters and operations started in Orange County, California, a few years into the company’s history an operations office was opened in Chicago to provide relocation services for a major client headquartered in that city. We provided the same client on-site services as well. Later, even though offices have been maintained in Southern California and Chicago, we moved our headquarters and the bulk of the company’s domestic operations to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Along the way, relocation operations offices were also opened in Europe and Hong Kong, China to support Paragon’s international relocation business. Paragon Authorized Representatives (PARs) were brought on next in key countries around the world. Now, with offices spread across the world, Paragon had finally grown into both a national and global relocation management company.
With thoughts of the recession in 2008 and managing through several downturns in mind, I made the critical decision to diversify the company to position us for the next ten years of growth. We established our holding company, Paragon Global Resources, Inc., as the owner of various subsidiaries. We then added our mortgage company, GenEquity Mortgage, which today is today licensed in 20 states and has multiple retail offices. This time I wasn’t starting all over from scratch, but rather building new businesses that are directly related to the original one. Paragon’s newest subsidiaries, Paragon Real Estate Resources and Paragon Home Resources, offer relocation related services that can be used by corporations as voluntary benefits to assist their employees with personal moves, or to support their parents or other loved ones in retirement.
Paragon has come a very long way since being founded in 1991; yet the story is not over. I now see the company as far more than what it started out being. I see Paragon as assisting others with life decisions in many different contexts, providing expertise, guidance and solutions wherever needed. That’s what we do.
Joseph A. Morabito
President & CEO