"PNC believed in me before I had fully proven my capabilities. My banking team listens to my needs, offers solutions and helps me adopt new technologies to make my business run more smoothly."
The Model of Success
Virginia Minolli built her business around her career goals of leveraging advanced technologies to support the design, development and optimization of manufacturing systems. Established in 1997, Empirical Solutions Corporation (ESC) provides simulation modeling and systems analyses to help enterprises eliminate waste, reduce costs and increase efficiencies. Strategically located near Detroit, ESC was immediately embraced by automotive manufacturers, early adopters of the tools integral to Virginia's business solutions - namely, computer-aided engineering, Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing.
"I grew up in the automotive industry. My first job, as a student, was in advanced manufacturing engineering with GM, and I studied engineering at Stanford with the backing of a GM scholarship," says Virginia. "My master's degree was one of the first interdisciplinary degrees between the engineering and business schools, and I was determined to apply my diverse knowledge base in a concrete way. The models we build enable system designers to test alternatives in a virtual environment, providing organizations with data to support business case decisions before they deploy capital and resources."
When the auto industry began to falter at the turn of the century and then plunged after 9/11, Virginia proactively pursued other markets. Over the past decade, her company has helped container terminal operators increase throughput, airports improve baggage handling processes, service organizations reduce waiting times and manufacturers in a broad range of industries streamline their operations.
ESC has also helped hospitals schedule and deploy staff more efficiently and reduce emergency room wait times. "Hospital executives understand the important role process improvement plays in their profitability," explains Virginia, who sees the healthcare industry as a source of future growth for ESC. "They're finding that applying the principles of Six Sigma and Lean in conjunction with process modeling can offer outstanding results."
Virginia has achieved her own outstanding results through a combination of technological acumen and strategic business partnerships. One of her earliest relationships was with PNC predecessor First of America.
"I've stayed with the bank through all these years because PNC believed in me before I had fully proven my capabilities," says Virginia. "From the time my business was a startup, I have enjoyed an exceptional level of personal attention. My banking team listens to my needs, offers solutions and helps me adopt new technologies to make my business run more smoothly."
Empowering Young Women to Excel
Just as PNC has empowered Virginia, Virginia is investing in the potential of young women as the future of business and industry. She and her three sisters recently established the Frank Minolli Foundation (frankminollifoundation.org), a nonprofit honoring their father. A successful first-generation entrepreneur, Frank Minolli was a tireless mentor to high-school students interested in engineering.
"In partnership with the Joyce Ivy Foundation, the Frank Minolli Foundation offers scholarships to young women planning to pursue careers in engineering, science, math and technology," explains Virginia. "Our Summer Scholars program affords high-school students the opportunity to study at renowned institutions such as Stanford, MIT and Harvard. Our goal is to open the door to life-changing educational experiences that inspire students to excel."