Jerry Piscitelli is the co-founder and co-creator of PORTOPONG, the world’s very first inflatable beer pong table raft. Portopong, developed and given a branded-life in 2007, recently ‘took over’ this years Stagecoach Country Music Festival, and has been featured on NBC, USA Today, Gizmodo, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Good Day LA, FOX News, Good Morning America, The Bad Girls Club/The Oxygen Chnnel, The Girls Next Door/Playboy TV, E! News, Rolling Stone Magazine, GQ, Maxim and countless others!
Jerry and longtime childhood friend, Sal Laudano, always shared many similarities — but none as great as their affinity for drinking beer and playing beer pong. Being creative individuals with a knack for interesting ideas, they usually found themselves bouncing various ideas off each other (both have creative backgrounds). One day, they happened to bounce the idea of what is now PortOPong; little did they know this would be one idea that would forever stick, and when the world quickly started showing interest, they had every intention to keep the attention — and they did, and they have!
The first prototype was developed in the spring of 2007, they had a working production model by the middle of the summer that year, and once they sold their first raft, they came to the wonderful reality this would be their life-changing moment. The team continued working day and night, all the while holding full time jobs, and continued pressing forward on their invention and growing the brand, which now has become an international record setting phenomenon!
To help, PortOPong is currently donating 5% of all sales from portOpong until June 7th to The Wounded Warriors, as well as donating 100% of the proceeds raised from their celebrity auction (they actually set a world record last year at the Hard Rock Casino Rehab Pool, and a few celebrities were nice enough to autograph their All American PORTOPONG table) in hopes to raise as much as they possibly can through the auction, and their 5% giving campaign!
Jerry, an avid Eagle Scout, found himself at a very young age having so much respect for those within the military service, putting themselves on the line day to protect and serve our country, so it’s no surprise that he was extremely proud, honored and excited to be working with an organization such as the Wounded Warrior Project!
How do you incorporate giving back into your life and your companies? Which charities are near and dear to you and why? As a business owner with an amazing invention such as PORTOPONG, we have been very lucky with what we have been able to do, and I know others are not as lucky. So, giving back from our company when we can is something I have always believed in. We have worked with breast cancer awareness groups in the past, as well as local chapters of many other charities to help out. We are very excited to start our Wounded Warrior awareness project – we will be donating 5% of all sales from www.portopong.com until June 7th to the project, as well as 100% of the proceeds from our celebrity auction. Back in 2012, we set a world record at the Hard Rock Casino Rehab Pool, and a few celebrities we nice enough to autograph our All American PORTOPONG table. We hope to raise as much as we can through the auction and 5% giving campaign.
How has giving back helped you? Giving back to others is just the right thing to do! It has helped me be a part of our society in a very positive way.
When it comes to your own philanthropic efforts, what do you look back and feel made the largest impact on those that you set out to help? That’s hard to say, there are so many people who need our help, and so much that can be done, so if I try to do a little bit when I can and keep doing it, then I feel that I am doing the best I can to make the best impact I am able to. I know the people who devote their careers full time to each charity, are the real impact players, and I am just happy to help be apart of that larger effort!
Favorite food: Anything that comes off the grill!
Favorite beer: Right now– I am enjoying Blue Point Blueberry Ales. Ask me again in a month.
Favorite restaurant: My wife and I love this place in Milford, CT called Bistro Basque.
If you could host a dinner party for 8, who would you invite — living or dead? I would love to have Will Farrell, Kate Upton, Victor Cruz, Jon Hamm, Milla Jovovich, Bill Murray, and Bruce Willis over for dinner. I think the conversations would be all over the place and awesome. Plus, it would give us an excuse to break out a PORTOPONG after dinner in the pool.
Favorite vacation spot: Epcot in Disney World.
Favorite TV Show: Mad Men
Favorite movie: Any Marvel-based movie.
Favorite song: DMB – Jimi Thing
Favorite book: The 4 Hour Work Week
Favorite apps: Google Drive, Pandora, Flappy Birds, Clash of Clans
iPhone or Android: iPhone
Favorite workout routine: When I can — dumbbell flys.
Where do you get your news? I am a bit of a CNN.com junkie.
What advice would you share with those still in school? Be friends with the computer geeks — we rule the world!
What experience in your career are you most proud of? Tough one to say, every experience in my career I think has helped define me and lead to the next, I am looking forward to the next chapter.