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News & Press: Region News

Region 5 Loses a Leader—Rick Piunti Passes On

Thursday, June 04, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Vanessa Smith

Region 5 Loses a Leader—Rick Piunti Passes On

By Larry Schmitz




On May 24, Region 5 lost one of its former leaders. Rick Piunti succumbed to the side effects of Alzheimer’s disease at age 65. Rick was one of the most dedicated people I have ever known. Dedicated to his family, his God, his job and, yes, AITP.

He was one of the “good guys” even as a kid growing up in Joliet, Illinois – earning the coveted Eagle Scout status from the Boy Scouts of America.

Those of us from Wisconsin don’t understand how he went astray, but I failed to mention he was the ULTIMATE, dyed in the wool, Chicago Bears fan. For many years, living in “Packer Country”, Rick took his share of flack. But ONE year, somehow, the Bears beat the Packers. We had an AITP committee meeting early the following Monday morning at the local McDonalds. Rick showed up with: A Chicago Bears hat, jersey, coat, sweat pants, tennis shoes and, yes, even Chicago Bear socks. He didn’t say a word. Just sat there and smiled waiting for one of us dummies to mention “da game”. He was always fun to be around.

Rick had a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and was the Controller for Valley Packaging Industries in Appleton when I met him.  His company went out and bought an IBM System 34 with the intention of using packaged software for their financial applications. But no package could handle the unique requirements of their payroll system. They had no DP/IT personnel on staff, So Rick, on his own, went back to school part time and earned an Associate Degree in Computer Programming. He proceeded to design and program the most complex, sophisticated payroll system I have ever seen.

About that time, Rick joined AITP and became very involved serving on the Chapter Board and ultimately becoming Chapter President. He then became the Region Director for the Northeastern Wisconsin Chapter. From there he served as Region Secretary and Region 5 President. Not done yet, he was elected and served as Central District Director on the Association Board. Rick also achieved the Triple Diamond level of the Individual Performance Award.

As his Alzheimer became more pronounced, he could no longer work or even drive himself. But he was so dedicated to AITP, he would have his wife, Sheila, drive him to the Chapter meetings, drop him off and pick him up later.

A true AITP’er, a true leader and a true friend. We will all miss you Rick.

Editor’s note:  More information about Rick can be found here

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