By ARDEN BASTIA For Jody Cerullo, serving as the new Vice President of customer service and tech support at BankRI relates more to his background as a NASCAR driver than one would think. In 1998, Cerullo took two important steps in his life: first,
For Jody Cerullo, serving as the new Vice President of customer service and tech support at BankRI relates more to his background as a NASCAR driver than one would think.
In 1998, Cerullo took two important steps in his life: first, working in the banking business, and second, he started racing cars.
“I don’t know where the time goes,” he said with a laugh, in a recent interview.
Cerullo has always been in the customer service branch of banking, making his way up the ranks over the years. He was recently promoted to Vice President of customer service and tech support at BankRI. He is now responsible for the delivery of customer service and online technical support for the bank’s cash management, consumer, and small business platforms. Cerullo holds a certificate in Six Sigma for financial services and is integral to the bank’s various digital service platforms. Prior to joining BankRI in 2008, Cerullo worked for Bank of America.
Cerullo raced from 1998 to 2001 at local tracks like Seekonk Speedway in MA and Thompson International Speedway in CT.
“I had a blast while I did that,” he said in an interview. “I was able to earn some hardware, and that’s always nice.”
Cerullo is modest.
He won his first race after being on the track only a handful of times, and eventually became the 1999 NASCAR Rookie of the Year with several more wins under his belt. Cerullo was also named one of the top ten drivers in the 2000 Street Stock division.
“I try to stay humble,” he said. “It was so long ago.”
Cerullo grew up in a racing family. His father, Joey Cerullo, was also a semi-professional racer and two-time track champion at Seekonk.
“He began racing before I was born, and was very competitive. He always devoted a lot of time to it,” Cerullo said of his father. “He was my inspiration throughout my time on the track, right there with me hand in hand.”
Joey Cerullo raced for more than 20 years, winning Pro Stock championships and was the 1979 Seekonk Speedway Sportsman Champion.
In the short period that Jody raced, he started in the Bandolero division, and then moved through the Street Stock and Pro Stock divisions. “Which is basically professional,” he said.
During his last racing season, Cerullo’s engine exploded mid-race.
“It just smoked, blew, and that was it,” Cerullo explained. “I still have the car, but I never finished the season. My career definitely ended on a high note, and I’m sure the fans would’ve loved to see me continue. But it felt like after that, everyone’s life seemed to take a turn in another direction, so I focused instead on becoming a devoted dad and husband.”
While Cerullo may no longer spend his time on the track, he is currently dedicating his time to his family: wife Milinda and daughter Jaclyn.
Both his wife and daughter are fans of racing, but Cerullo says his daughter doesn’t know him as a racer. “She’s more into ballet. I still support her in what she wants.”
Cerullo and his daughter do participate in car shows together. Cerullo said he and Jaclyn are currently working on a 1969 Chevy truck. “It’s my daughter’s truck, and we’ll do a little update before the next car show. We’ll work on something to enhance it a little bit. It’s good quality time for us.”
Jaclyn won an award for the truck at a local car show, and Cerullo says he’s “very, very proud of her.”
“Right now we’re at a happy place in our life, and I’m just happy I can share it with my family,” he said.
For Cerullo, the connection between banking and racing is obvious: it all comes down to teamwork.
“There are multiple things that connect racing and banking in my life,” said Cerullo. “I believe that it takes a team effort to achieve successful outcomes, whether it pertains to a pit crew or a customer service team. When you have many people focused on a goal or vision, as a customer service manager or a driver, my inner competitive passion to succeed has been the catalyst for great outcomes.”