Adam Salerno

Next time you see one of the more than 30,000 Redbox DVD rental kiosks, know that Lewis alumnus, Adam Salerno `00 (Graduate Business) is working hard at Redbox Corporate Headquarters in Oak Brook, ensuring that the rental experience is a positive one for customers. Adam joined the fast-growing corporation in 2009 as a Director of Operations, where he oversees a staff of 250, including field service engineers that ensure product inventory, removal, communications and kiosk performance. More than 2/3 of the U.S. population passes a Redbox kiosk each week, with locations at more than 400 of the country’s top retailers. And in September 2010, Redbox passed the billionth rental mark, highlighting their phenomenal growth. 

Adam recently reflected on his transition from a Lewis MBA student to a key staff member of one of Fortune’s 100 fastest growing corporations. After earning his undergraduate degree in political science from DePaul University, Adam was considering both law school and a master’s in education at DePaul before deciding that the best fit for him was a Lewis University MBA program. Attending classes primarily at the Lewis Oak Brook campus while working full time in the staffing industry, Adam recalls truly enjoying the classroom setting, teachers and programs. “My master’s program challenged me to think outside of the box and do my own research and learning.” That philosophy of taking charge of his own education is something that still serves him in his current position. Despite graduating more than ten years ago, Adam recently used one of the books from his MBA program to research a strategy and ensure that he was not overlooking any of the key principles he learned back in school. Sticking to those sound business principles has grounded him through the quick growth of Redbox in the rapidly changing world of digital entertainment. 

Originally, Redbox was a project of McDonald’s Corporation New Business Development Team, and was sold to Coinstar in 2009. Today, the company has expanded into Blue-Ray and Video Game Rentals as well as DVD’s and has recently encountered competition from Blockbuster branded kiosks, owned by NCR. Adam offers that Redbox is consistently monitoring their customer experience in order to stay ready to adapt to changing competition and technology. His MBA experience at Lewis has been key, he says, to his ability to step back from the fast pace and strategize about the most effective and efficient options. “I still use pieces from every single class in the master’s program.” He recalls learning a lot about good business ethics simply by observing his professors, and puts that into practice at Redbox, leading by example and not asking his employees to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. Adam says the Redbox team consistently puts those values into practice, with management field days where you will find him and other corporate executives stocking product in kiosks out in the field.
A connection in Adam’s Linkedin network informed him about the open position at Redbox, leading to the position he has today, and he continues to network and maintain those relationships, including staying connected to Lewis University through the Alumni and Friends Linkedin group. Whether in networking or in management, he says, “It’s all about the relationships you build.”

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