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Celebrating 40 Years of Leadership: Ric Cusumano’s Journey as ASD Operations Director

When you ask Martin Sr and Barbara Czachor, the visionaries behind ASD, about the remarkable growth and success of the company they founded, they consistently credit the exceptional individuals who played pivotal roles in the early days. A standout among them is Ric Cusumano, who embarked on his ASD adventure as a young enthusiast during our humble beginnings in Glenolden. Since he first joined ASD back in 1984, he has proven to be an invaluable member of our team. It’s truly impossible to overstate the significant impact he has made on our company.

On January 15, we will celebrate Ric Cusumano’s 40th ASD Anniversary.  With an extensive tenure, Ric stands as our most seasoned and experienced team member, contributing a wealth of knowledge that significantly enhances our ongoing success. It’s not just a matter of being present at every stage; Ric has been a driving force, influencing the trajectory of ASD in profound ways. His keen insights, tireless efforts, and unwavering commitment have not only fueled our growth but have also left an indelible mark on our company identity.

ASD Milestone Awards
Ric holding his Milestone Award after being recognized for his longevity with our company at ASD’s 2017 company Christmas luncheon.

Ric oversees ASD’s Call Center Operations as our Operations Director, exhibiting outstanding leadership. His management of the daily challenges with ASD’s staff, system and processes allow the company to provide the highest level of call support to the funeral professionals it serves. Over the past four decades, Ric has shepherded the company through numerous transitions and expansions.

A look back at Ric working at ASD through the years

When call forwarding made it possible to exclusively serve funeral homes nationwide, Ric was essential in helping ASD make that crucial shift. From getting staff adjusted to the multitude of changes brought on by mobile technology to helping the company shift to a remote model during the COVID pandemic, he has been an absolutely vital ingredient to ASD’s success. He is highly respected by his peers and his depth of knowledge about our answering service operations is unsurpassed. He has been instrumental in shaping many of the leaders at ASD including our Operations Managers and Supervisors who value his opinion and judgement.


Sharing Our Reverence For Ric

To celebrate Ric’s remarkable 40-year career here at ASD, we asked our staff to share some of their favorite memories of working with him and some of the ways he has impacted their lives.

“Many years ago when Ric first became an ASD Supervisor, he stabilized that position and laid the groundwork for ASD’s future. Many adjectives come to mind when thinking about Ric’s career.  He is reliable, inspiring, interesting, committed and conscientious.   The growth of our company would not have been possible without his leadership.  We were blessed to have him guiding decisions along the way.  Congratulations to Ric and his fabulous career at ASD.”-ASD Founders, Martin Sr and Barbara Czachor.

Ric Cusumano ASD


Our Favorite Ric Moments

Here are some of Team ASD’s favorite memories of working with Ric over the past four decades.

“Many years ago, Ric and I shared an office. He tolerated the smell of my fried chicken and Chinese lunches but drew the line when my box of chocolate drew the attention of a mouse.-Operations Manager, Sharon Batten, who has worked with Ric for more than 32 years.

Ric Sharon ASD Volunteer Day
Ric and Sharon at ASD’s 2017 Community Clean Up Volunteer Event

“Forty years in the blink of my eye!  Ric is amazing in his adaptability.  I remember Ric’s first major project at ASD (Glenolden, PA) was to replace the old wooden windows that were so drafty in our building.  Ric had never replaced a single window in his life, but he was willing to try and give it his best.  He replaced no less than 20 windows.  Those windows are STILL in the building that we outgrew and sold 20 years ago!”-CTO and Family-Member Owner, Marty Czachor Jr. 

Other than my father, Ric is the only remaining person who actually worked on ASD’s old cord board phone system. He has helped our company evolve to our most advanced technologies today.” -CSO and Family-Member Owner, Kevin Czachor.

“I always remember discussing the Philadelphia Flower Show with Ric. Some years we attended together. Other years we shared pictures and talked about what we loved, what we thought was pretty, how bad the crowds were, what was interesting, what purchases we made, etc. I always think of Ric (and my grandmother-lol) when I think of the Flower Show.”Treasurer and Family-Member Owner, Kathy Kelley.

“I remember thinking it was crazy when we celebrated your 20th Anniversary!!”-Sales Office Manager, Stephanie Bradford, who has worked with Ric for over 29 years.  

Team ASD Lake Lawn Metairie 2010 NFDA Convention
Ric and the ASD Team touring the beautiful grounds at Lake Lawn Metairie in New Orleans during the 2010 NFDA Convention

“So many, but my first favorite memory was the time Ric shared the saying “Don’t ASSUME, it makes an A#@ out of U and ME”. Always a good chuckle every time I think about it, which is often.”-HR Administrator, Renee Mancer, who has worked with Ric for more than 29 years.

“There are so many good times. When I started, it was only Ric & Sharon so we spent a lot of time together before we grew larger. We took a lot of calls for funeral homes back in Glenolden. We had our offices next to each other. We would talk about the craziest calls and laugh and laugh.”-Finance Manager, Dara Dix, who has worked with Ric for over 26 years.

“We’ve come a long way from putting out literal fires in the close-knit atmosphere of our small Glenolden office, navigating through the exciting transition move to our spacious Media offices and adapting to the innovative work-at-home model. Each chapter has been enriched with your mentorship, but it’s not just the milestones that stand out. The supervisor, Manager outings, food truck & spirited events for a cause they’ve all been highlights that underscored the sense of camaraderie and community you foster. And through it all, your friendship and support have been a steady force.”-Operations Manager, Linda Haas, who has worked with Ric for more than 22 years. 

Team ASD Animal Shelter Clean Up
Ric and our Manager Team taking part in our Team ASD Providence Animal Shelter Clean Up Event

“There are certain people that you work with that you will always remember.  They manage to not only enhance your job environment, but go beyond that and become part of a special memory in your personal life as well. Ric is one of those people. When my mother was ill and not expected to be with us past Christmas a few years ago, a painting of a snowman that Ric had created and given to us, was something that made her smile each day. It proudly held court over my fireplace and was not to be moved throughout her illness at her insistence. My mother had passed away in the following first week of January. My family had the hardest time taking that painting down. At my father’s request we kept it up and added things to the painting for different holidays that year. In February, we placed a valentine heart with it and in March a Cloverleaf. Each year since, Ric’s “The happy snowman“ painting as it has become to be known, holds court on my fireplace at Christmas  in memory of my mother. Rics selfless sharing of his knowledge and personal talents with us over the years, is a testament to the kind of person you will always remember and be thankful to know.”-Operations Supervisor, Sandy Gabriel, who has worked with Ric for over 22 years.

“I’ve always treasured my position as a Supervisor working alongside Ric. He consistently offered guidance and support. Ric’s artistic abilities are genuinely remarkable, and I still continue to display his snowman paintings every Christmas.”-Strategic Account Manager, Susan Daleandro, who has worked with Ric for more than 22 years. 

“We went to the PFDA convention together at Kalahari Resort in the Poconos and my son, Christopher and sister, Jackie, came along. Ric had a lasting impression on Christopher as Christopher still talks about that trip and the fun he had with Ric 6 years later!”-Customer Service Account Manager, Sue Fritz, who has worked with Ric for over 21 years.

Team ASD PFDA Convention
Ric attending the Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association Convention with Operations Supervisor, Josie Miller (left) and Account Manager, Sue Fritz (right)

“I had the privilege of working with and becoming friends with RIC as soon as I began working at ASD. We shared our love for music, TV shows and holidays traditions many times over the years. There are countless memories to pick from….concerts, trips to Six Flags, the snowman statue exchange a few of us did every Christmas but my favorite is the Christmas Bark Recipe he made for us many years ago that I now make every Christmas season with my children. Each year when we make it, I send RIC a text to let him know that the tradition is continuing, and I always think of him when we make it.”-Project Director, Lauren Kress, who has worked with Ric for more than 21 years.

“I’ll never forget the day I came into work, maybe a couple of months after I started, and the whole office was writing ‘Happy 40th Birthday’ notes on Post-Its. I am not sure whose idea it was, but they covered Ric’s entire car with them! I remember thinking at the time how much everyone must love him to do something that fun and memorable to celebrate his birthday. It just shows what type of leader he is – that he inspired everyone enough they came up with such a creative idea to surprise him.”-Public Relations Specialist, Jessica Farren, who has worked with Ric for over 20 years.

“I have enjoyed working with Ric over the last 20 years. He has been a wonderful mentor for me throughout my career. My fondest memory is of our time going to the city for the flower show. We would meet early and take the train. It was the intimate conversations between him and us managers during these times that created a bond of friendship outside of work.”-Operations Manager, Jennie Brown, who has worked with Ric for 20 years.

ASD Operations Leadership team.
Ric with Operations Managers, Sharon Batten, Linda Haas and Jennie Brown at an ASD Christmas Luncheon

“I enjoy seeing him during ASD events, because he is always pleasant, interacts with everyone and makes staff feel appreciated and valued as an employee. I’m honored to work with Ric.”-Training Call Specialist, Myrna Torres, who has worked with Ric for more than 17 years.

“My favorite memory from working with RIC is when we used to talk on Sunday mornings. We used to talk about music, awards shows, etc. It was always great to talk to him because he had a way of making everyone feel special, even the staff. It’s nice to have a Director of Operations who knows you so well.”-Customer Service Team Manager, Anne O’Reilly, who has worked with Ric for over 16 years.

“Some of my favorite memories of Ric were at different meetings when words would get mispronounced such a “skewd’ and “dwadle” as well as all of the ASD volunteer events.”-Operations Manager, Lori Meehan, who has worked with Ric for over 11 years. 

“It has been great working closely with Ric since moving to my current position. From the moment he formally offered me the role he has made it a point to support me in my growth and knowledge in the company and has become a great mentor and ally.”-Hiring Supervisor, Andrew Troutt, who has worked with Ric for more than 11 years.

Team ASD Volunteer Clean Up
Ric with Operations Manager, Sharon Batten, Operations Supervisor, Josie Miller and Hiring Supervisor, Andrew Troutt at our 2017 Community Clean Up Volunteer Event

“A favorite memory that comes to mind from recently, during the last food truck event at ASD I got to see Ric make his first shot in bean bag toss lol Never played before and no practice, first toss, it was awesome!”-Hiring Supervisor, Margarite Wilbon, who has worked with Ric for over 9 years.

“When I first started with ASD, I lived in Center City. It was my birthday, and the pope was in Philadelphia. This meant I could not go home because the highways were closed. Ric and Sharon bought me a birthday cake so that I could celebrate my birthday. I will never forget how touching this was! It showed me that I was valued beyond just being an employee. I still keep the decorations that were on top of the cake as a reminder.”-HR Administrator, TJ Hopson, who has worked with Ric for more than nine years.

“Ric was a vital part in my transition from a Call Specialist to a Supervisor. I remember the old days in the office when he would come stand next to me and take the time to teach me things. I learned so much from him during that time together.”-Operations Supervisor, Michael Maurer, who has worked with Ric for over 8 years.

Team ASD Employee Appreciation Food Truck Event
Ric hanging out with our HR team at our most recent Team ASD Food Truck Event.

“Ric is one of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting at ASD. He always has a smile and has always made me feel valued and welcome at ASD. Always has a kind word and is always helpful and positive!”Operations Assistant Suprvisor, Lynn DiStefano, who has worked with Ric for more than 5 years.

“When I returned to ASD after my sister’s passing, Mr. Ric was very understanding and fair to my needs. During my time of grief, Mr. Ric, Management, and the Supervisors supported me. I am forever thankful and will never forget.”-Operations Assistant Supervisor, Lauren Cellini, who has worked with Ric for over 4 years.

“Ric was very helpful anytime I needed help with anything. There was time I worried about being late for work because my assigned station was still being used. Ric assured me that would not be the case. I was only a call specialist still learning the system at the time.”-Terrence Townsend, who has worked with Ric for more than 4 years. 

Team ASD Bark in the Park
Ric at our Team ASD Bark in the Park Volunteer Event -Group


Ric’s Impact on Team ASD

Over the span of his four-decade tenure at ASD, Ric has exerted a profound influence on our team at all organizational levels.

“Ric has always been a great source of following the rules and standards. I have always enjoyed watching him share his knowledge and experiences with our Supervisors.” -Operations Manager, Sharon Batten, who has worked with Ric for more than 32 years. 

Ric at our Team ASD Bark in the Park Volunteer Event with Finance Manager, Dara Dix, Operations Supervisor, Sue Norbeck, and Operations Manager, Sharon Batten

“Ric is one of the most dedicated people I know. He is very committed to his own health and is an inspiration to anyone who ever wants to walk a treadmill! His unwavering support of ASD through every trauma and storm we have ever experienced is phenomenal. We are blessed to have him as a leader for our organization. I treasure a plaque he once gave me that I have on display in my office called, “I Appreciate You.” The poem is very moving and I hope he knows my feeling are reciprocal.”-Treasurer and Family-Member Owner, Kathy Kelley. 

“I’ve been amazed to see Ric grow into his position as our company has grown. There are no classes or universities that specialize in how to run an answering service just for the funeral profession. I think Ric could teach a master’s course on it at this point. He has been with ASD at every stage helping us to transition into the company we are today.”-CSO and Family-Member Owner, Kevin Czachor.

“Ric is truly a dedicated person who ALWAYS gives his very best.  Ric started at ASD as an Operator, worked his way up to Supervisor, to Manager, to Director of Operations.  It seems there is NOTHING Ric cannot achieve.”-CTO and Family-Member Owner, Marty Czachor Jr. 

“Ric has been a great mentor over the years”- Sales Office Manager, Stephanie Bradford, who has worked with Ric for over 29 years.

Team ASD ICCFA 2015
Ric attending the 2015 ICCFA Convention with Team ASD

“Ric has taught me how to cut down my emails and letters to just focus on what the issue or resolution. Get to the point and just address the issue at hand. This has helped me through my years here at ASD. Ric helps anyone who needs it. Even if it’s not his direct department. He tries to understand what you are looking to do and gives advice on how he would handle.”-Finance Manager, Dara Dix, who has worked with Ric for more than 26 years.

“Ric was always a constant in my early years at ASD. He could be counted on for smiling face when I arrived at work or for a fun conversation about music or TV. His support and friendship is something I will always cherish. His faith in me as a person and employee is one of the main reasons I was able to succeed at ASD.”-Project Director, Lauren Kress, who has worked with Ric for over 21 years.

“Ric is the reason I began working at ASD at the age of 17. I was out of work at the time and he referred me to ASD. What I expected to be a temporary position turned into a full-time career.” –Customer Service Account Manager, Sue Fritz, who has worked with Ric for more than 21 years.

Team ASD Christmas Luncheon
Ric at our annual ASD Christmas Luncheon

“Ric knows how to bring out the best in people and challenge you to strive to the next level. He will always make time for those who need him and gives great advice.  Ric has always wanted the best for ASD and its staff. He encourages everyone to be the best they can be and inspiration to all.”-Operations Operations Manager, Linda Haas, who has worked with Ric for over 22 years.

“Ric has given me a multitude of knowledge that I find myself using daily. He’s an excellent mentor who always brings new perspectives when I’m struggling with account setup. He is always there to lend an ear and give me invaluable advice.”-Customer Service Team Manager, Anne O’Reilly, who has worked with Ric for more than 16 years.

“Ric is a great mentor and support to all of Operations. His dedication and longevity is something to be proud of. He offers guidance to all and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to running Operations.”-Operations Manager, Lori Meehan, who has worked with Ric for more than 11 years.

Ric after receiving his ASD Milestone Award in 2017

“I remember early on in my supervisory career being insecure about how quickly I was adjusting the schedule when leading. I asked Ric about it and he reassured me the graph was still very tricky for some who had been here for many years and that I was doing fine. I was always grateful for that boost of confidence from the director. Even now, as a hiring and scheduling supervisor his advice and guidance on most projects is invaluable to say the least.” -Hiring Supervisor, Margarite Wilbon, who has worked with Ric for over 9 years.

He reminds me constantly what it means to be a leader. Ric shows his leadership through his actions. He won’t ask someone to do what he wouldn’t do himself. He is the first to roll up his sleeves and jump in when help is needed. A prime example of this was during covid, Ric was right there in the trenches with us the whole time. I appreciate him greatly for this!”-Operations Supervisor, Michael Maurer, who has worked with Ric for more than 8 years.

“I was fortunate to work in house. Ric always greeted you with a smile and asked how you were doing. He is very personable and approachable. He is genuine and very committed to ASD. I always enjoyed the camaraderie between Ric and Sharon also.”-Training Call Specialist, Debra Tonuci-Olivierie, who has worked with Ric for over 5 years.

“When I joined ASD, one of the aspects I admired most was your longevity and dedication to this company. I am proud to work and learn under your leadership. Your leadership influences me to strive in my career every day.”-Operations Assistant Supervisor, Lauren Cellini, who has worked with Ric for over 4 years.

Team ASD Cradle to Crayons
Ric taking part in our Team ASD Cradle to Crayons Volunteer Event


40 Years – Countless Lives Touched

A few messages our staff wanted to share with Ric on his 40th anniversary. 

I couldn’t imagine a better Director, Friend, or Supporter than Ric. ASD has been blessed with his 40 devoted years of service. Congratulations Ric, the best is yet to come!” -Operations Manager, Sharon Batten, who has worked with Ric for more than 32 years.

“Thank you for your dedication to our business and to the profession!”-CSO and Family-Member Owner, Kevin Czachor. 

“Operations runs very smoothly because of Ric’s efforts.  And I truly appreciate knowing Operations is in very good hands!”-CTO and Family-Member Owner, Marty Czachor Jr. 

“Congratulations on reaching an incredible milestone – 40 years of dedicated service to ASD! Your journey is nothing short of inspiring and your achievements stand as a testament to your unwavering commitment to the success of our organization. The stories I’ve heard from my relatives about your experiences only highlight the depth of your dedication and the hurdles you’ve overcome along the way. Your legacy is not just in the sheer numbers of calls handled or employees managed, but in the lives you’ve touched, the careers you’ve shaped, and the positive work culture you’ve cultivated. Cheers to 40 years of excellence, leadership, and inspiration. May the future bring you continued success as you lead us into a bright and promising future. Once again, congratulations, Ric! Your dedication is truly commendable and we are fortunate to have you as a leader and mentor.”-Technical Analyst, Jessica Czachor. 

Ric at our annual ASD Christmas Luncheon

“Ric is a wonderful artist and I know he has gifted many of his cherished drawings and paintings to staff members although I’ve never received one. (hint, hint!)”- -Treasurer and Family-Member Owner, Kathy Kelley.

“Happy 40th Work Anniversary, Ric! Your dedication and leadership at ASD is seen by all. You’ve not only steered us through many challenges over the years but also taught us the true value of empathy, treating employees fairly, and the importance of giving recognition to staff. Thank you for being a remarkable leader! “-Financial Planning Analyst, Melissa McNamara.

“Congratulations, Ric, on your 40th anniversary with ASD – a milestone celebrating four decades of commitment and exceptional service. It’s not just a reflection of time but a testament to your inspirational leadership and the indelible impact you’ve had on all of us. Looking back on the incredible 22 years I’ve had the privilege of working alongside you, I am filled with gratitude for your support throughout the years. As we celebrate this momentous occasion, I just want to say a heartfelt thank you. Here’s to the memories we’ve shared, the challenges we’ve overcome, and the successes achieved. Your 40 years with the ASD have been nothing short of extraordinary, and it’s been an honor to be a part of that journey. Wishing you a happy work anniversary and a heartfelt thank you for all you do. ”-Operations Manager, Linda Haas, who has worked with Ric for over 22 years.

Ric at our Team ASD Bark in the Park Volunteer Event

“Congratulations Ric on your 40th work anniversary! That’s a remarkable achievement worth celebrating. Thank you for your leadership, mentorship, and friendship over the years. May the next chapter be as remarkable as the last, filled with continued success. Cheers to the next 40 years!-Strategic Account Manager, Susan Daleandro, who has worked with Ric for more than 22 years. 

“Congratulations !! Thank you for your dedication, friendship and loyalty!”-Senior Call Specialist, Ann Marie Callahan, who has worked with Ric for over 21 years.

“Congratulations on 40 years!!”- –Customer Service Account Manager, Sue Fritz, who has worked with Ric for more than 21 years.

“Ric, your dedication to this company and your work ethics are so admirable. We all appreciate your handwork and dedication to ASD. Keep up the good work and continue to inspire us. Congratulations on your 40th Anniversary!”-Training Call Specialist, Myrna Torres, who has worked with Ric for over 17 years.

“From his work ethic and dedication on the job to personal creative endeavors, Ric has been an inspiration for many years. And without his long time contributions, ASD could not hope to be the same. So to (what some would call lol) our fearless leader, thank you!! And happy 40th anniversary!!!”-Hiring Supervisor, Margarite Wilbon, who has worked with Ric for over 9 years.

“This place wouldn’t be what it is without you. Thank you for paving the way for all of us!”-Operations Supervisor, Michael Maurer, who has worked with Ric for more than 8 years.

“Thank you, Ric, for making my time at ASD enjoyable and for making ASD such a great place to work!”-Operations Assistant Supervisor, Lynn DiStefano, who has worked with Ric for over 5 years.

“Happy 40th Anniversary Mr. Ric! Congratulations on your milestone and lifetime achievement at ASD!”-Operations Assistant Supervisor, Lauren Cellini, who has worked with Ric for more than 4 years.

Congratulations Ric  on 40 years with ASD! Your dedication and contribution to our team are truly appreciated. We’re grateful for all the support you provide to our ASD family. Wishing you continued inspiration and success in the years ahead!

Related Reading

Operations Manager, Sharon Batten, Celebrates 30 Years with ASD
ASD’s Longest-Tenured Employee, Bill D’Orazio, to Retire After 50 Years of Remarkable Service
Answering Service for Directors – 50 Years…and Going Strong


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