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Larry O'Toole , President and Founder

Larry O'TooleA native of Ireland and 1973 engineering graduate of Northeastern University, Larry O'Toole was a rising executive at Eaton Corporation when he quit his job to "escape corporate slavery" and pursue his writing interests while investigating the possibilities of starting a light manufacturing company.

On a quest for start up cash, Larry was urged by his friends to add moving to his list of odd jobs. At 6' 6" (the original Gentle Giant!), moving was a natural fit for his physical strength and his commitment to a job well done.

In 1980, Larry founded Gentle Giant Moving Company with a friend
's borrowed truck and a $17 investment: a one-time ad in the Boston Phoenix newspaper. He felt strongly that Boston sorely needed an infusion of quality into the moving industry and, in 1984, committed himself fully to that mission.


As noted in the company mission statement, written by Larry himself, "we treat our employees with respect and compassion, and expect that they will extend the same courtesy to our customers." While the company has grown considerably since those early days, with over 15 offices across the country, Larry has remained committed to the values upon which he established Gentle Giant.

A rower since college, Larry is competitive, disciplined, and persistent. A creative problem solver, he prides himself and the company in being able to step in and complete difficult moves with enthusiasm. His efforts have been rewarded, as Larry was recognized for excellence in leadership by the United States Small Business Administration as its 2004 Massachusetts Small Business Person of the Year and the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce as its 2004 Business Person of the Year .

Passionate about health and staying in shape, Larry remains as physically fit as most of his staff, many of whom are elite athletes in their own right. He won his division in 1991 and 2006 and finished in the top five over ten times at the CRASH-B World indoor rowing championships.


Intrigued by any competitive situation, Larry leads new employees from the greater Boston offices in "running the stadium," which involves scaling 37 sets of stairs at Harvard University's roman-style coliseum (Gentle Giant's regional offices have instituted similar traditions around the country). Larry also enjoys challenging employees to competitions on the erg (a stationary rowing machine) at the company picnic and rowing with his staff in Boston's annual Head of the Charles regatta.

 

Outside of work, Larry enjoys running, biking, reading, watching films, and spending time with his wife and three children.