Sergio Luciano

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"This is Italy": the Italy of entrepreneurial excellence, of design but also of technological quality and of an admired and emulated lifestyle: an Italy that - it was talked about in New York at the Intesa San Paolo (Isp) headquarters in Down Town - exported goods and services for 40 billion dollars in 2017, with a surplus of 25 billion, a true historical record.

The 2018 edition of "This is Italy" started under the aegis of Panorama and in the presence of the Italian Consul Francesco Genuardi in the beautiful historical headquarters of Isp - in William Street, not far from landmarks such as Ground Zero and Wall Street, where still stands the legendary logo of the Italian Commercial Bank, absorbed for some time in the group.

To discuss it, an exceptional quartet led by Nicola Porro who, after the presentation by Panorama director Raffaele Leone - "This is an opportunity to remember the historic Italy-USA friendship, with success and excellence stories" - reminded a professional audience what it means, today, to be and remain Italian entrepreneurial excellences in New York, that is, in the world.

Already the introduction of Biagio Calabrese, general manager of the Isp hub in New York is very significant: "We are proud", he said, "of the good work we are doing here for the Italian economy and for Italian companies, which are constantly becoming more significant and competitive". "We are living very dynamic days", said Consul Genuardi, "because every day we see how Italy is a privileged and very strong partner for the United States. For example, in the next few days Fancy Food, the most important American food and wine fair, will open and for the first time there will be 320 Italian exhibitors: never before seen before, a sign of the vitality and economic dynamism of our country".

The time has come for a review of the interventions made by Nicola Porro, giving the floor to Costantino Baldissara, Sales and Operations Director of the Grimaldi Group. The manager recalls that North America is essential for the operation of the fleet - which boasts a total of 130 ships - because it has long been a supplier to the American car giants: Ford, General Motors and of course Fca. "It's no coincidence that the latest generation of ships entering service have been given names of American cities: the Great New York, inaugurated a few weeks ago, then the Great Baltimore and the Great New Jersey, and again ships named after Texas, California, Houston".

In Grimaldi's plans, of course, there is the development of the service to the automotive industry, in which sea transport is and will be the lion's share and that already today accounts for a third of global turnover, between the Mediterranean, Americas and Africa: "We have grown a lot in the last 20 years, and we have found a new way of doing business: before us cars in Europe travelled on trucks and trains".

From the infinitely large cargo ships to the very small and precious high jewellery: it is Vhernier, as Antonio Cipollone tells us, who is the company's CEO in North America and the Caribbean: "In the United States, luxury is synonymous with Italy, and our brand lives this happy identification. We are 100% Italian, but we are present in 22 countries around the world, with 50 boutiques of which 4 in America, flanked by shops in shops and forty-five other points of sale. Our public wants to know everything about the object they choose, a luxury and high-end product, which being the result of high craftsmanship is always a unique piece. And that's what Americans love about Made in Italy and what they consider special: sometimes it's sad to think that in Italy it's not valued enough".

With these premises of excellence and demand there are so many commitments and opportunities for Intesa San Paolo that, as General Manager Biagio Calabrese points out, "supports all Italian companies that want to operate in the USA, from those with a turnover of 1 million to those with a turnover of 10 billion. We have about 200 people here, of many different nationalities, all dedicated to following the Italian clientele, we are flexible, we want to be integral financial partners for our client companies, open the financial markets for them and put them in contact with US investors. At the same time, we are also promoting Italian culture, as we did with the recent exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of the Martyr in Sant'Orsola del Caravaggio".

Last but not least for the density of thought and emotion, it is the turn of the testimony of a self-made-man American born eighty years ago in Palermo, Tommaso Dragotto, founder and president of Sicily By Car, is still the only Italian car rental company with national capital and international presence, with 20 thousand cars and 500 employees in over 60 offices in the country and 4 abroad.  "My Sicily", says Dragotto, who is really an enthusiastic ambassador of his island in the world, "is perhaps the most beautiful that exists on the planet, so I named my company, any other name would have been a betrayal.

Dragotto explains the secret of his success simply: "The market tells us what you have to do and we work to follow its input. I started to do so from the beginning, since I was 16 years old when I started to rent the cars cashing in 2 dollars a day, then with 1 million 300 thousand liras I bought my first used car, a Fiat 1300, and in a few years I managed 800 cars in Sicily, then I opened in Rome and Milan and, in the nineties, agree with Montezemolo my sponsorship of Italy 90.

Innovation and courage, always, could be the keywords of this entrepreneurial success, "which does not stop here - concludes Dragotto - on the contrary: we have just launched the tour of Sicily in an electric car installing a network of thirty charging points in as many historic homes of the island: a new perspective, and all environmentally friendly, to visit the most beautiful land in the world.

© Riproduzione Riservata

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