For decades, he has been one of the foremost guardians of Made in Italy culture, manufacturing and skill: this last sentence could, in fact, be seen as a succinct summary of Franco Manfredini’s career. And now, to cap it off, he’ll receive - on 22 September at the Tecnargilla fair in Rimini (Sala Neri, 5 p.m.) - the XIV International “Aldo Villa” Award from the Società Ceramica Italiana, to be conferred, as of 2014, during the international fair dedicated to ceramic and heavy clay technology.
Established in 1988 in memory of Aldo Villa – General Manager of Sacmi for nearly twenty years and the first President of the Società – the Award is given every two years to a person who, on account of his/her professionalism, entrepreneurship, flair for continuous innovation and future-oriented policies, has made a significant contribution to the development of the ceramic industry in Italy and the world. Just like Franco Manfredini, who joined Ceramica Casalgrande as a simple employee but rose to the top of the company, successfully implementing a far-sighted policy of takeovers and renewal plans that have kept the firm’s technological heart, output capacity and workforce firmly in the Reggio Emilia area.
A former president of Confindustria Ceramica – a role he covered for 4 years before ceding the post to Vittorio Borelli – Franco Manfredini has distinguished himself excellently by, in the words of the commission, strenuously defending the industry against the scourges of fakes and product dumping: in other words, because he has defended the know-how, skills and output capacity of an industry (and a district) that has played a key role in Italy’s economic boom and can now look to the future confidently (his Casalgrande Padana Group, of which he is President, alone provides work for over 1000 employees, plus at least as many more in allied activities).
The Società Ceramica Italiana’s decision to assign the award, as of this year, in concomitance with the Rimini-held Tecnargilla fair is a purposeful one, a way of enhancing the international visibility of an award that has, for over 25 years, promoted not only the output but, above all, the “culture” of ceramics, together with those protagonists– artists, businesspeople, researchers– who have, in turn, been its most effective proponents. It’s no chance occurrence, then, that the award ceremony will see, starting at 5 p.m., key industry players – from Fabio Tarozzi of Acimac to Vittorio Borelli of Confindustria Ceramica, from the CEO of Sacmi, Paolo Mongardi, to the President of the Società Ceramica Italiana, Paolo Zannini – debate the topic “Ceramic Industry – Local Industry – Internationalisation”. Also participating will be the Minister of Employment and Social Policy, Giuliano Poletti. At the end of the debate the prize will be awarded to Franco Manfredini who, thanks to energy and entrepreneurship, has done much to make these three factors a successful alliance.