How would you expect an interview with a person who is about to retire after 52 years and six months of work in the same company to start?
Certainly without hearing the word apprentice, decidedly more natural coming from a young boy who is starting his first job. Instead, Antonio Battanoli, who spent a lifetime at Calpeda and the last 12 years as plant manager, starts right there, demonstrating his enthusiasm for work and his continual desire to learn, feeling himself as being part of a team that works together to reach a common objective. These values are shared extensively at Calpeda, at each level and above all, by those who cover important leading roles.
“I’m the apprentice of Gianfranco Frighetto, who was plant manager for 40 years,” said Battanoli. “I could have stopped working in 2004, but at that point Frighetto was about to retire and he chose me to take his place. There was such a synergy between us that we understood each other immediately, so when I was asked to stay it was natural to accept and take over his role.”
While going over his life at Calpeda, Battanoli returns to his first day at work: “It was 1st December 1964 and my time card was number 25. Thinking about those early years, there are so many memories that I wouldn’t even know which one to start with: from the satisfaction of receiving my first wage slip to the scooter I used to travel to and from work, to a special memory tied to the founder, Vinicio Mettifogo. The evening before he passed away he asked me to accompany him home, but unfortunately I had lost my driver’s licence so I couldn’t.”
They are personal, emotional memories, to which those tied to the growth of the company can be added.
“In the 1970s I worked in the Times and methods, design, tools and die Office; it was new then, something that Vinicio Mettifogo and Gianfranco Frighetto had seen at Officine Pellizzari and that they wanted to recreate at Calpeda with even more conviction. Calpeda philosophy and its industrial approach started right there, in the heart of the factory. The big change came during the 1980s, when numeric control was introduced. Frighetto gave me the job of understanding its new language, and of taking it to the company, helping the heads of the different departments to grow. From that moment onwards, the development of programming, numeric control machine tools and robotised islands was continuous.”
Quality and delivery times have always been the strong points of a company that has never stopped developing.
“Change does not frighten me, so right from the start I never said no to anything,” continued Battanoli. “Even when things work well, you always have to keep your mind open to innovation. Quality, for example, is increasingly more coded today, no longer an aspect entrusted to the knowledge of individual people but a system of coded procedures.”
“It seems strange,” finished Battanoli, “but I feel as if I started at Calpeda yesterday, probably because it feels like home to me. Now that I’m retiring, I’m happy because I know that my replacement, Massimo Taroni, has the situation fully under control.”
So, are you going to rest after more than 50 years of work?
“First of all I’m going on holiday, but in July I’ll be busy with the Italian Absolute Ballroom Dancing Championship, and in 2018 I’ll be concentrating on the World Championship in Japan.”
Thank you Antonio, and good luck with your next challenges!