When you meet someone like Silvio Rossignoli who tells you that he is a “lucky man”, listen carefully because he is a person from whom you can learn many things. We all go through tough times and despair, there is no perfect life, but someone who can find positivity even in adversity is someone who understands the secret of life.
I heard him speak at a meeting of Lazio Region where he participated in the representation of small businesses in Lazio. He was the last speaker but he was the one who spoke to the hearts. It was clear that alongside great technical skills there was a deep love for the role he was representing. His speech was an apology for entrepreneurs and small businesses. I spoke to him and asked for an appointment to learn more about it and we met the day after.
So Silvio told me that he is lucky for the creative work he did when he was a young graduate in aeronautical engineering , to be employed in a large company such as GE and then to have abandoned the world of big firms from whom he learned discipline and methodology. He told of being lucky to have re-started studying to learn how to be a ‘trainer’ and he put his heart into understanding how to convey concepts. To explain ‘quality’ he enjoyed making two comic books with Bruno Bozzetto. Not bad for an engineer, a discipline that still recalls boring stereotypes.
Then he says he has been lucky again to return to work in high technology as a consultant for a great British company for which he played the creative role of ‘healing’ companies. Taking companies in crisis but with potential, then making them competitive and putting them back into the market. One of the most complex and exciting jobs, where the challenges are technological, economic, but also human.
Finally he says he is lucky because going to work in one of these companies in Aprilia he fell in love with the technology and decided to become an entrepreneur. This is how Aero Sekur entered into his life and he started his ‘third’ working life as an entrepreneur in technological fabrics.
“I was fascinated by fabrics for philosophical reasons and for the creative stimuli that they give me. A fabric by its nature is connected to the concept of protection. It is the first protection for almost every man on earth, clothes envelop us, they hide and protect us from the elements and from the people’s looks. And this sense of protection increases with technological fabrics, we can think of parachute or lifebuoy at sea. Think of airbags in cars … and more creativity has to be explored.”
His company is based in Aprilia but rapidly expanding in other regions, whenever he finds stimuli for new applications or new creative skills to be combined.
“Instead of a multinational company we are a multi-regional and the story that I find everywhere fascinates me. It is not only the history but the technical knowledge that in Italy has been consolidated in some geographical areas and districts, and that still resists industrial dismantling. I like to look for these centres of knowledge to combine with our work on tissues.”
In fact the company has been created around two concepts: tissues and air. I had visited his company a few years ago with the university and I was impressed by what they could do by confining air. Starting with the most obvious applications such as support for helicopters or to the implementation of protective shelters up to the greenhouses for the cultivation of ‘food for space’. In fact, the Aero Sekur works in agrospace, i.e. forms of agriculture compatible with extreme situations, to produce the food for the Mars colonists.
I found myself in Aprilia, in an area that certainly cannot be considered among the most beautiful in Italy, in a small business not well known to the public and the technicians of this enterprise showed me how they thought of building a greenhouse for the planet Mars. And they were making it! I asked to be able to sample the salad that grows in these special greenhouses and I am in a queue (but I have a chance to enjoy this experience soon after).
“On the other hand if we really want to have a colony on Mars we need to think about how to grow food on this planet. We need to be independent. And to do this was born the concept of agrospace. We analyze the local situation and try to create a structure able to maintain the earth conditions that allow certain crops, like the hydroponic cultivation.”
It seems a trivial sentence, yet I’m sure that many of my technicians friends will have immediately started to think about how to solve the problem. I think anyone with competence and a technical curiosity would like to challenge himself with these problems. Well, for all these technologists who are lovers of the future they can join the biennial agrospace conference dedicated to agrospace and ‘Food for Space’ organized by Silvio Rossignoli and Aero Sekur. A meeting attended by scholars and technicians from all over the world and which is in its 7th edition in Sperlonga, a pearl of the Lazio coast. I am putting it right now into my calendar and I will go there.
How many surprises and stimuli in such a brief meeting that I tried not to end. My curiosity does not stop because today on the Silvio’s card it is written ‘Federlazio‘ and I wonder how he did this transition: from his own so creative and expanding business the role of president of an important association of companies. What prompted him to move away from a world that is still so much fun (and I understand it from the tone of voice and the look in his eyes).
“I am 71 years old and my company had to learn to walk alone. I would never be able to leave my staff if I had stayed too close. The temptation to continue to be the main character of the research and to do the daily choices would be too great. So I turned away by engaging in Federlazio. I’m lucky, I can now use the skills learned when I was a business consultant and trainer.”
And I’m sure that soon there will be some important news because the pragmatic optimism of Silvio and his deep love for the entrepreneur (and his role in society) are contagious.