"I have to admit that when I was asked to become the president of Catas, I was a little surprised ... my work involved me and still involves me a lot, but I felt I had to accept. The fact that I don't like to say no, especially for a reality like Catas, was also important; and moreover, I believe that we all have to do what we can to help the people of these lands, our territory. And finally, let me say, being called to "govern" Catas is an honor that I could not refuse".
We meet Bernardino Ceccarelli in his office. It's a Saturday morning, there are not many cars around: the best time to sit down and think about what it meant to enter the history of the most important European testing laboratory for the wood-furniture sector in an undoubtedly complex season. This period was in fact marked by the disastrous fire that destroyed the "Furniture Laboratory" at the end of 2016. And what, above all, has meant rebuilding it!
"I became president in 2014 and the early days were not easy, because we needed to know each other and find the best way to align our intentions. However, the project was clear, and it is a priority even today: to be stronger on the marketing side. I think this is the most important content of the last few years, the desire to not only to be the best, but to make it known to as many companies as possible, increasing our clients in Italy and all around the world.
We met, we were able to “rounded off a few corners” and made a big change, making all our technicians a little more "marketing-oriented", able not only to help companies for tests, courses or certifications, but also to propose other services, new opportunities, to "sell" Catas.
We have organized this activity; we have also collaborated with some professors coming from the university to better govern this epochal change. The results have proved we were right, defining a series of principles that must always regulate the relationship with the client.
We must prepare all the tools to grow: we cannot be satisfied with the good relationship we have with a giant like Ikea but, for example, look for - as we are doing - new stakeholders in the growing China market...
In the past we have already had experiences of this kind in other countries and we must understand if and how to try again. One thing is certain: we cannot, we must not limit ourselves to teaching others how to do tests or provide them with the equipment we have designed, but always be at the center of every situation, being constantly protagonists".
Catas has known how to conquer the world ...
"Of course! Catas is a reality with enormous skills, capabilities and organization: it deserves even wider stages. It is an example of the "Friuli" style that the world has become to know and appreciate. We could grow even more, that's sure: it is not a coincidence that in the past and even in recent times partnerships, collaborations have been sought and established ... we could make agreements or even get merged with other realities that do our same job, maybe even in the same sector, and this would make us even stronger and able to compete in a market that is truly global.
I think I contributed to bringing a somewhat more open vision to Catas, perhaps because - I admit it - I am from Friuli only by adoption: my origins are in Lazio, where my grandfather married a woman from Friuli and my father did the same falling in love with my mother, a girl from Moruzzo ... and here I am proudly from Friuli, even if in my DNA there is still a trace of the history of my family ”.
President, you had to deal with the fire that destroyed the furniture laboratory in December 2016 ...
"I am the president who had to live one of the ugliest pages in the history of Catas, it's true; but I am also the president who has the honor of cutting the ribbon of the new "Furniture Laboratory", one of the most beautiful pages!
We faced the situation without hesitation, knowing that there was so much to do and in the shortest possible time: the reconstruction cost a lot of efforts, because we wanted to be all part of Catas and elements of this chapter in every step, at any time, in the definition of every detail, in the assignment of each assignment ... together we did a great job, even going as far as to get 700 thousand euros of reduction on a total investment of around four million. If we had not put all our passion in this project, we would not have achieved so brilliant results without any change in the course of the work. What was designed at the beginning was then built, even with some improvements that today allow us say that the new laboratory is a real masterpiece! All with own capital, without resorting to loans or external funding.
If my first mandate served to "understand", the second one had the construction of the "Furniture Laboratory" in the foreground, which I believe represents the most significant chapter of my presidency. The fire could be a really big risk for Catas. We could collapse, be defeated, lose our course but - all together, I would like to underline, and thanks also to the possibility of moving a part of the activities to the Lissone headquarters and renting a nearby building - we continued to work, to test, to meet the needs of our customers.
And we also think about the future: we have purchased a new plot of land of about two thousand square meters that allows us to have more space to design the Catas of the coming decades ".
Always looking ahead ...
"Absolutely! We decided on an important investment, just to give another example, to be even stronger, from January 2020, in the tests on formaldehyde emissions: we must be the first, not the second and we must continue to grow. We cannot stop, because we are an excellence: just look at the history of Catas, how we have been able to transform ourselves and face the whole world, the contribution we have made to the growth of so many companies ...
In these six years I have lived in a vital reality, with a strong managing imprint even if we are talking about a company with public participation, with an evident managerial ability that allows us to make profits!
We just have to look to the future, to the next fifty years with optimism and with all the resources necessary to do even better! ".