Baron Colucci, from what planet did you come?
I come from the humanitarian planet.
Let’s play a game: if they asked you to give away everything in this room and to carry only one item, what would you choose?
The heart is the most essential part of the life of a man who has worked over the years.
Is there an object in this room that better than any other testifies to your heart?
The thought of what I have done.
Who is Baron Colucci?
Baron Colucci is a person who saw the horizon when young, there he has understood that behind every horizon there is another horizon.
You are the son of farmers who at some point chose sea life. You were a sea captain, and you have traveled the world and seen many countries: how did you found yourself to manage a plastics industry?
I was born under a tree and grew up in the countryside. The campaign has forged my character, my way of thinking, my way of expressing myself and it was a great gift for me.
Earlier you said that the most important part in this room is your heart: what else did it give to your heart being born under a tree?
In short, I would like to answer your question by saying that each of us when we are born has a chance that is to believe in life and begin to grow. I have always thought that in every person there is a captain and this captain must be discovered and expressed.
What does that mean in concrete terms?
We must give enthusiasm to life, this is the most important wish that I address to young people, to the young people of
today who will be the men of the future. Growing up in the countryside, I have acquired the experience and the ability
to move forward. I understood that my destiny was not only to live the agriculture and so I chose to enroll to the institute
captains of long course.
What has the sea given you?
The sea has given me a lot: first of all the strength, the experience, the courage to take risks. If a person is not able to
take risks, he will never have the ability to progress.
The progress in your life is all in an invention of a polyethylene pipe that today is used all over the world in agriculture for irrigation purposes: tell me how this intuition was born?
I thought that agriculture was a very important sector in human life, a sector that lays the foundations for the economy
of a country. Being the son of a direct farmer I wanted to do something important for agriculture: I realized that the countryside was irrigated in a rudimentary way and at that time I realized that it was possible to do something better. I designed the first polyethylene pipe that could irrigate the heads of the vineyards and any other tree and vegetable cultivation.
From the countryside to the countryside, passing through the sea: how did you transform this intuition in a successful enterprise?
It was not a difficult thing for me. Thanks to my curiosity and initiative, I was able to develop this project. When I invented the first polyethylene pipe for field irrigation, I had already abandoned the sea route, although with some regret. I put into practice the study of plastic materials that were in vogue more than fifty years ago: in particular, I thought that a plastic pipe, more specifically made of polyethylene, could be extruded for irrigation use. So, through my various experiences, I started to build this pipe: I immediately advertised it in the various catalogues, then I went to the most important fairs in Europe: there I realized that many people to whom I had to sell my pipes took my catalogues away to copy my product. They did well because
in doing so they created the conditions for a significant development of agriculture not only in Italy, but throughout the world. Obviously I must also say that the president of Edison Raul Gardini also gave me a big hand in fine-tuning the raw materials.
How do you get so big?
This is a very simple question: success requires commitment, determination, perseverance and insistence. There’s a proverb that says, “If you insist and persist, you reach and conquer”. I was one of them.
There is a person or an episode in your life that contributed to the growth of your company?
There were many people who contributed to the development of this activity, but I was the one who really made the leap in quality. In everything we do in this company we put first the heart. In fact so doing no one comes here to work, they all come to have fun, to enjoy, to love their own lives through work. That’s what we can see and hear in this company.
You donate a cheque of 6 thousand euros to employees who have a child, even in this there is your heart.
I believe that respecting, considering and appreciating workers is an opportunity to convenience for the entrepreneur. We, as a public benefit economic institution, cannot avoid operating with resources that then bring benefits to the company. In this sense, the “birth prize” of 6,000 euros promotes the generational development of our company. Our thought is that this company, like all companies, should continue to exist in the future, so we create the conditions for its generational growth: if I give a prize to one of my employees for the birth I’m already thinking that the unborn child, that son, may become useful for
the continuation of the same company. The transfer of witnesses takes placethrough people who have made the company grow and supported it. People who have worked for some years in the company have the right to also give their children their job.
Speaking of children and generations, you brought your children here to the company…
That’s normal, that’s natural.
How did this transition happen?
Quietly, peacefully, consciously and dutifully.
What do your children think of you, is there anything to reproach you?
I don’t know, I don’t think they have any blame for me. Maybe sometimes they tell me that I take too much care of the company, they would like to be more and more in the front line.
And what do you say to them?
I think that when one day I will hug my children and feel that they have surpassed me, that day I will be the happiest
man in the world and I will be able to abandon everything to go beyond. Afterlife.
At the age of 81, you still look like a solid, stubborn, smiling person. Are you afraid of the afterlife?
Absolutely not. I have made my way, I have made my story, I no longer need to live. I just need to leave everything in peace knowing that our company can continue to exist for decades to come. I operate as if I were to die tomorrow, I think as if I were never to die.
Maybe that’s why you love making donations, it’s a way to leave a memory of yourself.
Through a donation I make a charity, but I can also make a charity through a job interview. I believe that a person
does the story when he/she writes a book, makes a child and plants a tree. I have done all three of these things. I leave a story that is evident, not emblematic, not dreamy, not imaginary: mine is a story that touches itself and is obvious. Everything you see here is a story that remains. I have created monuments that will remain in the millennia to come. My life is a life of stories that remain in history.
Do you have some regrets, something you would have liked to do and you have not managed yet?
Well, I can’t think of any regrets. My father wanted to rest in a noble chapel and I made it for him.
You have also touched on politics, you were candidate for mayor in Monopoli, how do you remember that experience of yours?
I had a great desire to be able to make a considerable contribution to society.
What didn’t work?
I realized that unfortunately the Constitution of the Italian Republic sometimes does not allow us to make a respectable contribution, as did our ancestors who grew up with the principle of serving the Nation. Today, however, politicians work to take advantage of the Fatherland, and this is not good for me.
Among other things, at a certain point you also wrote a book…
In reality I’ve written several operas… My books talk about a captain and tell life stories. “ Economy of non-existent development” sold 20,000 copies throughout Italy. I wrote them to give young people a point of reference, like a lighthouse for navigators.
How do you spend your free time beyond work?
Work is my fun. Then I’m also a swimming champion, when I have time, sometimes I go to the beach.
You recently launched the “ Profession mom “ initiative suggesting a monthly financial support to Italian mothers based on the number of children. You never fail to celebrate the woman as a mother.
Woman is very important in the life of a man but she is not only wife, friend or collaborator of the man, she is above all a mother and it is in that sense that she should be considered. Mainly the woman is the mother of humanity, the creator of life. Let’s not forget it.
Just a few months ago, you lost an important woman in your life, your daughter. How do you deal with the pain?
Losing a daughter is unimaginable pain. Pain is faced with the Christian faith. Unfortunately, this is what God wanted
and we must believe.
Would you mind answering my curiosity and explain me why there’s this telescope in front of the window?
It’s a gift I got fro m my employees.You must know that every year I celebrate my birthday and even my name day. So it happens that my collaborators invariably come to my office twice a year to wish me luck by giving me something: once they gave me the telescope as a gift, another time they gave me a lectern, a pen. I don’t buy anything anymore; my workers have this heart and I accept it.
Now I have to ask you a silly question, but it buzzes in my head and I have to ask it to you. I’ve seen a lot of photos of you until a few years ago without beard… there’s a reason why you decided to grow such a thick beard?
When over the years a man becomes an adult, he has to demonstrate his life experience, he has to testify his culture
also through the story of a lived person. And the beard represents the lived life of a veteran, of an old sailor who made
history. That’s why the beard. You didn’t know, now you do.
The medals you wear to your chest, instead, what do they represent for you?
They are a confirmation. They are the testimony of institutions such as the Holy Faith and the Italian Republic, of how in the course of my life I have really built something and not just spoken.
Are you worried about this trend of “plastic-free”? How do you see your company in future with these requests?
For starting, it has to be said that plastic has become something necessary in people’s lives. More than eliminating plastic completely, people should be educated to be much more respectful of waste. We cannot throw waste into the sea or into the street: the solution lies in civic education and knowing how to use packaging intelligently. Today, packaging has become a luxury, it costs more than the product itself. While it is true that the environment must be protected, it is also true that it is not easy to do without plastic. Betting on products that are not made from plastic means that we should destroy more forests.
Finally, what message would you like to leave to the young people in this interview?
I’ve already said it: we have to say young people that in each of them there is a captain, they just have to find it out.
But you didn’t say how to find out.
Be enthusiastic about life and be ambitious. The captain is in charge, he’s the captain of himself, he’s inside of you, find out, damn it! Don’t be absent, don’t be discouraged, don’t be disoriented, don’t be desperate, that is, hopeless.
Last question: what’s beyond?
In my company beyond there is always growth. Today I have done more than yesterday, but I have also done less than tomorrow: that’s what prosperity is all about. Beyond that there is perseverance, there is commitment, there is the faith to believe that there is a future.