An open letter from PICCO president, Mike Picco: “We faced many unexpected obstacles in and despite these, under the previous leadership of Bob Zavagno, we continued to raise the bar for the NSI.
After graduating from McMaster University with a degree in Civil Engineering, my first job was with a structural engineering firm that serviced, amongst others, clients in the precast and stone industry. I very soon realized that there was something special about the people in the stone industry. They demonstrated a passion that resonated with me in a more significant way than I experienced with
other industries. I was quickly attracted to the stone industry and never turned back. My parents come from the northeastern province of Friuli, Italy, very close to the world renown mosaic school in Spilimbergo. Maybe there is something in the genes the led me to the stone industry. In 1992, I established #PICCOEngineering with a focus on servicing this sector. From a one man show, and with the support of some long-standing employees, we have grown the company to a staff of
approximately 40 and continue to focus on the stone and cladding industry.
When I kicked off the 2020 year with our staff (back in November of 2019), my primary message to them was that we need to stay nimble and be able to adapt to change. Boy, did I underestimate that message with what hit us in March—COVID-19! Although it was gradual and escalating, change was something that became an ongoing theme. Every industry was hit with change, some more than others, but as Jim mentions in his note, the NSI was no different. With all live and in person events being cancelled, the method of our service delivery to members needed to change. We shifted and focused our initiatives on enhancing online presence including communication, education, marketing, online auction, virtual Tucker Awards, etc. When we look back at 2020, we can say that new innovations and initiatives were implemented despite the continual and ongoing challenges. In looking forward to 2021, I believe that the learnings from 2020 will make us stronger and allow us to
build and grow on our accomplishments. I believe that the movement towards sustainable building will play to our favour and feel this is an opportunity if we can rally the support of this industry at large.
As President, my goal will be to fill the shoes of many outstanding past Presidents that have led the NSI to becoming the global leading authority in natural stone. I am committed to representing our industry in a professional manner to ensure we continue to grow our presence and educate on the benefits of natural stone within our industry and beyond to the design community.”
Mandi, (in Friuli means “go in the hands of God” or more casually and friendly greeting or goodbye)