What does it mean to have a passion and decide to follow it? For each it means something different and leads to achieve unique goals. Sometimes a vocation is very clear when you are young, other times it arises over the years, or it is some event that leads us to discover it.
Today we look back in time, to understand how FASI Engineering was born and the story of its foundation.
We do this through an interview with its CEO, Roberto di Lonardo, who tells us how his passion for design and the automotive sector developed and what prompted him to found a company that has become a leader in the European market. Today FASI Engineering counts in fact over 30 employees.
How did your career start?
At 18 years, in ‘ 90, I attended the three-year mechanical expert at ITIS Avogadro in Turin with the evening school and in the meantime I worked in a small design office. It all started when the Geometer Camoletto told me “we are giving you a great opportunity, make good use of it and you will see that you will reap the rewards”. He was right.
How did your work experience continue?
After this first experience, in ‘ 91 I started working in UPM, one of the biggest design studios, where I learned what dedication and sacrifice mean.
After only 5 months, I was moved to another department: to the modifications and updating drawings of the dies; I began to get closer to what would become my working career.
But it is in 1992 that I started my way as a metal sheet die designer in the automotive sector, a job that I still do today after 28 years with the same passion, desire and determination that I had at the beginning of my run.
Enrico Gallo, one of the best metal sheet die designers in Turin, provided me with the passion and the desire to learn. I said “Enrico, you have to teach me everything you know.” He had the ability to explain any topic and make it understandable with handmade drawings that were real art pieces. I started working 15 hours a day, Saturdays and Sundays, continuously, always with him.
It was not work, it was a game. I wanted to know and do more and more complex and special things.
What to say, I had started my career and had not yet fully understood it.
So the work experience at UPM was significant, and how did the idea of embarking on a new path come about?
Soon begins my challenge to have my own studio. I knew that the road was long but I was determined. That’s why I did everything to be able to work with the best technicians that the market could make available to me.
In 1998 the opportunity I was looking for was presented, working in a die making workshop, in a major company in Turin, SAT Spa. This experience was useful in consolidating what I had already learned.
Do you remember the first major project you were involved in?
Sure! I followed the development of the Alfa Romeo 156 Sport Wagon, a unique experience that allowed me to grow professionally. In SAT I had the opportunity to compare myself with the workshop and I learned to relate to people and insiders.
And now we come to the foundation of FASI!
Exactly. In 2002 SAT closed and for me it was the year of the breakthrough: I worked in the evening in the attic of my house. After a few months, the customers increased and I decided to open an office in Santena with four employees.
In 2005 the number of employees had risen to 7 and we moved to Rivoli. In a few years we have reached 30 employees.
In 2007 I took the opportunity to acquire a polystyrene model building company, ADP. The administrator was Alessandro Pinto with whom we decided to embark on a new path together and to open TMP, dedicated to the construction of polystyrene models for foundries.
However, my idea had always been to create a complete product engineering studio. To make it, only one piece was missing: the design of assembly and welding equipment.
In September 2008 FASI increased from 30 to 45 employees!
In November 2008, however, the global financial crisis changes my programs … so much that in January 2009 FASI completely stops its activities. Two years of great sacrifices followed before, in 2011, FASI moved from Rivoli to Turin, 3 km far from Fiat, with the desire to start a new challenge from zero, opening up to the German, French and American market. It then begins a gradual growth from a professional, economic and visibility point of view.
What are the values of FASI today?
We believe in training, a necessity for the upcoming, because if there is no value there is no growth; if there is no growth there is no progress; if there is no progress there is no future. Training is the basis of our DNA!
We also give big importance to research & development and to an important consolidation on export that weighs 40% on turnover and that convinced us in 2018 to open a representative office in Germany, in Munich, crossroad of important car manufacturers.
Prior to COVID-19 FASI was continuing its growth as planned. We found ourselves having to make a change of course: in two days, like many of us, we switched to smart-working and shifts. But it was a discovery, because we understood that even in negative moments great opportunities are hidden, you just have to find them and that is what we are doing and will do for years to come!