A low, sometimes anonymous, building built in the 1970s to house the offices of one of the many small and medium-sized businesses that have urbanized the Northeast from the miracle in image and likeness, the one he built for a couple of decades his myth about the cutlery and the visionary talents of the visionary entrepreneur, of the pause that with stubbornness and intuition shapes his own life and the territory that surrounds him.
The address is also a whole program: via del lavoro 7, a step away from the motorway, part of the table surface in the middle of the room and for an orange chair. Only one, at the head of the table, in the middle of a dozen black chairs.
“It’s not the president’s favorite, on the contrary, he always sits among us, where there is room,” said the collaborators of Armando Donazzan, 51, a father of five and head of a group that has more than 1,000 workers, 180 million euros. turnover and include ten companies in the same holding company.
The Northeast Panther
And to think that it all started in 1971 when Leone Donazzan started the electromechanical company of the same name in Bassano del Grappa, which specializes in the repair and winding of electric motors.
A competitive sector in which the small factory of Vicenza paves the way from the early eighties a path of internationalization until finding the first setbacks in the nineties when the fifty Leone joins and then takes over from his son Armando, not even. thirty years. It takes a good dose of lucid madness and ingenuity to take over the family business when the patriarch is still firmly in command, accepting the challenge of relaunching his innovative and international vocation.
From the first moment, the young Donazzan stands out for his ingenuity: fast in decision-making, he begins a path that over the years will lead him to acquire 17 companies and earn the nickname “Northeast Panther” in the field . The companies apparently discovered, in difficulties, in which the management has lost sight of the real potential of its products and workers, are those towards which the employer of Vicenza focuses his attention: he acquires them absorbing them in the exploitation and relaunch finding their place in the business and new markets for their products.
A tournament with Real Madrid and Barcelona
The difficulties were not lacking and are still lacking today, with a market now caught up in inflation and the scarcity of raw materials that mainly affects mechanical companies. So far, Orange 1 has not seen a significant drop in production, the company said, but this is mainly due to the vision of the direction that has oriented production towards the customization of electric motors, leaving aside the “massive” market. putting the result. of the specializations of the individual companies of the group to cover all the most promising niches.
That is why Sicme Orange1 is permanently active in large engines for hydroelectric power and the Montebello plant, which has become the core management of the whole group thanks to its barycentric position, oversees the small segment. and motor means without forgetting the aluminum foundry, active with 3 factories in Italy, Slovakia and Romania and the division of precision turning, Orange1 Precision.
After more than two decades as an entrepreneur, Donazzan continues to direct himself, both in business and in life. The role of the panther suits him and has made him a real trademark.
“We organized a tournament in Bassano, one of the best of the season with Barcelona, Real Madrid and the whole international basketball world,” explains Giacomo Rossi, general manager of Orange 1 Basket Bassano. “Armando was in the stands and, at the end of the match, he went down to clean the field with a broom and a mop. He is not the sponsor or the classic owner, he is one of us who has the innate ability to identify problems and solve them ”.
Life in the Forestry
As in many business stories, the sport with its values, successes and defeats ends up representing all the values of the company and Orange 1 is not missing either: on the basketball courts but also on the rally circuits and on the court , where Lamborghini is located. official partner, manages to demonstrate that human face, made of passion and determination that accompanies both the company and the entrepreneur in the constant search for new challenges, investing unreservedly in people and in their skills that may still be unexpressed Bassano la Foresteria is born: a center capable of accommodating 30 young people, offering them a scholarship that guarantees them a high level of academic training and the possibility of playing basketball with the other 100 young people attending every day in the fields of Orange 1..
“There is a whole world that revolves around children, from basketball coaches to cooks to teachers, doctors and psychologists. We have to do everything we can to make everyone feel at home in Bassano del Grappa, ”said the general manager. “We have young people in the Forestry who come from 13 countries, 4 continents, 5 religions and speak 12 different languages and this multicultural environment allows them to grow rapidly. From the moment they arrive, we accompany them until they graduate, then they leave the Orange 1 system and start going to universities, colleges and people with special skills in professional basketball.
Basketball has become an opportunity, an engine to offer a better future to many children by rewarding their sporting merits without neglecting their training. “Armando Donazzan is the big brother of all: he is not an ordinary person, he has a dose of generosity out of the ordinary, although he still manages to be the entrepreneur he is,” concludes Giacomo Rossi. “Every time we have a meeting it amazes me how I manage to keep up with everything that is basketball even though I don’t know anything about basketball to the point that when I talk about organizational and structural issues, it strikes me how you come to propose -the solution for me to do it to earn a living that I had been thinking for a month ».
The human and enterprising figure is the same and is revealed both in the management of the company and in the sport: Donazzan senses the talent but it is instinct, friendship and passion that now push him towards basketball , now towards car racing and volunteering. “The possibility of giving young people a future, of looking at it in a positive way with a smile, was the goal that inspired the idea of Orange1 Basket, an innovative project,” explains Armando Donazzan himself. “I try to correspond in Bassano, the city where I was born and which I love, with a project that I think can give a lot of satisfaction.” The company thus becomes a social value, investing resources even where economic and image returns are sometimes low or zero, with the innate ability to hold the right bar to manage a company that breathes air. electric, full of passion, thank you no. only to the engines that are produced there.