Giulio Barbieri's Biography
Born on 30 January 1956, in Vigarano Mainarda (Ferrara, Italy)
Giulio Barbieri is the eldest of three brothers. At the age of 5, his father died. He continued to study but without much success. After leaving primary school, he enrolled at the IPSIA professional institute to obtain a qualification in mechanics. During this period, he was also taking care of his family, helping his mother to manage the small trucking business left by his father. because of the difficult economic situation, he got involved in all types of temporary works; fair and honest ways to earn money and support his family.
Aged 19, Barbieri began working as crane operator in an important company in Ferrara, showing his great capacity and passion for work. In fact, despite his young age, he was given tasks of major responsibility and operated very costly machines. To increase his income, he would often work for the overnight roadside assistance service, always on call in case of emergencies.
At the age of 21, he got married and became father of a girl shortly after. At this time he decided to start his own business and opened a manual car wash in his small hometown, while successufully working as a car dealer for a company in Bologna. However, due to economic difficulties, the company was failing to respect its contractual terms with its clients. In order for the company to keep its word to its customers, Barbieri himself took responsibility and, striving to help the business, he reimboursed the clients with personal credits granted by various banks, amounts to be paid back to them in the years to come.
At the age of 24, in order to face this difficult situation, he set up a new welding muffler company alongside his car-washing business. After a year of huge sacrifices, his new company already had 12 young employees.
In the next following five years, after having become a father for the second time, Barbieri decided to abandon his car-washing business. Continuing with his welding company, he also started a new business venture in the field of awnings and mosquito nets; these business were pursued simultaneously for a few years, until the last one prevailed. In a short period of time, the new company evolved and extended on a national scale thanks to Barbieri's close contact and solid relationships with important industrial companies.
At the age of 33, Barbieri designed a marquee with a revolutionary and innovative shape, for which the market seemed unprepared.
With his enthusiasm and confidence, Barbieri thus took a new, difficult and demanding path, succeeding to widen his company's contacts overseas. It was the first time that he presented the world with a personally-designed product, his initiative and persevering character enabling him to reach long-standing objectives. Maybe the time period was not mature enough for this particular product, but Barbieri's confidence and enthusiasm allowed him to influence workers and designers in the sector in little time.
During the same year, while having a coffee and talking to the owner, he pondered whether to buy the very bar he was sitting in. Despite having no experience or knowledge in this field, he had signed the contract within the next twenty-four hours. In just a few months, his bar had become an original and prestigious bistro, an important meeting place for the people of Ferrara. For the city, this project was an important, modern turning point and represented a model of the management of a a business, insomuch that the clients were required to wait outside to be seated, as everybody in Ferrara remembers.
He relocated his headquarters to a new 5000 sq.m establishment, firstly occupying 1500 sq.m and then expanding to occupy the whole area, transforming Giulio Barbieri S.r.l. into Giulio Barbieri S.p.A.
Barbieri was asked to bring back to Ferrara the men's highest league volleyball team; he successfully came to an agreement with the Bologna club and brought volleyball back to his own city. Over the next year, he worked as Vice President on the directors'board and became the society's president the year after, buying 50% of it. The national league of volleyball offered him the position of counsellor of the team. The years to come were very fruitful, with two very important results: reaching the semi-finals in the national championship and coming fifth place in the regular season.
As well as becoming a major share holder, Barbieri also set up a Junior section during his time managing the volley team. His Junior section was unique in national-level clubs and created an efficient organisation that encouraged national-level beach volley events.
At the age of 45, he received the "S. Giorgio Prize", an important acknowledgement from the Commercial Chamber of his working devotion and cutting-edge initiatives in the entrepreneurship field despite of his young age.
November saw the official opening of the new headquarters of Giulio Barbieri S.p.A with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the presence of local authorities and numerous participants. By the end of the year, company headquarters had moved to a new area of 90,000 sq. m, consisting of the factory covering 10,000 sq m and a small hamlet dating from 900 A.D., composed of a barn, farmhouse and other small buildings. The final architectural result is astonishing, so much so that his business became a model which was followed because of its aesthetics, and, moreover, because it was among the few companies offering job positions in the Ferrara region, thanks to its increasing commercial trend on both the national and international markets: the percentage of export is over 50%. Despite the world economic crisis, Giulio Barbieri S.p.A was continuing to expand and its products were being exported overseas to major countries, building relations with notably important and prestigious clients. The Giulio Barbieri team has always been composed of dynamic and highly motivated young people.
Also in 2004, Giulio Barbieri initiated a new challenge, nominating himself as a candidate for Mayor of Ferrara with the civil list "Io Amo Ferrara" (I love Ferrara) in the administrativeelectrions on the 13th June. As always, he succeeded in creating from nothing a working group composed of people belonging to various social and economic classes. His objective was to create, for the first time after 60 years, a civil list able to offer solutions to the countless problems of the citizens of Ferrara. This endeavour was considered difficult by everyone since he had no support from any political party and represented an important turning point in his life; it was also important for all those who had never been involved in politics but decided to support him in his new in this new adventure. The team of "Io Amo Ferrara", guided and coordinated by Giulio Barbieri persuaded the electorate of Ferrara and many citizens to have faith in the coherence and reliability expressed by the programme. "Io Amo Ferrara", beginning almost in silence, reached 7% of the electoral preferences, obtaining 2 places in the City Council.
Is a year of contradictions for Giulio Barbieri: despite the company's successes and the satisfactions and having the greatest joy of becominge grandfather to Alessandro, his daughter's son, a terrible piece of news changes the destiny of Barbieri's family: his wife, Gianna, became seriously ill; this was the beginning of a dark period of hope, disappointment, and was an endless fight against time to find an efficient cure against her terrible illness. As a result of this sad experience, Barbieri decided to create a new campaign in 2006, which explained to the public the impact of environmental conditions and pollution impact on our world and their negative effect on our health. In different areas of the city, various posters were put up in order to promote citizens' awareness about this subject. This unique, informative campaign, was continued thoughout the year; with eager, industrious support of the "Io Amo Ferrara" counsellors, Giulio clearly underlined the outline of the civil list. It was an ethical principle not to be renounced: that all situations or actions that could harm the citizens should be publicly blamed, even if this attitude was inconvenient and against the common trend of compromise in order to maintain the gained positions.
The following year of pain and mourning for Giulio Barbieri: on the 10th of August, after a long period of suffering and pain, Gianna passed away. Fate seemed to be cruel because, by the end of the same year, Franca, Giulio’s mother, also dies.
Gianna’s death left a great emptiness in Giulio Barbieri. He decided to buy the Torre dell’Uccellino, (Uccellino’s tower), situated in front of the company premises, to dedicate it in memory of Gianna. For the first time in its history and thereafter, the tower was illuminated from the inside during the night. One of the future projects of Giulio Barbieri S.p.A is to restore the tower, bringing it back to its old function of a watchtower where anyone can go and admire the landscape below.
Giulio Barbieri decided to nominate himself as a candidate for Mayor of Ferrara in June 2009 elections, despite the fact he previously decided not to do it again. The real reason for taking this decision was because the "Io Amo Ferrara" group worked with great determination and remained "alive"; well-founded, in a united and vivid manner.
In the same year, the strategy for the future campaign was decided; it would focus on the information shared by ’’Io Amo Ferrara’’ but never exposed to political parties. It would constantly communicate to the public that the "Io Amo Ferrara" civic list is an association that is accessible to everyone, regardless of their political belief; the collective aim being to push the economical and social developments of the Ferrara area.
In February 2009, the first of a series of pre-election posters was published. these posters had the essential aim of establishing a direct link with citizens; a continuous exchange of opinions and reflections on various themes favouring the real re-launch of Ferrara, in both the economical and social fields. Giulio Barbieri's public messages were clear and had an immediate effect, underlining the fact that the era of incomprehensive political dialogue had passed. The concepts outlined on the advertisements shared to a large number of citizens the conscious need for change.
Giulio Barbieri was pleased to confirm that the coherence and the commitment shown over the years have strengthened and reinforced the position and the credibility of the "Io Amo Ferrara" civic list, and thus was able to coherently build a constructive and solid path. The number of citizens wanting to become members of the civic list was increasingly growing. In order to underline the importance of communication, Giulio Barbieri decided to start a new project that was first carried out during the election period: public and open live broadcasts on the local TV channel Telestense. During these broadcasts, Giulio Barbieri explained the most important concepts of his electoral programme with the support of experts working in various fields. The public had the opportunity to interact, implementing and bringing their own contributions to the programme, thanks to the interactive internet site www.ioamoferrara.it
The result of the administrative elections of 2009 was surprising: more than 10% of the votes were for Giulio Barbieri and his civic list. For the first time in decades Ferrara was facing the second ballot. On this occasion, the "Io Amo Ferrara" civic list, by the will of its president, did not support any political party, maintaining its proper identity and autonomy without any political alliance.
Giulio Barbieri gave up his position as Counsellor to one of his collaborators, as he decided to immerse himself into his entrepreneurship activity. If he had been elected as mayor, he would have given this responsibility someone else.
2009 was a year of deep crises for the worldwide economy and for this reason it was important to elaborate new commercial strategies and propose new products which could encourage the market.
Giulio Barbieri immersed himself in this umpteenth challenge, as thrilling and exciting as the previous ones, and so commenced an intensive working period, from both a commercial point of view (travelling around Italy and overseas to strengthen the commercial network and participate in international exhibitions) as well as from a technical point of view (working closely with the research and design departments in invent and renew the range of products).
Giulio Barbieri had the satisfaction and privilege of his company being chosen as official provider for the FIFA Football Championship in South Africa. Thanks to this prestigious recognition, the company provided their retractable tunnels (which allow the entrance of players onto the pitch) to chosen stadiums at the World Cup. The news that one Italian company had gained such an important reference had an immediate impact on the media; television and Radio offered large spaces for this event.
Unique within its range, the photovoltaic cover was launched; made completely from aluminium, it was designed to cover large spaces while producing green energy, without the need of masonry work for its installation.
During the same period, Giulio Barbieri almost pioneered into the worldwide panorama with electro-mobility; Giulio Barbieri S.p.A was the first Italian company to propose a charging station complete of supporting frame and all the electronic and solar components necessary for charging any type of electric vehicle.
Following the same concept of advertising campaigns made for his company's other products, TV commercials, adverts in magazines and national networks were created in order to offer Barbieri's new product as much publicity as possible.
The market rewarded this innovative idea, so as to gain appropriate references in both Italy and the rest of Europe, setting up various photovoltaic stations.
Because of Barbieri's extraordinary talent and ability to multi-task, as well as his capability to efficently communicate his ideals and beliefs, he is invited to hold seminars in the Economics Departments at the Universities of Ferrara and Milan, speaking about entrepreneurship in the global market of today. The choises facing young generations who are about to begin their careers represented a challenging exchange of ideas. Certainly, this necessity of confrontation was designated towards continuing a common path towards maturity and contributed to Barbieri’s decision to initiate the construction of a new area on his company premises, which would be used as a place for hosting seminars, conferences, events or public and private festivities. The new building would be octagonally shaped and would respect all the environmental rules. As a result of the entrepreneurial vivacity of its manager, in 2011, the company was able to confirm itself as one of the few local businesses with a stable and continuous economical and professional development, despite the difficult economical circumstances at that time.
2012 was to be a year full of new prospectives and events; some of them positive and encouraging, others unfortunately tragic. Although Giulio Barbieri S.p.A found itself in a global economy environment that was declining each year, it reconfirmed its positive trend and continued to uphold itself on an international scale, proving that the real anti-crises receipt is export. Highlights of the year included: obteining the contract for the sale of hundreds of Hospitality structures for the 2012 London Olympic Games (reserved information that cannot be advertised through Media due to a signed Secrecy Agreement); a contract signed with the Cameroun Government for the sale of thousands of square meters of modular coverings to be used on various occasions and official events; a co-operation agreement with the American giant SunPower, producer of photovoltaic panels, to be used on various carport models by Giulio Barbieri S.p.A. It is also worth mentioning that Giulio Barbieri reopened a door that had been closed since running for mayor; his communication of high-impact media messages with social and political content through national newspapers. These messages, intentionally challenging, indicated Barbieri's disagreement with having to confront the difficult economic situation alone, without any support, because of widespread political uncertainty and incapacity. As a businessman, Giulio Barbieri could not and was not allowed to remain indifferent to the alarming situations of his colleagues taking extreme actions as a result of the economical difficulties; for this reason decided to make himself heard. His appeals, full of concern and criticism, did not remain unnoticed to the public opinion. Consequently, Giulio Barbieri acquired a ’’fixed seat’’ on the political TV ULTIMA PAROLA (The Last Word), which was broadcast on the channel RAI 2.
The 20th of May 2012 was a very sad day for our history. Our region, Emilia Romagna, was terribly shaken by a high-magnitude earthquake; in just a few minutes, large areas of a territory that were, until that moment, considered of low seismic risk, were destroyed. Damages in the Ferrara and Modena districts were huge: small cities, that were previously virtually unknown (Finale Emilia, San Carlo, Cento, etc…) became unfortunately well-known due to their enormous losses of churches, schools, houses and company’s warehouses. Fortunately, the Giulio Barbieri S.p.A. premises suffered no damage but Barbieri had no intention of thanking fate and began a campaign wherein his structures became very useful: coverings for earthquake victims!
And so Giulio Barbieri began this supporting project: all structures would be sold at production-cost price, with no additional commercial costs, and costs for transport and installation would be included. Such a commendable initiative was highly appreciated by the local and national media, underlining that the company was eager to help others in a time of misfortune, without making any profit.
Even when working at zero profit, Giulio Barbieri was morally satisfied: all structures assembled in the region were used as schools, day-care centres and games rooms, underlining once more that these educational institutions were important gathering points, encouraging the growth and development of the young generation. Other structures were used as churches, welcome centres and emergency areas of all types. Furthermore, a structure was used for the welcoming of Pope Ratzinger when he came to visit the region. In addition to offering his structures at zero-profit, Giulio Barbieri became the spokesperson of a second project that involved all of the companies in the area which had been less affected by earthquake, working together to rebuild the region while selling their products without profit.
In order to produce emergency structures in an emergency situation whilst respecting all his other contracts, Giulio Barbieri decided to hire more employeesin his production. This proved his commitment to the social duty that every businessman should strive to achive: protecting his employers'occupations. In contrast to the occupational trends in the difficult economic situation of that time, Giulio barbieri succeeded in increasing the number of employers in his company.
2013 will be surely remembered by posterity as one of the worst years for the Italian economy. In spite of objective difficulties, Giulio Barbieri decided with courage to invest in his business trying to create future perspectives of development.
The launch of new products alongside the existing line projected the company in achieving new markets worldwide. In a short period of time this earned the company such a reputation that it became a reference point in the sector of green economy. The new charging solutions for electric vehicles provide on-site produced energy and have proved to be effective not only for their great innovative technology, but also for the capacity of being attractive for public administrations, institutions, associations as well as for advertising agencies. Installing a charging system by Giulio Barbieri means a service for free for the final user, an investment without costs for the administration and a profitable business for the advertising agency related to the management of the advertising spaces placed on the structure. However it was a year of suffering from the economic point of view it brought growth aimed at ensuring a less uncertain future, rich in programs and new stimulating perspectives.
In November Giulio Barbieri was awarded the prestigious title of 'Cavaliere Ufficiale al Merito della Repubblica Italiana' by the President of the Italian Republic. The order is bestowed on people for outstanding merit acquired in the fields of science, literature, the arts, economy and conspicuous service for social, philanthropic and humanitarian aims.