MARK GILLESPIE/Livingston County News
Barilla Avon Plant Manager Carmine Simone, right, accepts the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce “Business of the Year” award.
Chamber of Commerce
Barilla honored as ‘Business of the Year’
Five years ago, the Parma, Italy pasta giant Barilla fired up its machinery in Avon at a 318,000 square foot processing plant and distribution center geared toward serving America’s Northeast.
Today, Barilla produces over 350,000 pounds of pasta a day, from farfalle to ziti and provides work for over 130 employees.
The Livingston County Chamber of Commerce awarded the company its “Business of the Year” award at is annual Business and Industry luncheon Friday.
After the award, plant manager Carmine Simone gave credit to his workforce and the surrounding community.
“You can have the best equipment and the best technology, but if you don’t have the best people, you can’t go anywhere,” he said.
Barilla is a family-owned corporation that spans four generations since it was founded in Parma in 1877. Barilla is the number one pasta brand in Italy and the United States — and owns 43 production sites around the world.
Awards committee chairman Gene Tenucci, who was proud to be recognizing “a fellow Italian,” called Barilla’s legacy of family ownership a rare accomplishment and pointed out the ways Barilla gives back to local organizations.
“They give generously to the United Way and to many of the county’s charitable organizations,” he said. “Certainly, there’s been an increase in the number of spaghetti dinner fundraisers.”
Asked to comment on the award, Barilla supply chain vice-president Fabio Pettinati told the County News by e-mail: “The Barilla family is as passionate about the quality of products we produce, as we are about caring for our employees and the communities in which we live and work. That said, it has been very important and meaningful to us that Barilla has been very well received by the Avon community.”
“We truly feel like we are part of the community.”
“We welcome members of the community into our facility to learn more about Barilla and the products we produce — through plant tours and even cooking classes with the Canandaigua Culinary Center,” he continued.
“Members of the community are very curious about Barilla and have positive things to say — including how people like the plant design and that they appreciate how we keep the exterior clean and organized.”
Retiring Livingston County Youth Bureau Coordinator and Workforce Development Director Keith Mitchell was presented with the Business Education Alliance’s “Outstanding Educator Award.”
Former Livingston County Administrator Nick Mazza highlighted Mitchell’s annual “Teen Recognition Program” as one of the top milestones in Mitchell’s career.
“It’s an example for the entire state and country about how to recognize kids.They are not recognized for sports or academics, but for how they give to their community. It’s a way of recognizing volunteerism.”
Mitchell quoted songwriter Harry Chapin in his remarks, asking his staff to continue to “try to see all the colors in the rainbows and the flowers.”
The Business Education Alliance awarded the following recent high school graduates students with college scholarships: Greg Marshall, Shannon McKeown, Ryan Siracusa, and Connor Wilkins.
Finally, the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce recognized graduates from its “Leadership Livingston” program, a ten month course that helps participants become familiar with the county’s major industries and social services.