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Many recent stories of Italian entrepreneurship show how local and global, past and future, beauty and technology can co-exist with success and satisfaction within a family circle, provided that this circle is inclusive, knows how to listen to and pick up signals coming from elsewhere. Provided that it is not reduced to marking off a property but also contributes to protecting a business style and vision.”

Benito Zollia
Chairman of Zollia Holding
Founder and Honorary Chairman of Brovedani Group

Benito Zollia

Benito Zollia was born in 1936 in Gorizia, in the north-east of Italy. He was puny, had lost his father, had a hard childhood marked by poverty but was supported by a strong and courageous mother. Benito was not keen on school but found basketball was the way to go: at Unione Ginnastica Goriziana he earned the nickname “Tatum”, like the star of the Harlem Globetrotters. Basketball took him to the A League and then to the national adult team in 1959. Injury stopped his basketball career in 1962, when he was playing for Milan’s Pallacanestro All’Onestà. With a smattering of engineering knowledge acquired from the “Leonardo da Vinci” technical school in Gorizia, Benito found a job in Milan, the capital of the Italian economic boom: he started at MACTES, a textile machinery company, and was then sales manager for Officina Egidio Brugola, for whom he also went on foreign sales trips.

In Naples with the national adult team for the match against Spain.

In 1968, he came back to Gorizia where he was the representative of bullonerie Fontana from Brianza near Milan and the financial promoter of Fideuram, a financial services provider. These were the years of industrial growth in north-eastern Italy, whose capital is Pordenone and whose standard bearer company is Zanussi. Benito Zollia followed his entrepreneurial instinct here: in 1972, with a partner Felice Macuz whom he had known from school days in Gorizia, he took out a 100% loan to acquire Silvio Brovedani, a small engineering company with twelve employees.

With Felice Macuz in the company
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In the executive offices of the new facility in the Ponte Rosso industrial estate.

In just a few years, Brovedani took off, grew in size and breadth of vision, and soon outstripped its local confines. It was one of the first engineering subcontractors to move from an executive-reactive phase to a proactive phase by interpreting customer needs with tailored solutions. Components with high technological content and tolerances down to a tenth of a micron, long production runs made possible by processes that made engineering and manufacturing strategic. The ability to interpret the market has made Brovedani a world leader in the industry, a key player in historic revolutions like the hard disk alongside IBM, or the Diesel Common Rail, alongside Bosch and Continental. Brovedani has anticipated working methods like Lean Manufacturing and Manufacturing 4.0. It trades on a planetary scale, with exports accounting for over 90% of sales. In recognition of these achievements, Benito Zollia was awarded an honorary degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2006 by the University of Udine.
In 2018 he retired as chairman of the Brovedani Group, becoming its honorary chairman. Since 2019 he has been the chairman of Zollia Holding.

Benito Zollia being awarded an honorary degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2006. 
Photograph by Roberto Borghes