Interview with Federico Bruschi Cavagna Group, New VP Managing Director for Cavagna North America
WLPGA recently had a Zoom interview with Federico, recently appointed VP Managing Director for Cavagna North America. Cavagna is a long-standing member, and Industry Council member of WLPGA, and we wanted to get Federico’s thoughts on the industry today, his career, and opportunities in the market.
WLPGA: You have been with Cavagna for a few years now. Please could you describe your career pathway to your current role within Cavagna? How has Cavagna helped nurture and promote you within the organisation, and what is it about the Cavagna company that has appealed to you and given you stability?
Federico Bruschi: I started with Cavagna 17 years ago and joined straight from studies and university, I was lucky enough to find this. My first responsibility was managing sales in the Middle East, a very interesting start as I had never been to the Middle East before, so it was a great experience to see a new culture and new ways of doing business. Then after couple of years I moved to sales in South and Central America, where I had the opportunity to improve Spanish and another great experience and another different way of doing business in a new different culture. I have been very lucky to travel around the world with my career and got to build unique relationships with customers and colleagues. I then moved to the North America office to learn about the US and Canadian markets and was there for four years. I relocated back to Italy, but still managing sales in USA across all Cavagna’s business lines. Cavagna restructured about five years ago and at the time I was appointed Director of Sales for the LPG valve division globally, and I am now managing all North America. I moved here with my wife and son and we are very excited to be back in the US.
In terms of the Cavagna company, they have strong family values, and as the company was much smaller when I started I had the opportunity to work directly with family members who are directly involved and give you immediate feedback. Stability is intrinsic in the family values throughout Cavagna.
WLPGA: What does this new role mean for you, and also for Cavagna, what new potential do you see?
FB: It means bigger responsibilities for me, as I am managing the overall operation for Cavagna in the US, but I do love it and I was looking and hoping for this kind of challenge. In terms of potential, we always look at the North American market as one of our largest opportunities. If you want to be a global player then you have to be in the US. We see various opportunities depending on which segment, LPG is still our core but we are also in medical, industrial and natural gas. It is a unique and critical market, and we need to actually be physically present in north America to do the business with the Americans. This is the reason for Cavagna to target and invest such a lot of energies and resources in the North American market in the last 35 years. Today, I am privileged to work with such a dedicated American team!
WLPGA: What market opportunities do you see in North America? You have been in the US for a few years, how has the market developed in that time?
FB: A big opportunity is smart metering, globally and within the US. We have introduced smart metering, we truly believe that this is going to be a game changer and will be a big focus for us in the US in the coming months. Also, IoT and digitalisation of all our products, manufacturing processes, and data services, as we really push innovation and believe in the importance of innovation. In terms of differences, the US always been a very competitive market, and I have seen new players during the last few years trying to enter this market and some others leave. I also would like to share that the North American LPG (Propane) industry is highly organised, thanks to the excellent work between NPGA and PERC, and including interaction with WLPGA, this brings the level of organisation to the next level.
WLPGA: Are there any specific market threats that you may have to address?
In general electrification is what we are trying to combat, and we need to combat that with communication and education of people who don’t know so much about the LPG industry. Obviously, we welcome healthy competition, however, it is important that the new players come to market with the proper knowledge of the industry protocols and guidelines. This is where the job of the association comes into play, with the codes and standards which must be supported by new players. We would also like to see more innovation coming to north America and see the industry evolving, we can’t stay behind!
WLPGA: For anyone who doesn’t know, what global outreach does Cavagna have?
FB: Cavagna is family owned but is definitely a global player. We supply more than 145 countries, we have manufacturing facilities on five continents, and offices in 14 countries. This reflected in the business side and also on the organisation, in the Head Quarters in Italy we have people from many different nationalities, this is also the beauty of being a global player. In terms of industry reach, we started with LPG which is still our core business but then expended and covered medical, industrial, specialty gases, and natural gas.
WLPGA: How might this new role mean a switch in Cavagna’s approach?
FB: Cavagna came to the US over 35 years ago, we believe that it is such an important market and our operations here are significant for a European based company, we are definitively looking to grow and get a larger scale footprint here.
WLPGA: How have you charged your approach in terms of sales to accommodate the ‘new’ way of working?
FB: We found ourselves changing our approach every day, luckily we are a young team and tech savvy so we reacted quickly and were able to connect remotely, especially during the first lockdown when Italy was in a severe situation. Being an essential business, we stayed open, took all the necessary precautions and our colleagues both in the plants and remote working team managers have been incredibly resilient. We thank everyone in our industry in the first wave who went into work to make sure we never stopped. We reorganised to more and more virtual meetings, but I still believe that person-to-person meetings cannot be replaced! I can’t wait to get on that first plane!
FB: And finally, I thank WLPGA for this opportunity and every you do on a global scale, it is such important work, especially with enhanced cooperation with NPGA and PERC. People need to be educated about our industry and this is the key!