• Farewell to Giancarlo Pedrini, entrepreneur and symbol of flood prevention in Italy and worldwide
    Farewell to Giancarlo Pedrini, entrepreneur and symbol of flood prevention in Italy and worldwide

Farewell to Giancarlo Pedrini, entrepreneur and symbol of flood prevention in Italy and worldwide

April 2020

On April 13th, Italian enterprise lost a real champion, someone who succeeded in doing business while improving the world we live in. Eng. Giancarlo Pedrini, member of the Rotary movement, friendly called Giancarlo by everyone, was one of the four founders of CAE S.p.A. of San Lazzaro di Savena (BO) and vice-president in charge until the last day.

Born in Rome in 1947 and graduated in Engineering in Bologna, he immediately began to make use of his technical skills in research. In those years he crossed the path of his future partners and embarked, body and soul, on a new entrepreneurial adventure with them. In a recent interview, while recalling the founding of the company in 1977, he said: "We were all electronic telecommunications engineers, research enthusiasts, scholars and passionate people. We liked being researchers, but we wanted to challenge ourselves by building a company that could go a bit further”.

And, in all these years, Giancarlo, his partners and CAE as a whole have really gone “a bit further”. They have developed and supplied technologies to reduce flood risk and other natural phenomena throughout Italy and half the world. In this market niche, linked to monitoring and warning for the risk of floods and landslides, the company from San Lazzaro is an Italian leader, as well as an important player on the international scene.

Eng. Paolo Bernardi, lifelong business partner and current Chairman of the Board of Directors, describes Giancarlo has an extremely eclectic person: "His deep technical knowledge led him to support in a practical way the professionals of his company in the fields of electronics and engineering, while his great culture, human skills and contagious sociability naturally made him the centrepiece of many operational, technical and even political meetings where he was called to participate".

There have been years when Italy has faced one disaster after another, such as the flood of Valtellina (1987), the events of Sarno and Quindici (1998) and the disaster of Soverato (2000). Giancarlo and CAE were not only always on the front line, feet and hands in the mud, but they also contributed to find new solutions to hydrogeological instability: ideas and technological suggestions, projects and initiatives whose slogan became "prevention". The authority with which he contributed in proposing solutions has been appreciated by entire generations of Civil Protection officials, with particular reference to the periods when this institution was led by Franco Barberi or Guido Bertolaso.

Among his many roles in the international arena, we want to point out that of technical consultant of the Italian Permanent Representatives at the World Meteorological Organization, based in Geneva. General Silvio Cau, Italian member of the Executive Council, remembers him as “An incredibly nice person, of sound and valid principles, who has always worked to ensure that Italy was recognized a leading role in the field of meteorology at a global level, ready to fight with intelligence and energy for the right battles".

Among the concepts he promoted on many occasions at international level, there are those of quality and reliability over time of the monitoring and warning systems. Besides being an entrepreneur, Eng. Pedrini was also an individual of high values: he was unwilling to accept that too many projects, especially among those financed by the International Financial Institutions in Developing Countries, ended up with poor quality installations, bad results and insufficient security for citizens. For this reason, aiming at improving the effectiveness of preventing actions around the world, he used to spread the Italian experience at every level, with meetings and public speeches in many Countries and at many institutions, such as the World Bank (WB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Remaining in the international context, to which Eng. Pedrini especially dedicated his work in the last 15 years, the activity carried out in Vietnam deserves special mention: there, CAE has won several tenders for major projects and now has a leadership position, also thanks to a network of reliable and capable partners in the territory. Vietnam is a country that Eng. Pedrini loved, in which he had totally immersed himself, working unconditionally and successfully, not only to promote his company, but also to allow Italy to conquer a recognized role as a friendly Country, an example of prevention of hydrogeological instability, an exporter of technologies and good practices at an institutional and technical level.

The Italian Ambassador in Vietnam, Antonio Alessandro, testifies all this and writes: "Eng. Pedrini was above all a model of solidarity and quality entrepreneurship; thanks to him we were able to carry out very powerful partnership operations in this Country, which have left important and lasting legacies."

With his demise, our community loses a man moved by high ideals. In four decades of activity, many of the company's 104 employees have been able to work directly with Giancarlo and acquire some of his skills. This is why Eng. Paolo Bernardi, friend as well as partner, is convinced that the values he embodied will continue to represent something special for our company. This will help CAE, which is today a well-structured reality, to successfully sail the stormy seas of modern times for a long time.

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