by Giuliana Cantini
A global reality
Global excellence in the heart of Tuscany. El.En., with headquarters in Calenzano (Florence), exports lasers all over the world and this is done with great dedication, professionalism and competence rendering it world leader. One of the creators of this growth is Paolo Salvadeo, general manager of El.En. who is developing the growth of the Group also thanks to intuitions such as Renaissance, a project born from the merger of two realities of the El.En Group, Deka and Quanta System who produce lasers for use in the medical and aesthetical field and for the restoration of artistic heritage. We talked to him about the company’s vision.
Mr. Salvadeo, how was El.En. founded and integrated in Tuscany? Have you ever thought of moving the headquarters?
El.En. (Electronic Engineering) was born from the intuition of an ordinary professor of Electronic Engineering at the University of Florence, 36 years ago. Professor Leonardo Masotti, one of the most brilliant minds of our country, chose his best student, the engineer Gabriele Clementi, now knighted for his services to labour and president of El.En., to set up the company. The early headquarters was the classic basement of a university spin off. This basement soon started growing and became a double garage raising the roller shutter every morning and it has reached our day, where the El.En. Group, having grown internally and through subsequent acquisitions, is amongst the first 10 groups in the world in the laser sector (industrial, medical and scientific) and amongst the first 5 in the medical laser sector. In the area of Calenzano there are 7 companies. With El.En. (the parent company) there are: Deka, Esthelogue, Actis, ElEsta, CutLite Penta and Otlas, even if the group boasts 28 companies spread all over the globe, from the Americas to Japan. In spite of now being an international group, the entrepreneurial culture has remained Italian, with a touch of Tuscany giving a certain colour and flair to things. The company has been on the stock market (Star-Mid Cap sector of the Italian stock exchange) since 2000. We have never thought of moving the headquarters of our parent company elsewhere because the Florentine scientific district is rife with talents churned out from the universities and that is where we go to to get our best employees.
Can we compare the intuition which has permitted the construction of your first laser to the inspiration and creativity of the masters of the Renaisssance?
In a certain sense, we can. Even they were pioneers and have left an indelible sign in the history of man. Something we believe to have done, with our mission to continue doing so, in the history of medicine. Inspiration and creativity are not lacking in our people and especially in our group. And we are envied the world over precisely for this.
The El.En. Group exports its own lasers all over the world. Does your base in Tuscany (heart of the artistic heritage) particularly influence your foreign customers?
Yes, that’s right: we export our Made in Italy in over 100 countries in the world. Sometimes, we also use our Made in Tuscany because this is evocative of quality products of an Italian region that is well-known internationally. We are rather proud of it. Florence, then, is the cradle of the Renaissance, and in a certain sense, we feel flattered at the thought of “cradling” Florence with our lasers which are also used for the cleaning and restoring of works of art. Being able to use our lasers on a Michelangelo, a Donatello, a Giotto, a Cimabue, a Vasari or other masterpieces gives us great credibility even in the medical sector. The same care we put on a work of art is the same we put on skin in dermatology and tissues in surgery with the light of our machines.
El.En. also works in the sector of the conservation of artistic heritage: what restoration projects have been made for works of art in Tuscany?
What if I said: St. John’s Baptistry in Florence, with the Porta del Paradiso by Ghiberti and that of Andrea Pisano, the Porta della Mandorla of the Duomo, the bell tower by Giotto, Basilica di Santa Croce, Abacuc by Donatello, David by Verrocchio, David by Donatello, Ratto delle Sabine by Giambologna, the Ciborium of the Basilica di San Miniato, the Tower of Pisa, Fonte Gaia in Piazza del Campo in Siena (just to mention a few), would you believe me? It’s all true! With our lasers we bring masterpieces back to their original splendor which would have otherwise gone irremediably lost, respecting, in a selective way, their valuable patinas and original surfaces.
How important are people and the passion put at the base of every project, development and production of your products?
Passion, work, difficulties and sacrifice are all great values we apply in the company and on the field. But also keeping a watchful eye on human resources with our project El.En. People is fundamental. Having motivated people in a healthy and stimulating work place also helps creativity and productivity. In december 2018 we will finally open a corporate gym even here in Calenzano which will create more integration and motivation amongst our personnel. There will be important sportspeople at the opening. Generally, we are proud to be Italian and of our Italian identity. It’s time to stop feeling sorry for ourselves. We are a great people who can still do and give a lot to the world. We want to be an example in our own small way.
As a Lombard and “adopted” Tuscan, what do you appreciate of this region?
I’m originally from Vigevano. Leonardo da Vinci also worked in my city with his projects of the Castle’s stables and the hydraulic ones to bring water, uphill, towards Milan with a system of sluice gates and controlled closures. But Tuscany, and especially Florence, are another thing. The air one breathes has no price. There is a surprise wherever you turn. I’m also lucky to live between the city centre and the border of Chianti. In a few minutes I can find myself and my family deep into fairytale ambiences and landscapes. I appreciate a bit of everything of Tuscany. From food, to wine, to works of art. I’m even beginning to like the accent of the true Tuscans and after about two years I’ve learnt several local expressions. For example, this Sunday I’ll wear “il toni” and I’ll go for a run in the countryside.
Via Baldanzese, 17 - Calenzano - Firenze - Italy
Tel. 39 055 8826807