Interview Attilio Gheller

Attilio Gheller is an entrepreneur from Veneto who knew how to transform his big passion for mountains and climbing in a prosperous economic activity. His origins, which he is very proud of, start from Foza, on the oriental spurs of Altipiano dei Sette Comuni and from where he moved still very young together with his family to settle then in Valstagna. Attilio is a mountain lover and started immediately to practice speleology, at the point that after military service his passion led him to become a mountaineer: a love that from that moment has progressively grown, making him collaborate with the Mountain Rescue and prepare the ground for his later path. During the early Eighties the big challenge for Attilio was exactly to conciliate his passion for climbing with his working activity. The young man, who is now an individual rock climber, and some mountain guides built up a working team specialized in rock faces reclamation along railways and arterial roads. On October 1991, taking advantage of his previous experience, he decided to establish the Gheller Sas company. After the opening of an office on the shore of Valstagna together with his brothers Mirco and Denis (mountain climbers too), Attilio then started working on the prevention and rock fall defence sector, before with the help of local companies and then with national ones. Thanks to some brilliant intuitions, continuous efforts and a huge enthusiasm, the businessman has driven the small company in Valstagna to the national leadership.

What is the company’s activity today?

We are specialized in reclamation works and slopes consolidation, rock faces and rockfall defence, avalanches defence, but we do also any kind of restoration, building and road works. We work all over Italy, bringing our multi-year experience also to the most striking places of our country: from Cortina d’Ampezzo to Costiera Amalfitana, from the islands of the Campania archipelago to Venice…

How was working on rock faces during the first years of activity?

When I started it was even harder than today! There weren’t the equipment and commodities we can use nowadays. Our team was made of 5-6 rock climbers sent to work on high mountains and completely isolated for long periods; we used to sleep in shacks and eat from mess tins. Because we went through difficulties and asperities together we were more like a “family” than like a working team. I met very special friends I am still in contact with and back then I understood the importance of the real ‘team working’. Those are moments I always remember with pride and pleasure.

Which are the main factors of success of your company?

I believe the decisive factor was to build a dynamic and close-knit staff. We wanted to recreate inside the management and company leadership the same spirit of collaboration and confidence you can usually find working as a team on the mountains. It is a proper lifestyle, a kind of fil rouge that comes along with every activity. Our team is built up by young people trained from the beginning in accordance with the company philosophy. But every single person has a role which reflects at the most his inclinations and does not undermine his own individuality.

Definitely this is a different and original concept for a company…

Surely it is. We believe this intellectual vivacity can bring different benefits. Inside the team there is a continuous exchange of information and incentives and the work environment becomes the ideal place where new ideas can be developed. Moreover, a “Research Sector” has been created in order to evaluate with specific market surveys the feasibility of different and innovative projects and ideas, both inside and outside the company.

Which other interests do you have, beside your company?

I love my country. For this reason I participate and actively support any athletic and cultural initiative that vindicate and increase the value of Brenta valley. Because I am an art and restoration passionate, I consider very important to restore and renovate those historical and natural heritage sites that have a remarkable monumental value. As Gheller Company, for example, we did some renovations in the city of Venice, in the Calà del Sasso and Covolo di Buttistone, to the Forte Interrotto on Altipiano di Asiago, to the Porta Bassano of Cittadella walls and many others. What especially gratifies me is the chance to support many charity causes I care for, among them diseases researches, psychiatric hospitals and above all any matter regarding children. For this reason we founded the no-profit Gheller Association 2006, that helps the First Emergency Centre for Street Children of Timisoara in Romania and where abandoned underage children, abuse victims or young drug addicts can be received and recovered. The fund-raising is based on clear and periodically controlled purposes. That is why I often go there to verify by myself how the organization works and check the health condition of every children.

Say something more about your Association …

I’d love to. The Gheller Association 2006 was founded on 2006, during a Gheller family gathering; it is presided over by me and works without any profit in favour of specific humanitarian responsibilities. Above all there is the support to the First Emergency Center for Street Children in Timisoara, Romania. This structure receives an average of 20-25 children from the streets and with different issues, physical or psychological, and gives them medical aid until when they are ready to move to a more appropriate place, such as a psychiatric hospital, a rehabilitation centre or a foster family. The goal of the association is to improve their lives giving them some medicines, underwear, hygienic products and other basic necessities. In addition we try to give them the possibility to celebrate their birthdays with sweets and presents: we bring an important material support but especially we try to give all the warmth and human affection those children really need of.