ELITE interview to Vito Grassi, CEO of Graded, an energy service company with more than 60 years of experience in this sector.

What does "entrepreneurship" mean to you?
 It means working on opportunities, ideas and projects to transform them into value for all the people who work with you and for you. A commitment that requires not only innovation attitude and creativity, but also the willingness to take risks, venture into inaccessible paths and the ability to strategically plan activities to achieve concrete objectives. Entrepreneurship is not just business creation; it is also social responsibility.
Alongside the obvious objective of profit, those who lead a Company must set themselves the task of managing and developing the activity in harmony with the best interests of the community and the territory in which it operates. Corporate social responsibility also means preparing for a better tomorrow, in where the world of work is more attentive to the values of merit as well as solidarity and more respectful of rights without forgetting duties. Above all, it means generating trust in the future for the young generations.

What was the most significant experience or lesson you gained during your career?
 During my career I have had many experiences that have influenced the subsequent choices. But the most significant lessons came to me from young talents on which Graded has been investing for more than a decade now: questioning pre-established schemes, finding new solutions to old problems, dreaming and thinking big. In every company - in the IT field and beyond - being visionary is fundamental and young people mostly are. It is not just a question of age: they are experiencing the digital transformation firsthand; they were born into it and do not need to study it theoretically to understand what it is. They are professional profiles who learn quickly, can manage various projects simultaneously and are ready to give themselves 100% to work to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. These young people are few, highly performing and can be a fundamental resource for Companies. Einstein said: “everyone knows that one thing is impossible. Then comes someone who doesn't know and does it”. This is the beauty of being surrounded by capable, prepared but also a bit irreverent young people.

How does your company stand out in the competitive landscape?
Graded is a Company that has two important strengths: it believes in enhancing the potential of young talents e and It invests a significant portion of its turnover in research and development to provide increasingly cutting-edge solutions in terms of efficiency and energy saving. About 14 projects are currently in progress. In the last few years Graded has been increasing its collaboration with the main Universities and Research institutions of the Centre South of Italy, as well as being a partner of "DIGITA", the Digital Transformation & Industry Innovation Academy of the University Federico II, for two years, and It collaborates with MIT in Boston on an international research two year program together with Parthenope University. A commitment that has become the heart of our mission with important results and perspectives: a turnover that has grown over the last three years to FY 2019 for over 18 million euros, a growing number of employees (to date 66), the objective of continuous strengthening of governance for a clear and effective distinction between ownership, governance and management.
What is your personal and professional motto?
 "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the most reactive to change". One of the most famous phrases of Charles Darwin, father of the theory of evolution, has become my maxim both in personal and in professional life: on the market, as in social relations, only who is constantly able to change himself is going to grows, affirms himself and compete.
What kind of entrepreneur do you represent in the ELITE network?
One that considers a change as an opportunity rather than a threat. One that considers corporate culture as a precise lifestyle, where responsibility and creativity are perfectly combined in all moments of our existence. A dreamer, but with his feet firmly anchored to the ground and to the values of reason and tradition. An optimist, but with a good dose of realism. An important test for those who, like me, do business is "Industry 4.0", which presupposes a radical change in mentality: resetting one's usual way of thinking, "starting over" with completely different models, having new professional skills and working in teams for goals with new and greater relational skills than in the past. With Graded we accepted the challenge. But technology is not enough to innovate and seize new opportunities. We need creativity. We need scientific knowledge that, combined with the new
expressive forms granted to the Company, can accelerate growth, develop completely original products and clear the gap between knowledge and practical applicability.

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