On the 117th anniversary of Guido Grassi’s birth on November 30, 1902. It’s dutiful to celebrate him by telling his extraordinary story. The Ocrim founder was an enlightened entrepreneur, a pioneer of international milling art, a life mentor and a man of rare humanity.
Genius, Intuition and Great Courage
His entrepreneurial skills were evident very soon, when Guido Grassi, in his early twenties, became director of the packaging factory and of the spinning mill of Mr. Bassani at Annicco village bringing them, in a short time, to production levels never reached before. His passion for mills came later, in 1933, when he moved to Cavatigozzi (a village near Cremona), to manage the family’s wheat mill, making it the first milling industry in the area in about ten years. At this point the birth of Ocrim should have been the natural consequence of his experience in the sector and the desire to develop a market in its dawn, actually the main impetus that pushed him to create it was of a completely different kind. It was the immediate post-war period. Some factories have been bombed, others were wound up, a very difficult period for the population and so Guido Grassi decided to do something concrete for the community, giving a job to the many unemployed in our city and, in particular, to an excellent technician that Grassi knew well, Eng. Ferri. This was the extra oomph of Guido Grassi: his great humanity, his profound social sense that guided him in all his choices and that characterized all his relationships with the people, without any distinction of class or status. It was 1945: with Ocrim began an extraordinary and complex adventure. Recalling those times, he said: “We were able to study and design only a very limited and insufficient number of machines; the common sense would therefore have suggested abandoning this too difficult, too burdensome initiative. But, above common sense and convenience, there was a political and economic situation in Cremona city that anyone with a minimum civic-mindedness, goodwill, a spirit of sacrifice and modest financial resources would have had to take to heart”.
His courage and big-heart were rewarded. In the following 30 years, having acknowledged that the Italian market was saturated, he set out and, up and down from one plane to another, opened new horizons by conquering 150 countries – in Latin America, the Middle and Far East, Africa, in Russia, in the USA. He was one of the first European industrialists who in 1960, overcoming difficulties, began to establish commercial relations with Eastern European countries. His creed was: doing, trying, improving. He built over 2000 milling plants; an extraordinary result made possible by his enlightened entrepreneurial vision centred on absolute dedication to the customer and participation in the successes of every collaborator and worker, realizing the deep need of each of them to give meaning to their lives with work. He took care of everything, including the training of technicians and mill leaders: he founded the “Technological School Cav. Luigi Grassi” in memory of his cousin Luigi, a talented technologist and one of his closest collaborators. Tireless, stubborn, brilliant. Guido Grassi had his own technique for acquiring new customers abroad: he sent technicians and salesmen to study the markets, initiate contacts, and examine the situation of each individual country and, when they began to see a chance, “the wizard of mills”– as he was affectionately called – left to conquer the contract that he regularly brought home. He has achieved unparalleled goals, received praise from great entrepreneurs and politicians from all over the world, valued Italian good work, held public offices, obtained honours, but he has always remained the same: a shy, generous, brilliant, likeable, friendly man and a little sly. Happy birthday “captain” Guido Grassi, wherever you are.
Main Biographical Notes
1902 – Guido Grassi was born on November 30 in Persico Dosimo, a village near Cremona
1920 – after the chartered accountant qualification, he began his first work experience as an accountant
1923 – finished the military service, administers the company of Mr. Bassani at Annicco, a village near Cremona
1933 – runs with his brother Ettore the family milling industry in Cavatigozzi, a village near Cremona
1945 – founds Ocrim company, the acronym of “Officine Cremonesi Impianti Molini”
1946-47 – realizes the first mills in Apricena (Foggia- Italy), Lurate Caccivio (Como – Italy) and San Matteo delle Chiaviche (Mantova- Italy)
1948-49-50 – president of the Italian football club based in the city of Cremona, U.S. Cremonese
1950 – first stage of expansion abroad. In Brazil he founded the trading company “Ocrim do Brasil” installing over 120 mills in the country
1960 – after conquering 150 countries around the world, he lands, not without difficulty, in Eastern Europe, establishing fruitful relations of collaboration in Russia, Yugoslavia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary
1971 – began a long collaboration with Bogasari Flour Mills (Indonesia), the largest global milling industry
1975-79 – conquers Saudi Arabia and realizes three mills with “turnkey” formula
1976 – he founded the “Technological School Cav. Luigi Grassi” to train technicians and mill leaders from all over the world
1978 – the President of Italy, Alessandro Pertini, nominates Guido Grassi Recipient of the Order of Merit for Labour for his entrepreneurial merits and total dedication to work
1983 – on November 1st, Guido Grassi, dies aged 81.