CBO: Tell me about your career path - how did you end up where you are today?
GC: I grew up around equipment, and I started my career in the equipment business. My first real job was with an Italian tractor manufacturer, and I was based in Bangkok, Thailand. I was covering the Southeast Asian Pacific Rim, including Australia and New Zealand. From there, I moved to Italy and then Amsterdam in the Netherlands, while working for a global Scandinavian agricultural-equipment company for a few years, covering North America, Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia. Afterward, I spent a little over three years in Chicago and then moved to Atlanta, Georgia, when I joined FAE in 2005. When I was hired as CEO of FAE USA, the company was in its infancy, and my job was to establish the US headquarters and a strong sales and service team. Now FAE USA has a very solid organization like the parent company FAE Group in Italy.
CBO: You began your career with FAE in 2005. How have you seen the construction industry change in the last 18 years? How would you like to see it change in the next 18?
GC: Over the last 18 years, the construction industry has undergone several notable changes. Advancement in technology is probably the most important. The construction industry has embraced technological advancements in every field and every direction, such as virtual reality, drones, very advanced computerized technology on the equipment, etc. The safety standards also got a lot better on jobsites as on the equipment itself. Looking ahead, I would like to see changes in adoption in sustainable practices. The industry should continue to prioritize sustainability, incorporating more renewable energy solutions and sustainable construction techniques.
Embracing automation and artificial intelligence can further enhance productivity and safety in construction. Enhancing focus on workforce development and investing in vocational training programs is something that I see company doing more and more to increase productivity and make jobsites safer.
CBO: How do you cultivate an environment where employees want to stay and thrive?
GC: This is probably the biggest challenge for any company in any industry. The culture you create is what makes the difference. First, the company must be genuinely customer oriented. If this can be achieved, then the whole environment is people oriented. Meaning that the individual — whether it is a customer, an employee or a supplier — is taken care of, you create a two-way street, and the collaboration works well. Employees are an asset; as such, they must be treated with highest care. If a company is able to do this, it will be reciprocal, and the employees will take care of the company.
CBO: In your view, what is the most valuable characteristic for a person in a leadership position?
GC: Creating an environment where employees want to stay and thrive involves a combination of factors that contribute to job satisfaction, professional growth and a positive work culture.
Compensation is one thing, but more important is a clear career development opportunity that offers potential for growth and advancement, as well as supportive leadership and effective management.
Strong leadership plays a crucial role in creating an environment where employees feel valued and supported. I have an open-door policy; this allows me to be available to listen to everyone and get direct feedback from everyone. Work-life balance is also crucial.
Employee empowerment and involvement is also a factor that creates a team spirit and a positive and inclusive work culture. Regular communication is also key in any organization. Communication can make it or break it. Continuing and transparent communication builds trust and confidence. Recognizing and rewarding employees can significantly impact job satisfaction and motivation. If employees are happy and motivated, they reflect it onto the dealers and customers by performing excellently in their job.
CBO: What personal, professional or business advice do you have for our audience?
GC: As CEO, here's some personal, professional and business advice that can help guide your success: Foster a growth mindset that values learning, innovation and adaptation. Encourage your team members to embrace challenges, learn from failures and continuously improve. This mindset will help your organization to stay ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving industry. Lead by example, prioritize strategic planning, invest in your people, and embrace technology and innovation.