Enzo Vardaro, Entrepreneur of the Year 2016

Every year, Ernst & Young is committed to building a better working world as well as supporting entrepreneurs. For over 20 years, EY has honored Canada’s most inspiring entrepreneurs with the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards—to shine the spotlight on game-changing business creators.

After a whirlwind 2 weeks filled with media opportunities and speaking engagements, not to mention, fulfilling his role as VP of Design & Marketing at Artitalia Group, I finally booked some time to sit with Enzo Vardaro, a recent 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year Award recipient, and asked him what this all meant to him, for his peers, and for Artitalia Group.

“To be honest with you, I was rather shocked that I had won,” said Enzo Vardaro. “I was in a category with three very talented individuals that have contributed so much to manufacturing and design. I was a little unprepared but I think it was a humbling experience; I think just being nominated and recognized by Ernst & Young was enough for me.”

As a member of senior management, Enzo has always done his best to lead by example in order to help and motivate his team. “I’m a big believer in cultivating employees during their first years of employment at Artitalia Group,” said Enzo. “I think it’s crucial that managers and team members alike invest a great deal of time and effort in training employees in order to ensure a proper integration within our workforce in order to build success.”

Success is what has sustained Artitalia Group as a custom designer and world-class manufacturer for over 30 years, and Enzo attributes a lot of the company’s success to the unrelenting passion of Artitalia Group’s 400 professionals. “We have some of the most talented and out-of-the-box thinkers employed at our organization,” said Enzo. “What makes our organization so special is the fact that we are dedicated in mentoring all of our employees. We give them the tools to lead by example, offer constructive criticism, as well as provide the opportunity to help our employees learn for themselves.”

Aside from mentoring his employees, Enzo Vardaro is very much implicated in all business practices governing the overall organization. “I think it’s important to give back to the employees by offering incentives for providing great work. We have created continuous improvement and employee recognition programs but also created community programs to help shape young designers, engineers, machinists, etc.”

And to this point, this past February, Enzo and his team helped two young up-and comers understand how a simple sketch turns into a complete custom retail fixture when they took part in the Pave Student Design Challenge. “It was a great initiative on all accounts; the students did great work and PAVE is really doing an excellent job in showcasing this young talent,” said Enzo.

With a “40 Under 40” Award and a EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award, what’s the next step for Enzo Vardaro? “I think ultimately, I just want our business to continue to grow. At Artitalia Group, we believe in succession planning. We want all of our employees to succeed and grow with us and we encourage everyone to further develop their skills for career development. At the end of the day, if our employees succeed, we succeed and I think that a lot of this mentality is missing from today’s entrepreneurs. We embrace constant learning and we empower our employees in a way that inspires each individual.”