maandag 25 mei 2020
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De 5 vragen aan... Gianfranco de Leo

De 5 vragen aan... Gianfranco de Leo

For the people who don't know you, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Gianfranco de Leo and I am 53 years old. I am Italian and I live in Bari area, in the South of Italy, or Centre of the World as I like to define my region. I am married and I have two children, Viviana and Luca. Both are students. In the city where I was born, Terlizzi, there is a quite big and important flowers production area with more than 500 companies that produce cut flowers and plants. There is also a daily flower market where the growers can sell their production. My father was one of the first that started the commercialization of bulbs, cuttings and young plant from Holland, before I was born. So, I can say from when I was born, I am surrounded with flowers. After my studies, I started to work with my father, and I started to co-operate and work with lots of Dutch companies, especially for cut flowers as tulips and other crops as alstroemeria freesia and lisianthus. 

After few years I changed my job and started to work for Syngenta, where I worked for 18 years in different roles. My first role in Syngenta was Sales Responsible for my region. Later I became Product Manager for Annuals, Cuttings and Pot Plants for Italy. During my last five years in Syngenta, I was Crop Specialist Pot Plant for Southern Europe.

Five years ago, I started to work for Schoneveld Breeding as Area Manager South Europe. I like life, I like people, I like music. Indeed, I am a guitar bass player and my dream is to become a very famous guitar bass player! Never say never!

What makes this job so special?
I like my job. This is the first answer on why my job is special. I truly believe that business is based on relationship. My daily job is to be constantly in contact with young plant producers, growers and the retailers’ chain. I travel a lot and I like it because it helps me to open my mind. Every day I meet people and get the opportunity to learn something new. I help my company to create a strong relationship with the market chain in order to understand and meet the needs. At Schoneveld, we test all the new hybrids by trial before the official launch on the market. I follow many trials per year and the goal of these is to understand if the new varieties are suitable for the climate circumstances in the South of Europe in the technical and commercial way. What I like more of my job is to see final consumers enjoying our genetic.Ranunculus

What news has kept you busy lately?
Unfortunately, we are living a terrible period due to Covid-19. All the nations in my area are undergoing terrible days. Infection is affecting an impressive number of people and day by day it seems like reading a war report about the people who are dying. During the last weeks, we have been imposed the lockdown of activities in order to guarantee the social distance between people. Which is the only way to get out of it. People have panicked over this invisible, but very dangerous, enemy. The economic and financial impact in our sector is horrible. Growers are forced to throw away all their production because flower shops, garden center and street markets are closed. All the events in which flowers and plants are normally used, like weddings and funerals or other celebrations, are forbidden by the restrictive measures taken. It is necessary that we keep united and not to let ourselves be discouraged. Anyway, it is crucial that local Governments and the European Union support the floriculture business in this moment in order to re-start, as soon as it will be possible, with less problems.
I would like to stay optimistic. Can there ever be a world without flowers? Many people, in this difficult moment, are reviewing how important the small things are, like a handshake or a hug. I think nobody wants to give up being surrounded by the colors, the shapes and the scent of flowering plants.


What would you like to pick up on or change?
World is changing. I hope we will be able to co-operate along the market chain, to be more attractive, especially for the new generations. Sustainability and environment friendly behavior are very important and, in our industry, often not applicated. We must tell the story there is to tell behind each beautiful flower. Lots of final consumers, especially in the South of Europe, don’t know how many years and how many resources are needed to create a new variety, or how many months and which technology are needed to produce a flowering plant by growers. Each flower can tell a story.

What are you going to do this weekend?
I will stay at home with my family. I will have a long video call with my daughter that lives in Milano, some good food and good drink. And music of course!

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Hi brother Nice story well done 👍👍

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