Canadian Italian Business and Professional Association

Two CIBPA award winners come with an Amherstburg connection

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Canadian Italian Business and Professional Association (CIBPA) presented its “Awards of Excellence” last week with two of the six winners having an Amherstburg connection.

Among the winners were John Miceli, Amherstburg’s chief administrative officer (CAO), and Sobeys Amherstburg franchise owner Rennie Rota. Miceli won the community service award while Rota and Sobeys Amherstburg were named CIBPA’s business of the year.

Videos were played for each award winner with the winners themselves outlining their stories and testimonials coming from associates, colleagues, family members and friends of the winners.

Miceli noted he and his five siblings are children of Italian immigrants and their parents instilled hard work and family values into them.

“My family was the key to my success,” he said.

Miceli said he learned customer service while working in an Italian grocery store. He said public service is a career where “you are there to serve the people.”

After a 23-year career in Windsor, Miceli came to Amherstburg as CAO in 2015. He said he has been proud to work with council, including Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale, to help move the town forward.

“Working with council, I was able to influence a number of changes,” he said. “Today, we are a community to watch and a community on the rise.”

CIBPA award winners included (from left): Dr. Geri Salinitri, Dr. John Francis Cappucci, John Miceli, Lina Marie Mastronardi, Olimpio Ferrara and Rennie Rota. At far right are CIBPA president Emanuele Calamita and board member Frank D’Agnillo.

One of the children of Miceli and his wife Rita is a son who is autistic and Miceli was also recognized for the work he was done fundraising for autism.

“I’ve been very proud to raise millions of dollars and help over 300 families in Windsor-Essex with autism,” he said.

Miceli said he was humbled to receive the award and had a number of council members and administration on hand Friday night at the Ciociaro Club to support him and his family as he received the award.

As part of the video presentation, Windsor city councillor Bill Marra called Miceli “one of the most genuine, value-based, hard working, ethical people you can meet” and “in my opinion, one of the greatest champions” of Windsor-Essex County.

John Miceli (left) was CIBPA’s community service award winner Making the presentations were CIBPA president Emanuele Calamita and board member Frank D’Agnillo.

“I’ve learned so much from John,” said Marra.

DiCarlo said the community service award is “perfect for John Miceli.”

“He cares about the community,” said DiCarlo. “He never stops working to make it a place to live, visit and work.”

“John is a man who is truly proud of his heritage,” added Miceli’s wife Rita.

Rota, who was surrounded by his family at the ceremony, also got his start with an Italian grocer with him pursuing that career as he advanced through school. He joined Miracle Food Mart and travelled with wife Anne throughout the province while with that company.

“It was a great experience for us,” he said.

They came to Amherstburg after their third daughter was born and purchased Rocco’s Fine Foods, which was located on Victoria St. S.

“We decided to put down some roots,” he said. “Rocco’s Fine Foods was for sale and the rest is history.”

Admitting they struggled for the first few years, they grew the business and started to experience success. They would eventually explore a relationship with Sobeys, who offered a format Amherstburg needed at that time, he said.

“They were looking to develop new supermarkets in Ontario,” he said.

Sobeys opened the Amherstburg store 15 years ago and the 40,000-square-foot store now employs 120 people.

Rennie Rota (left) and Sobeys Amherstburg captured the business of the year award. Making the presentations were CIBPA president Emanuele Calamita and board member Frank D’Agnillo.

Rota calls Amherstburg a “tight knit community” and thanked Tino Riccio for nominating him and the local Sobeys store. He said there are a number of great non-profit organizations in Amherstburg, citing the Rotary Club, Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce and Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission as some of them.

“These wonderful organizations have done great work,” he said.

Rota stated that “it is a real honour to be recognized” and said “this is an award our family and I will cherish for a while.”

Other award winners included Dr. Geri Salinitri as professional of the year, Dr. John Francis Cappucci as young professional of the year, Lina Marie Mastronardi as young professional of the year and community service and Ferrara Income Tax as the family business of the year.