The Tile Council of North America has named Dr. Giorgio Squinzi the 2022 Tile Person of the Year. Squinzi, who passed in 2019, was a chemist and a forward-thinking businessman with great humanitarian and entrepreneurial qualities.
Born in 1943 in Cisano Bergamasco, where his family had been displaced by the war, Dr. Squinzi was raised in Milan where, in 1937, his father Rodolfo founded MAPEI, a small company that manufactured auxiliary materials for construction and industry.
In 1969, Dr. Squinzi graduated from the University of Milan with a degree in Industrial Chemistry. He immediately joined his father at MAPEI, contributing to the innovative and revolutionary development of adhesives and chemical products for the building industry.
After initially breaking into the Canadian market in 1976 by supplying products for laying the athletics track for the Montreal Olympics, MAPEI opened its first factory outside Italy in Canada in 1978 within the industrial district of Laval near Montreal.
In 1984, after the death of his father, Dr. Squinzi took over the reins of the family business and guided it into a new phase in its growth: internationalization. MAPEI Group decided to enter the United States market by opening a plant in Tempe, Arizona, in 1984 and creating the subsidiary MAPEI Corporation. The Arizona plant was quickly followed by a facility in Chicago, Illinois, in 1985.
Dr. Squinzi’s idea of building a number of manufacturing facilities that were located close to consumers on every continent led to a period of international expansion for MAPEI, which, over the years, would see exponential growth as the company opened new plants on every continent. In this endeavor, Dr. Squinzi had the backing of his sister, lawyer Laura Squinzi, and his wife, Adriana Spazzoli, who led MAPEI Group’s marketing and communication operations.
In the U.S., Dr. Squinzi’s vision led to the creation and strategic growth of the leading manufacturer of setting materials for the construction industry. MAPEI has locations and four state-of-the-art labs strategically placed in the U.S. to best serve customers (Deerfield Beach, FL, headquarters and Fort Lauderdale factory; Calhoun, GA; Dalton, GA; Fredericksburg, VA; Swedesboro, NJ; Eagan, MN; San Bernardino, CA; Garland, TX; and Wildwood, FL). Dr. Squinzi also expanded the growth of the corporation itself with the acquisition of L&M (1996), North American Adhesives (1996), VINAVIL (2002), Polyglass (2008), GRT (2014) and, in the 2000s, being awarded the business of both Lowe’s and Floor & Decor.
Under the leadership of Dr. Squinzi, MAPEI's commitment to research also continued, earning him an honorary degree in Chemical Engineering from Politecnico di Milano in 2002.
MAPEI's great contribution to the chemical industry also helped get Dr. Squinzi elected as president of Federchimica (from 1997 to 2003 and from 2005 to 2011) and president of the European Chemical Industry Council – Cefic (from 2010 to 2012). His commitment to innovation was contagious and both organizations benefited from his drive for excellence.
Thanks to his commitment to industry and business, Dr. Squinzi also served as president of Confindustria from 2012 to 2016.
Dr. Squinzi was awarded numerous honors both abroad and in Italy. In 1998, he was made a Cavaliere del Lavoro (Order of Merit for Labour). In 2013, he was awarded the title of “Knight of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy” by the President of the Italian Republic.
Like his father Rodolfo, Dr. Squinzi was passionate about cycling. He established a professional MAPEI cycling team from 1993 to 2002, which was at the top of all the international rankings for many years.
Upon notice of this year’s TCNA’s Tile Person of the Year award, Veronica and Marco Squinzi provided the following statements:
"It is a great honor for us to receive this recognition on behalf of our father Giorgio, who loved the United States and always considered it the land of opportunity. He approached the U.S. market in the 1980s, finding from the beginning a strong and real support from institutions and the economic environment. After having grown both organically and through local acquisitions, today MAPEI Group has an important footprint in America with 16 MAPEI facilities and 6 Polyglass facilities all over the country, and we’ll keep on investing.” – Veronica Squinzi, Corporate CEO and Global Development Director for MAPEI Group
“Staying with our strategy, we have some new ongoing projects in the U.S. for the development of products with high-quality standards that meet the needs of the local market, a market that rewards excellence. Beyond establishing and updating strategic manufacturing and distribution facilities, our business strategy aims to grow customer distribution and product-line offerings, positioning MAPEI as a system solution and complete-project provider.” – Marco Squinzi, Corporate CEO and Research & Development Director for MAPEI Group
Luigi Di Geso, President and CEO of MAPEI North America, stated, “It was a great privilege that TCNA took time to honor Dr. Squinzi and to reflect on his contributions to the industry – in the U.S. and around the globe.”
Thanks to Dr. Giorgio Squinzi’s far-reaching vision, MAPEI Group is now a multinational company operating in 57 countries, with 91 subsidiaries and 11,000 employees. Its revenue for 2022 is forecast to be over 3 billion euros.