I think when I started working for my dad 24 years ago, he thought, “she’ll get bored, find something she loves and move on.” What I think both of us didn’t expect is that I did, find something I loved.
There is so much that I love about our company. I was first struck by how hard our men work, and what they can accomplish! I love when our customers tell us how much they appreciate how kind our people are. I love the smell when you walk into a green house. I love the moment when the sun is rising and the trucks are rolling out. But I think what I love the most is that I get to spend time with my dad, because when I was growing up, he was spending time growing the business.
My dad has a tremendous work ethic. He gets it from his Italian immigrant parents, Mary and Corrado Vignocchi. Their home was a modest farming town in Northern Italy. They fled Italy before the war, both to escape the terror and find much needed work. What they found here was hope, but it wasn’t easy.
I remember those afternoons with my grandparents, when it was just the three of us, I would say, “tell me.” “Oh silly girl. Tell you what?” “Tell me what it was really like.”
They would tell me stories about a time before they could communicate in English, how people would treat them, with harshness and disrespect. It still makes me heavy of heart when I think of it, and I think of it often, to remind myself.
They would tell me although it was hurtful they didn’t care. They were here and wanted to provide a better life for their children. A life of possibility, which proudly, they did…look at my dad.
This brings me to the ultimate reason I stay, through a recession, through climate change and even through our current labor shortage.
You see, dad and I, like many in our industry, are a product of immigrants. My dad has always been conscientious of that. In our 49 years in business my father has made helping the people that work for us as important as helping our customers.
That’s something I want to carry forward, a higher purpose for working as hard as you can for something bigger than yourself. Hopefully in honoring my heritage I will hear of yet another college graduation that fills yet another family with pride.
Donna Vignocchi Zych