One thing about Bernardo Luciano -- when it comes to the irrigation business, he's been there . . . done that.
It takes a special type of person to make things happen. Bernardo Luciano is one of these people. Born in Italy, he spent his childhood there. He was going to school and working part-time as a farm hand, but he wanted something better out of life. So in 1970, at the age of 15, with no real prospects for employment, Luciano took that bold step to come to the U.S. "It was scary; but I'm a survivor, so I knew I would be okay."
He was right. Despite a shaky start (he was fired from his first American job in the restaurant business because he wasn't legally old enough to work) he went on to become a successful businessman.
At 16, Luciano went to work for a landscape contractor. During his three years at the job, he became more impressed with the irrigation end of landscaping. "I noticed that it was really the irrigation systems that were responsible for keeping everything nice and green and fresh, not the work I was doing," he says. "One day it hit me, so I decided then and there that it would be good to get into the business of irrigation."
And he did just that. Luciano left his job with the landscape contractor and went to work for an irrigation contractor. After five years as an employee, he became a partner in the business. "Five years later, I walked away and went into my own contracting business," Luciano recalls. "I did it for ten years and built a pretty large company, but it became too big for me to handle. I sold the company in 1966 and then purchased Central Irrigation Supply."
Falling back on his days as a contractor, Luciano developed a business philosophy that would help him grow. In five short years, he went from three locations to an impressive eleven scattered throughout New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Minnesota, and Canada.
He credits the dramatic growth of the firm to his determination to provide outstanding service to his customers. This would be his key to the door of success. "I remember when I was a contractor, good service was sometimes hard to come by, but when you find it, it really means a lot.? To fulfill this goal, Luciano makes sure his company has all the necessary supplies in stock, and that he and his employees provide contractors with the help they need when it comes to solving irrigation problems.
Luciano knows he couldn?t have done all of this by himself. Some very special people help, namely his wife Filomena and his son, Anthony. While he and Filomena are lucky to be working together, they are even luckier to have gotten together at all. They were childhood sweethearts back in Italy, but when Luciano left to come to America, they didn't know if they would ever see each other again. However, his determination to make his dreams a reality once again paid off. "Once I was established here, I went back to Italy in 1977 and married Filomena," he stated. "It took me seven years, but we kept in touch all the time I was in the U.S., and here we are, together today."
Central Irrigation Supply is primarily a family-owned and operated business. "Filomena is right beside me, taking care of the bookkeeping here in New York, and Anthony runs one of the Atlanta stores," says Luciano. "I hope Anthony will one day follow in my footsteps and run the whole business."
"I owe much of the company's success to a few other people as well. We have two partners, Al Nagle, who runs two stores in Minnesota, and Larry Oliva, who runs one New York store and the New Jersey branch," says Luciano. "Also, although Jim Farr, isn't a partner, he is my right-hand man and oversees the activities of all the Atlanta locations. They have helped our company grow. More than just partners, we're a family and we're all in this together."
With a strong desire and determination, it is no wonder Bernardo Luciano has truly achieved the American dream.