Conversation with our VP of R&D

10/10/2006

A good deal of the magic of Precision’s success is credited to Reno Nannini who heads up our Research and Development team. Reno’s passion for Precision is evident in his commitment to excellence and impeccable service.

First, a little about Reno’s background:
At the invitation of his grandparents, Reno left Italy at the age of 14. The year was 1952. He flew to the US by himself knowing no English. He said that he remembers being so scared that he did not eat anything or use the bathroom for the entire 24 hour trip. He lived in Chicago for a year and then moved to Iowa and eventually came back to Chicago. He attended various schools on and off having much difficulty due to the language problem.

What kind of work were you doing prior to starting at Precision in 1971?
I was always mechanically inclined and enjoyed electrical work. But at the insistence of my uncles, I went to brick laying school and became a brick layer/stone mason.

In 1963, I started fooling around with cars and bought a “funny car” with a friend. In 1965, I started racing. Back in those days, I lived in Highwood. I met Jim Belmonti because Jim liked to wax cars back then. He would come into the shop where we kept our racing cars to help with the waxing.

Brick laying was a seasonal job, so in the winter months, I would do maintenance or mechanic type work.

How did you find out about the position here?
When the Zacharias’s bought this building on Peterson, they ran into problems with their brick laying contractor. Jim knew that I did that kind of work and called me to see if I could help out. I came in to help on a small job. Not long after that, the management asked me if I could take over the maintenance of the building. I told them I would do it for six months and then go back to brick laying. That never happened, I’m still here!

Tell us about life at Precision in the early 70’s.
Since the company was still operating out of the Keystone facility, I was responsible for assembling all of the tanks and doing all of the plumbing in the Peterson building. I put most of this plant together.

Can you share a few stories that stand out in your mind?
Well, I remember this one time when I told the Zacharias’ that I could speed up a machine. I built a mask. At first it went real slow, then real fast – up to 80 feet a minute! Then we heard a big BOOM, a pipe broke, we lost a gold tank. That was memorable!

We had a lot of fun working back then and often worked 60 hours or more a week, sometimes through the night to get something set up for the morning production.

What do you think about the future of plating in the US?
Plating will always be around. We just always need to keep learning and keep improving.

Do you race anymore?
No. I leave that to my son. Once in awhile I go to a race.

Tell us how you spend your free time, your outside interests.
I like to help my son at his welding shop. I do machine work for him. He does a lot of work on race cars. I love spending time with my grandchildren. And, I love to cook. I make great spaghetti, pork roast, ribs and beef roast. I even bought a slicer to slice up my roasts.

Anything else?
I want to thank Jim Belmonti for all that I have. He had the confidence in me that allowed me to grow.

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