I recently read a blog post by Donna DeRosa of Donna DeRosa Coaching which discussed her inspiration to become an entrepreneur through her father’s example. Her blog sparked a light in me that I had to write the story of my inspiration. I am writing this story for multiple reasons: 1. I am so proud of my family and the values they have instilled in me, I want to share it; 2. I know that if you have an idea burning inside of you, I want you to believe you can do it, because you can.
If you asked me about my Aunt Pat and my Uncle Chez, I would say they have been my second parents. They have always been nothing short of absolutely present. Every stepping stone in my life, from childhood through now, my aunt and uncle are evergreens. Beautiful people, inside and out, they go above and beyond for their family and community, and while I could continue to gush about just how much I love them, this story is about how they have filled the American Dream and inspired me to become an entrepreneur.
My uncle Chez (Cesare) Perfetto immigrated to the United States from Italy around the same time as my mother’s family. Coming from humble means, my uncle’s father worked as a lumberjack and farmer, and Chez was always fascinated with the heavy equipment. By the time my uncle was 16 years old, balancing school, family, his side job as a landscaper, Cesare spent every free waking moment he could learning everything about construction, and of course, the beautiful machines.
At 22, Cesare married his long-time childhood sweetheart, my aunt Patricia Picchiello, and together they decided between opening a business or owning a home. With the help of his parents, who took a loan out on their home to assist, Cesare purchased one small machine and a truck. Hard work and perseverance were ingrained in his Italian heritage, and Cesare never stopped; there was no job too small for him to dismiss, and in 1985, in Borough Park, Brooklyn, Perfetto Excavation was born.
On September 11, 2001, while working on a project on Manhattan’s West 77th Street, the fateful moment of attacks on the Twin Towers happened. Quickly springing into action, Cesare contacted the Port Authority and office of former Mayor Guiliani, and rode down, with his loyal laborer force, and any equipment he could, to the rubble. They spent 3 weeks voluntarily cleaning up debris, and searching for survivors.
In October of 2012, when the city faced the destructive forces of Hurricane Sandy, Cesare and his employees voluntarily spent 2 months cleaning up debris. They lent the New York City Police Department light towers to work through the night to ensure public safety. Pumping out basements, helping people recover from Red Hook through Garretson Beach, anywhere former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz needed help, PCC eagerly assisted.
Fast forward to today, 31 years later, Perfetto Contracting Company, Inc., was awarded the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Top Ten Environmental Project Winner for their work on Bushwick’s Inlet Park District Headquarters and Comfort Station. PCC was awarded this $17 million project in 2010 by the NYC DPR. The project included the construction of a three story LEED Platinum certified comfort station with a green roof. PCC was also responsible for the constructing all site utilities and a waterfront park. They are one of the largest and top contracting companies in the tri-state area, employing hundreds of people, including dozens who have been with them for all thirty years.
Together they built an empire. Together they have inspired Frank and I that we could open Bath, Body, and Candle Moments – a seemingly far cry from construction, but the idea of building and creating from scratch, something useful, powerful, and meaningful, to help people and the community – this is what has inspired us. My Aunt Pat and Uncle Chez are remarkable people because they have never lost sight of their dreams and their family. They are our inspiration that with perseverance and fortitude, anyone, no matter what your background, can become an entrepreneur.