Picture: Eddie Palermo holding up one of hi first signs for Palermo joinery, which celebrates its 50th year in business in 2016.


Interview with Lou Cavalera

I have been reading TimberTrader News since… I honestly can’t remember when I started! We have been getting the magazine for a long time. Definitely over 10 years or so. My company recently celebrated the business’s 50th anniversary, and I know I have been reading the magazine for a big chunk of that time. What I like about TimberTrader News is that it is focused on the industry I’m in. It’s great to see Australia-wide content about my peers mixed with industry news – that’s the information that joiners, like myself, like to read. Generic building industry magazines don’t interest me very much.

Before I was in my current role I was… very young! I did work as a draughtsman while I was at university doing my engineering degree. Since then I have been in the family business for my entire working life. I did take a two-year break to recharge my batteries, but have been with Palermo Joinery for over 30 years.

My motivation to get out of bed every morning and go to work is… the clients, for sure, they are the priority. My employees also motivate me to go to work every day. The fact that our business is still around is a real credit to my father-in-law because he started the company in 1965. Today he is 83 and still getting to work most mornings before I do. If that can’t motivate me to go to work every day, nothing will. He is a smart man and someone I really admire, not only for his work ethic but for what he was able to achieve since arriving in Australia as an Italian immigrant in 1956.

My career highlight would have to be… the company getting to 50 years. Seriously, reaching that milestone this year was huge for us. In our company, we don’t believe our achievements can be attributed to just one person. We work together as a business that’s more like a family. Like it or lump it, there is no ‘I’, it is always ‘we’ – so if you are working for Palermo Joinery then you’re part of our family. We make sure our employees know this from the start and we have some employees here that have been with us for over 30 years. We have even had employees work for us whose own fathers worked here before them!

I love working in the timber industry because… I have always loved building and construction, and even studied civil engineering at university. Timber and joinery is a big part of that industry, so I love it just as much. My father-in-law worked in Italy’s building industry as a young man, and when he came to Australia all he really knew was the building industry. This business suited him. Though the knowledge he possesses is broad, he just so happened that he had an opportunity to work with windows when he arrived, and the rest is history. For me, when I met his daughter, I had no idea about joinery. I was initially doing my own thing but after a little while he asked me to join the business. I didn’t realise I would still be here after all this time!

My biggest inspiration has been… my father-in-law, which is probably pretty obvious by this stage. To think that he arrives at work before me most mornings and is 83 and still working full-time is pretty remarkable. For 50 years he has shown an amazing work ethic by being here Monday to Friday, and many Saturdays. He imparts a lot of knowledge on to us – if you can’t follow his work ethic you haven’t learnt much. He is an amazing man.

When I am not working you can find me…with my two favourite ‘f’ words: family and footy. I’m a mad Collingwood fan!