"The opportunity to participate in building, running and making a company successful was so intriguing that I had to take it."

When Marco Terenghi, GB ’10, joined Olli Salumeria in 2012, he was not only making a career change but a life change. After six years working in accounting and sales roles in a large multinational firm, Terenghi decided to join his friend Oliviero “Olli” Colmignoli at his young startup.

“When he reached out to me with his plans I could not resist the temptation of getting involved in a project that would give me the opportunity to test my skills outside of the very specific roles I had previously held.” Terenghi was now in the business of American-made, high-quality traditional and artisanal salumi.

Olli Salumeria Americana was incorporated in 2010 as a test to see whether there was a fit for traditional salumi in the U.S. market. “We manufacture traditional and artisanal salumi such as salami of different flavors, prosciutto, pancetta and guanciale. Salami currently represents 85 percent of our business.”

After doubling their revenue each of the last two years, the organization has begun to expand its operations. “The growth in the last two years is beyond any optimistic expectation. We are investing in the construction of a second production facility in Oceanside, Calif. The new factory will give us additional capacity and the ability to develop new products so as to target an even broader audience.”

According to Terenghi, “Working in the specialty food industry is exciting because it is dynamic, and there are always new products to try and food shows to attend. There is a direct return from my work when I go grocery shopping and see our products on the shelf. What I’ve found most fulfilling is planning for the future and developing things that do not yet exist. It is very rewarding to solve problems.”

Looking back, Terenghi described how his plans changed after moving to the U.S. from Italy in his twenties. “When I decided to apply to The Richmond MBA, I had only been in the U.S. for eight months, and I knew that I had to do something to improve my knowledge of the American business environment. Working was just not doing enough to increase my worth. Upon the completion of my MBA, I planned to go back to Italy with my new knowledge and fortified language skills which would have given me quite the edge over other Italian young professionals.” Since finding the opportunity with Olli, he has settled in the U.S. with no immediate plans to move back to Italy.

“The Richmond MBA taught me a few important things like critical thinking, decision-making and the ability to interact and cooperate with others. There is always something you can learn from your interlocutors, which is a lesson I learned after the many hours we spent in open discussion during nearly every class. This was one of my favorite aspects of the program,” Terenghi said.

Today, Terenghi splits his time between San Diego, Calif. where he and his family moved last July, and Olli’s headquarters in Mechanicsville, Va. “Currently, I am training to be a future executive of the company sharing my time and energy between short to mid-term activities such as sales, key accounts management and business development and long-term planning which includes preparing the future sales organization.”

As he looks toward the future, Terenghi remarked, “We are a small company that is growing fast. In a year we will have a facility that will increase our current capacity tenfold. I want to help make Olli Salumeria a beacon in the American deli meat industry. Even more, I want to make a good name for myself and earn the respect of the people I work with. I want to retire happy.”