Many of today’s leading building firms have emerged from very humble beginnings. That’s also the case with the Home Builders Association of Greater Cleveland’s new president, Enzo Perfetto.
Enzo’s story begins with his father Mr. Enzo Perfetto and his strong Italian heritage.
Enzo’s father grew up in the hills of Italy. He was a sheepherder before he was ever a teenager, and he had to drop out of school after the eighth grade to help the family. At age 10, he witnessed his father’s death during World War II.
As an early teen, Mr. Perfetto mustered up the courage to come to America, which was known as the Land of Opportunity throughout Europe. He had $75 in his pocket and couldn’t even speak the language.
When you left Europe back then, you had to have a sponsor.
“You had to have someone that said, ‘When Mr. Perfetto comes over, I’ll make sure that he has a job and more.’ A lot of things have changed since then.
“Back then it was a real honor to come to America. When you arrived at Ellis Island, you had to have a physical to make sure that you didn’t have any diseases or illnesses. If you did, they would put you back on the boat and send you back to your homeland,” said Enzo. “We had distant relatives in the Cleveland, Pennsylvania, and New York areas, and we had an uncle in the Cleveland area. Dad was originally supposed to go to Arizona, but a twist of fate brought him here.”
One thing led to another and Mr. Perfetto started in the construction industry. He was very hands on, tinkering with odd jobs and doing some remodeling. That turned into a home building business and he was self taught.
“My father was very rare. He was a very intelligent man who taught himself the trade. In the beginning, we did everything from framing to electrical and more. We did everything but the block work, and we built two homes a year. That was enough to support a family of five people, but we did everything ourselves. What a valuable experience to be mentored by your father. And you learn so much more than just how to frame a home. You learn how to interact with people, pay your bills on time, treat the trades and homeowners correctly, and more. In my opinion, there is no better way of learning this industry than hands on,” he said.
Enzo feels that his Dad’s story is the perfect entrepreneur and immigration story.
“You go to a different country with $75 in your pocket and you not only start a business but you pass it on to the next generation. How cool is that!”
In 1988 Enzoco Homes incorporated as a business. Today, Enzo and his brother Joe are at the helm creating dynamic homes in Lake and Geauga Counties.
Enzo’s interest in the Cleveland HBA and his desire take a leadership role just evolved.
“I remember going to the HBA with my parents. I started to interact with the members and trustees and I started to realize what they did. It just kind of clicked. I realized that this kind of involvement is really necessary. If you don’t have strong leadership, then there’ll be no business to worry about. The existing members must have done a great job conveying what they did to capture my attention. I realized that they would not be active members forever and that the HBA would need new people. That’s when and where I saw my involvement take shape,” he said.
Enzo has a passion for the industry.
“I love building homes! When you go to the site, smell the dirt, and see the two-by-fours going up, you know that a family will be moving in shortly. They will be celebrating their first holiday or bringing their first child home in a couple of months. It’s a very touching experience. I really do impact people’s lives and so do all of my fellow builders and tradespeople in the industry.”