A story of Richard Devenuti, VP of Microsoft, reconnecting with his Italian Roots.
di Oreste Mottola (riproduzione riservata)
Richard Devenuti, vice-president of Microsoft, one of the greatest worldwide manufacturing firms, has "salernitane" (Province of Salerno) roots.
Eighty years ago, his grandfather departed from Altavilla Silentina (a village in the Province of Salerno), to the gain of The United States.
The number two man to Bill Gates set out to discover his Altavilla Silentina roots.
He arrived in the town on a Sunday morning, having in hand only the 50 year old photo of his father, then an American soldier in Italy, taken with his Altavillesi cousins. The intervening decades and the distance, had, as it often happen, canceled every relationship between the "altavillese" part and the American part of the family.
The last name of the family had suffered a curious americanization. That image was the only trace that remained. As soon as Devenuti, who doesn't speak Italian, had arrived in Piazza Castello with wife and his two children, he hardly had time to show
the photo to some elderly men, before the family De Venuti was immediately
singled out - a line of businessmen, teachers - and, by pure coincidence, even of experts of information technology.
The meeting that followed was very moving and went on for a long time. Emiddio Mangone, who acted as interpreter, found it difficult to succeed in holding the rhythm of so many questions and histories of the families, living for so long a time,
separated by two continents.
"It is a fantastic experience to discover - Devenuti said - the branches of our family in Italy. Almost a half century from when my father had been to Altavilla. My boys and I, have recovered a fundamental part of our family history".
Richard Devenuti, graduate to the University of Washington, has been with Bill Gates since 1987. At Microsoft, in addition to being vice-president, Divenuti is responsible for worldwide external relationships and for the entire inside technological infrastructure. In the past, he had been manager of sales operations and the financial control for the United States.
Richard Devenuti is the son of Riccardo, a space engineer in the service of NASA
and a member of the team that, in the sixties, conquered the Moon. When
Riccardo came to Altavilla, at the end of the fifties, it was to bring to his father Domenico, in a glass bottle, a handful of earth taken in the frazione (suburb}of Cerrocupo, the village from which all the Di Venuti originate.
It was an action of filial love toward the founder of the American Divenuti family, who, immediately after The Great War had ended, chose to put at his back the wretched life that Altavilla offered to everyone and to try the American "avventura". A choice, seeing the results, that was, indeed, very appropriate.
"I will return to Altavilla as soon as possible," said Richard. This time, however, will be him very difficult to preserve anonymity! [Oreste Mottola]