Saverio Paventi Avantec Métal Inc.
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“After just one year in Montréal, my father knew that Canada would be our home.”
“Stavamo bene in Campodipietra,” Saverio (Sam) Paventi recalls as he reflected to his childhood years in the Molisan town of Campodipietra, just 7 km from Campobasso. “We had land, a home, and our family was there.” However, Sergeant Major Michele Paventi’s definitive return home in 1945 after serving the Italian army for nearly ten years signalled a new beginning for his family. As Sam recounts “my father knew that greater prosperity and extensive opportunities for himself and his family lay across the Atlantic Ocean.” In August of 1950, following a Canadian government’s call for labourers, Michele Paventi and three other Campodipietresi sailed on the S.S. Vulcania headed for Canada’s Pier 21 at the Port of Halifax. His immediate family in New Britain and Hartford, Connecticut and their close friend in Montreal had arranged his emigration, and helped him to settle upon arriving in Canada’s metropolis. Michele soon after found work as a day labourer in Montreal’s construction industry. Sam remembers watching his mother open his father’s letters in their home in Campodipietra, and tearfully read his news on finding work, making friends, and bravely beginning a new life on the “other” continent.
The Ties of Kinship Across Borders
Sam Paventi and his family were no strangers to the experience of migration. His mother’s father, Francesco Lamenta had crossed the Atlantic Ocean seven times from the early 1900s onwards before returning to North America to live his final years with his daughters in Montreal and Hartford. Family ties across the U.S.-Canada border persevered over distance and time, as both sides of the family provided support and encouragement as needs arose, for instance, when Michele Paventi turned to his nephew in Cleveland, Ohio for a small loan on their first home in Montreal, a necessity when we consider the difficulties large families faced in renting affordable housing. Like many young boys who had recently arrived in Montreal in the early 1950s, Sam attended the boys’ school Saint-Philippe-Bénizi, situated close to the Church Notre-Dame-de-la-Défense. He then advanced to Holy Family School and Cardinal Newman High School. Sam always worked part-time while going to school. At the age of ten, he was working every weekday from 5-9pm and on Saturdays from 12-9pm at the Colibri Snack Bar in the Villeray district. All these hours for just $5 per week. The older siblings were working by this time–either full-time or part-time: “Everyone contributed to put food on the table.”
From Selling Groceries, Cigarettes, and Oil to Making Metal Components
Once he completed high school in 1960, Sam joined his father, and his brother Carlo to start the family grocery business, Carlo Supermarket. Since the age of 14, Carlo Paventi had worked in a grocery store as a delivery-boy on bicycle, stocking shelves, and later on, minding the fruit and meat counters, until he became a first-class butcher. Alongside his brother, Sam mastered the same skills. In 1963, Sam married Marie Labrie, and shortly after their children, Gina, Marco and Patrick were born. Over the years, Sam became employed in the tobacco and oil and gas industries. It was not be long before Sam would be approached by his cousin, Joseph Paventi to join his company, JP Métal America Inc. For seventeen years, he was the company’s Sales Manager until an opportunity to initiate his own firm arose: Avantec Métal Inc. was born.
“I was looking for more, for better,” confides Sam, and since 1989, he has never looked back. In providing leadership and direction at Avantec Métal, Sam Paventi along with his son Patrick, and their business partner, Lorenzo Rudi look forward to new challenges and opportunities that the 21st century will bring.