Editor’s note: The Italy-America Chamber of Commerce Southeast, based in Miami, publishes a monthly interview spotlighting members of its newly established Georgia chapter, which seeks to showcase and grow business ties between the country and the state that already is home to more than 60 Italian firms. Learn more about the new chapter here or find more stories on our Italy channel at globalatlanta.com/italy. Sign up for monthly Italy newsletters here.
This month, the chamber caught up with Carlo Gfall, the Managing Director at Omer USA, to discuss company relocation and US-ITALY business opportunities. The interview has been edited for length and clarity and republished with permission.
IACCSE: Please tell us a little bit about Omer USA and its origins.
Mr. Gfall: Our company’s DNA arises from the automotive lift industry, which has a very long tradition in North Italy. Since the mother company’s inception, foreign export has played an integral role. Recently, OMER USA got established in the US, which can be seen as the natural result of many successful years of exporting to North America.
IACCSE: Can you share about Omer USA’s uniqueness?
Mr. Gfall: Due to many factors we operate in a niche of the market where a certain grade of performance and customization is needed. As of yet, our company’s size allows us to be very flexible and to quickly develop customized and engineered products, which is not very common among those in our industry. We are seeing that OMER can really shine, especially in North America, through its production of better quality products and more personalized services. [pullquote]Atlanta moreover has the size and the infrastructures to meet all industry needs.[/pullquote]
IACCSE: How was your transition to Georgia and how did you decide to settle in Atlanta?
Mr. Gfall: Starting a new business from scratch in another country is never easy in the beginning, especially when trying to preserve and uphold our Italian company’s practices. Now, after just a bit over two years, everything is settling down.
When deciding a location for our new subsidiary Atlanta made a lot of sense for us, being that it is close to many seaports (we import almost 100 percent from Italy). The business can then reap the benefits of the largest airport in the nation. It is one of the largest ground transportation hubs and a relatively competitive milieu for the real estate and job market. Atlanta moreover has the size and the infrastructures to meet all industry needs.
IACCSE: What is the current size of OMER USA and how is this shaping your future expansion plans?
Mr. Gfall: OMER USA is a small team, composed of six people, covering the main activities of the company, including technical tasks. However, we have distributors covering almost all of the U.S. & Canada and we are locating regional managers in different areas of the country to better support our clients. Business is still strong, considering the present situation, and our growth plan is definitely ambitious.
IACCSE: What kind of experience did OMER have during COVID-19?
Mr. Gfall: The very first two or three weeks of April 2020 were difficult, mostly due to the uncertainty of the situation, especially for a recently established business. Luckily, we felt a very small impact due to the virus, and after a short period of time, sales and installs started to flow again.
IACCSE: What is the first goal you have reached as a business?
Mr. Gfall: The first goal we reached was to have a reliable and close-knit team. They are the pillars from which we want to establish and build our company.
IACCSE: Are you in business with other Italian Companies here in Georgia or American businesses oriented towards Italy? What can you share with us about it?
Mr. Gfall: As aforementioned we are the American subsidiary of a medium-sized Italian company, OMER SpA. Even if we do not belong to a large industrial group or a public stock company we are fully convinced that to get the best out of the North American market you need to have a foot in the door. This is why we decided to come to the U.S. with a direct presence and create an Italian-US connection.
IACCSE: Any other information you would like to share, e.g. hobbies, special interests, family, etc
Mr. Gfall: My family and I moved from Italy to Atlanta at the end of 2018 and, in December 2019, we had a son. Atlanta is a very “green” city, with loads of parks or trails in the surrounding neighborhoods, which makes for a good place for families.
Managing Director: Carlo Gfall
Address: Omer USA – 3402 Oakcliff rd ste#B6, Atlanta, 30340 GA
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org