Pretty much the first thing Paul Dinto did when he accepted Danbury's Cecil J. Previdi Award Friday from the city and Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, was thank his leadership team, name by name, year by year. He asked them to stand up at Danbury's Crown Plaza hotel.
"To say we've been very fortunate and lucky would be an understatement," Dinto told more than 300 people gathered at the annual Leadership Luncheon of the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce. "I could't have done it alone."
Dinto is a graduate of the Henry Abbott Technical School in Danbury, and he worked for Ducci Electric from 1963 until 1987 when he retired as executive vice president and founded his own firm. Now 26 years later, Paul Dinto Electrical Contractors Inc. based in Middlebury employs 185 field electricians, estimators, project managers and field engineers.
The Cecil J. Previdi Award is given every year to the city’s top entrepreneur in honor of Cecil J. Previdi, a Danbury business owner of Danbury Printing and Litho, a company grown by Previdi by using modern business techniques and methods. Previous winners have included Anthony M. Rizzo, Stew Leonard Jr., Farooq Kathwari and James Marquis, among others.
Ralph MacIntosh, chairman of the chamber's Previdi Award Committee and president of Del-Tron Precision in Bethel, said Dinto has taken electrical contracting to the next level.
MacIntosh also recalled a trip he took to Cape Cod with Dinto, when the prop on Dinto's boat got tangled on a lobster trap rope. Dinto told MacIntosh he'd have to jump into the water and untangle the rope. He said it felt like he was working on it for hours.
"It was cold," MacIntosh said. He said when he climbed back up the back of the boat, he found Dinto fishing off the front of the boat. MacIntosh said he was a little upset.
"How come you couldn't go in,"Macintosh said.
"Too many sharks," Dinto said.
Dinto knew Previdi, who built Danbury Printing and Litho from a tiny family business into a national printing firm. Previdi died in a plane crash at age 44.
"He was witty. He had vision. He was a quality guy all around," Dinto said.