Sixty years ago, in a small Argentinean town, Luis “Tatin” Scorza had the skill, drive and vision to make his community cleaner. He manufactured street sweepers for a town whose streets were not even paved. He designed waste disposal systems that would transform his community and became a pioneer of the urban hygiene industry. With an environmentally conscious eye, he grew his business in the region and beyond.

His daughters now carry on their father’s work, vision and legacy as they grow their company and continue to support their team of employees and the community where it all began. Today, Marcela Ana Scorza and her sister Silvia Ana Scorza guide their family’s business around the unique challenges of the region, while continuing its global growth and success.

WiFB sat down with Marcela Ana Scorza to discuss the importance of communication, fostering teamwork and her hopes for the family’s next generation of leaders.

Government and Public Services Exhibition, 2018. Image courtesy of SCORZA.

How was SCORZA founded and what roles do you and your family play?

SCORZA was founded in 1958 with the goal of manufacturing compactors and sweepers for waste disposal and urban hygiene. At the time, it was a very rare thing given that all the streets in our city of Oncativo weren’t paved. But our father and founder of the company Luis JD Scorza y Cia SA had a forward-looking vision that we continue to embrace today.

He based the business on a fundamental set of values and beliefs that remain an essential part of our company mission. Respect for the people that make up our team and a client-centred approach are of paramount importance, and so are high quality, integrity and environmental responsibility.

My sister Silvia and I are the second generation to run the family business. We were exposed to the day-to-day operations since a very young age. When our father passed away suddenly in a car accident, we felt compelled to formally enter the family business. As young as 17 years old, we were learning the administration of the company. Today, each of us has been involved with the company for over 40 years.

Silvia is the President of the company, and I’m the Vice President. Our children, the third generation, were trained and prepared before joining the business and currently play different roles in the company. Juan Manuel Caon is an electrical engineer; Luis Alberto Demaria is an agronomist; Antonella Demaria is an architect, and Mariana Caon has a Bachelor in Theatre Acting. All four were raised around the company and decided to continue their involvement.

SCORZA – A Family's Mission to Advance Urban Hygiene
Aerial photograph of the SCORZA headquarters, 1970. Image courtesy of SCORZA.
SCORZA – A Family's Mission to Advance Urban Hygiene
Production site. Image courtesy of SCORZA.

In addition to your official role in the company, you are also a daughter, sister and mother. How do you keep all these roles from conflicting?

After dedicating our lives to the family business, there is a drive and passion that unites all of us. There will always be some form of conflict because we are human after all, but whether professionally or personally, we work out the disagreements through candid discussions.

Our approach extends beyond family. With Silvia and I running the business as women, we are very open in our communication with our work team because we couldn’t function as a company without them. It’s important to us that we offer both our employees and customers personal attention and consideration. The prosperity of our entire company team is the highest priority for us, and something Silvia and I take very seriously.

SCORZA – A Family's Mission to Advance Urban Hygiene
Government and Public Services Exhibition, 2018.Image courtesy of SCORZA.

Your sector is very specific. How do you guarantee sustainability and what are the main challenges related to the industry?

One of the biggest challenges has been to continue the legacy of our father. The company bears his name, his brand and his tradition of manufacturing the enormous range of products we provide. The other challenge has been to support our family business with products that are exclusively sold to municipalities or private companies dedicated to the urban hygiene service. That is not easy in a country like Argentina.

We face challenges of instability and government policy. Back in 2002 and 2003, when the country went bankrupt, we decided to pause our operations for 16 months in an effort to minimise our expenses so that we could still pay our employees something while we worked to reopen our doors. That day came in 2003, when we restarted our manufacturing and were able to call all of our 150 employees back to work. At that time, we also decided to buy out our brothers, who held 50 per cent of the company. My sister and I now own 100 per cent of the company and lead the family business with the help of our team.

Our work and commitment to our employees are the way we guarantee our future. We are routinely training the team and the next generation of our family. We enable our engineers to attend different exhibitions around the world in order to stay up to date with current technology and, through those actions, we ensure sustainability.

Competing with products offered by First-World companies does also represent a significant challenge. We operate inside the interior of Argentina, in a city of 16,000 inhabitants, and we are responsible for 220 employees. Knowing that 220 families depend on SCORZA is how we overcome any perceived challenge we face.

SCORZA – A Family's Mission to Advance Urban Hygiene
Aerial photograph of the SCORZA headquarters, 2018. Image courtesy of SCORZA.

Your company has a strong focus on caring for the environment and recently developed a campaign to educate and raise awareness about this important issue. Can you tell us more about this campaign and any other initiatives?

The “I Chose to Be a Part” campaign is an online project that aims at educating and raising awareness among children and students. Schools and educators can download the messages of the project and present them to the students.

We have also sponsored water and energy fairs to help encourage proper use of those resources. We believe in corporate social responsibility, and our technical school is one of the ways we honour that commitment. It is named after Luis “Tatin” Scorza and provides young people training in the fields of electric, mechatronics engineering and hydraulics. Former and retired employees contribute to this initiative, in addition to our engineers who teach the classes.

This year you are celebrating the 60th anniversary of SCORZA. How did you celebrate your achievements and what do you see for the future of the company?

We held a celebration on November 24 with our employees and their families along with local authorities and some of our oldest suppliers. It was with great pride that we shared our success with them, many of whom selflessly stuck with SCORZA through some of the company’s most difficult economic times.

We are very pleased to be representatives of OMAR ITR in Italy, Green Machine in Scotland and FMC in the USA. We have a partnership with the THEMAC company, manufacturing a side-loading waste collection system and assembling it through our other company ELA SA. We also have an aftersales company called FIX SRL that operates in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires.

As for the future, I would simply like to see the company continue to grow. I would love to triple our number of employees and pursue new opportunities. My wish for the third generation is that they are happy with the work they’re doing. I hope that they decide to remain partners and continue for many more decades to come. I know that they will honour and carry forward the legacy of their grandfather. They have it in their DNA.

SCORZA – A Family's Mission to Advance Urban Hygiene
Celebration of the 55th anniversary of SCORZA, 2013. Image courtesy of SCORZA.