Giovanni Feroce and BENRUS - What it Means for RI
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
Rhode Island's Giovanni Feroce is not one of those leaders. From the State Senate to the battlefields of Operation Iraqi Freedom, wide-ranging and virtuous ventures have taken him around the world. However, achieving meaningful success in Rhode Island remains a driving force in his life. In fact, the man who once called a humble apartment in West Warwick home said he has made it his “mission.”
“I've had the opportunity to travel to and live in many different places, but at the end of the day, for me, there is no place I'd rather be than Rhode Island,” Feroce said.
Last month, not long after his departure from Alex and Ani, Feroce announced the establishment of a new investment firm, GF Asset Management, and the acquisition of BENRUS, a classic, celebrated and distinctly American brand. He has since launched BENRUS, LLC, an apparel, accessories and lifestyle company based in Providence.
“In business, you always look ahead to where you're going to go, not where you've been,” Feroce said.
Next - BENRUS
Famous for its innovative and popular “Sky Chief” and “Dial-O-Rama” watches, BENRUS was once one of the most recognizable issuers of materials to the United States Armed Forces. Now, Feroce hopes to breathe new life into the once-strong brand, strengthening Rhode Island in the process.
“My goal now is to create a multi-billion dollar company,” Feroce said. “In the blink of an eye, a couple thousand jobs could be created for Rhode Islanders. For us to do that here - it could be a game-changer.”
Confident in his system and proud of his standards, Feroce believes his proven approach to business, paired with his connection and commitment to Rhode Island, will ultimately lead to improvements in a state struggling to gain any traction in its attempts to turn its economy around.
“I hope it happens on my watch,” he added with a smile, claiming no pun was intended.
“I look at being a Rhode Islander as a competitive advantage in business,” Feroce continued. “From ease of travel to our first-rate colleges and universities - these things are important. I've seen manufacturing and the success of legal immigration first-hand, for example. We have to be extremely proud of our inherent advantages - you can't be negative. Don't look at issues as problems, look at them as opportunities.”
In Providence, Feroce will serve as the chairman and chief executive officer of BENRUS, developing and implementing strategies, making major decisions and managing the overall operations and resources of the company.
Feroce also announced substantial investments in RI Local and other local businesses and causes, further extending his ties to companies and charitable organizations throughout the Ocean State.
Quite comfortable in his leading role, Feroce credits his personal, political and military backgrounds for his past, current and future successes.
Notably, the combat veteran has seamlessly implemented military strategies into his private sector operations. He highlights MDMP, or the Military Decision Making Process, as an essential procedure in the high-level planning and decision-making of any business.
“I don't shy away from my military background - I embrace the tactics and leadership traits I learned as an Operations Officer in the Army,” Feroce said. “BENRUS does not have a 'headquarters' – we have 'Central Command.'”
First Store in Charleston, S.C.
Feroce is excited to rebuild the BENRUS brand and looks forward to the early milestones in the company's growth, including the opening of its first retail store in Charleston, S.C., later this year. However, he also preaches patience, dutifully analyzing each step before operating at “battlefield speed.”
“I pride myself on studying second- and third-order effects and making the right decision - finding not only the right solution, but the best solution,” Feroce said.
“I've had the good fortune of working with people who know how I operate,” he added, noting Brigadier General David Medeiros as an example of one of his like-minded and trusted local allies in business. “I've also had the good fortune of employing people who appreciate my leadership traits. In turn, I truly appreciate the fact that they 'get it,' because I had to go to war to fully understand that.”
Though he credits good fortune, Feroce has made a conscious decision to align with those who share his views and goals, allowing his businesses to operate with trust, speed, efficiency and uniformity of direction.
Feroce's estate in Newport - Wyndham Hill - is undeniable proof that his tactics work. SEE SLIDESHOW OF THE HOUSE BELOW
His new home is a stunning three-story stone mansion, built in 1890, with 12,500 square feet of living space and sublime views of its spectacular surroundings: his own 11.5 acres of gorgeous grounds, those of elegant neighboring properties, the natural scenery of Brenton Point and the boundless beauty of the open ocean.
The highest point of Feroce's home, an upper-level deck currently being transformed into a luxurious pool, also happens to be the highest point in the entire city of Newport. As he stands atop perhaps the ultimate symbol of his success, he is understandably proud to call Newport, for centuries the preferred destination of some of the world's wealthiest individuals, his home.
“I don't believe in reinventing the wheel,” Feroce said. “Many of the most successful people in history came here - to Newport, to Rhode Island. I feel that – and I feel like I've succeeded. The best athletes win a gold medal, but this property is my trophy.”
A Tesla Model S, the world's first premium electric sedan, sits in Feroce's driveway, awaiting the dapperly dressed executive. When he begins the trek toward the capital city and his new company's Central Command, he knows - citing his own story - that dreams can be achieved in Rhode Island with the right combination of systems, standards and confidence.
“I feel healthy and strong,” Feroce said. “I'm going to keep going because I know I can still lead. When I no longer can – that's when I'll sit back, reflect on my accomplishments and share my successes with family, friends and my home state.”
NOTE: The contributor is Frank Chrupcala, RI Local Magazine
Related Slideshow: Newport’s Wyndham Estate in Photos
Constructed in 1890, Wyndham Estate is a 2 1/2 story ashlar stone Baronial home designed by architect William Ralph Emerson, cousin of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Wyndham Estate celebrates its 125th anniversary next year. The mansion was designed and built for its original owner, Rose Anne Grosvenor, a philanthropist from Providence.
Room to Grow
The home boasts 12,175 square feet of living space, with 7 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, and 9 fireplaces, on nearly 12 acres of property.
With a spacious Master Bedroom, large circular Turret and East bedrooms, plus four guest bedrooms; hosting overnight guests is never likely to be problematic in this mansion.
* Master Bedroom - 22'8" by 14'
* Turret Bedroom - 17'10" circular
* East Bedroom - 17'2" by 17'5"
* Guest Bedroom - 12'4" by 11'6"
* Guest Bedroom - 18'6" by 14'10"
* Guest Bedroom - 11'3" by 11'3"
* Guest Bedroom - 12'5" by 8'2"
Wyndham Estate lies in the heart of Newport, only one half mile from both the New York Yacht Club and Newport Country Club, and one mile from Fort Adams State Park.
Whether it is a wedding, holiday party, or family function, Wyndham Estate's 1200 square foot Grand Ballroom makes for a perfect space for entertaining guests.
Outfitted with beautiful artwork and a grand piano, the mansion's music room is a great place to hide away and tickle the ivories. In fact, at 475 square feet, you could probably fit most of an orchestra in this room.
On Top of the World
(Or top of the island, at least)
Wyndham Estate sits atop the highest point of Newport - and has the views to prove it.
Wyndham Estate boasts a large 320 square foot kitchen (with service area) on the first level, making for great dinner parties. There is an additional galley kitchen on the home's top level.
The large, 11.76 acre property is well-manicured with several custom landscaping features including at three-tier waterfall with a private sitting area, and a manmade pond
With 2 1/2 bathrooms on the first floor, and 4 on the second level, finding a place to quickly powder your nose will rarely be an issue.
If you are looking for a quiet place to read or study, the mansion features a home library...try not to become distracted by the view.
Perfect for summertime entertainment, the mansion features a 47' by 27' open air observation deck with stunning views.
What better way to relax after a long day than climbing up to the 18' circular roof top hot tub?
Attention to Detail
When William Ralph Emerson designed Wyndham Estate, no detail was spared, evidenced by the intricate wood-carved moldings found throughout the mansion.
Wyndham Estate underwent major renovation and restoration a few years ago, but much of the much of the home's original essence remains intact.
More like live-in closet!
At 12'10" by11'10", the closet attached to the Master Bedroom is bigger than many bedrooms... no need to trim down your wardrobe here!
The mansion's Grand Staircase allows one to enter the room with style. There is also a separate servant's staircase to access the second floor.
Just off the Grand Ballroom sits the home's formal dining room, perfect for intimate dinners.
Wyndham Estate is comprised of three separate lots of record, with the mansion itself sitting on Lot B (4.05 Acres). Lots A and C are each just under 4 acres apiece.
There is little better on a cold New England winter night than cozying up to a warm fire. Wyndham Estate, has 9 different fireplaces to choose from.
Newport is known for its landscape of mansions spanning from Ocean Drive to Bellevue Avenue. From Rosecliff to Vanderbilt's The Breakers, and dozens in-between, Newport has a rich history of wealth, and the lifestyle that comes with it.
Want to experience a different view of the Newport Mansions? Try the Newport Cliff Walk. The 3.5 mile long public access pathway pairs the beauty of the Newport coastline with some of the island's historic mansions -- including Beechwood, Rosecliff, Marble House, The Breakers, Ochre Court, and Rough Point
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