ABB’s ‘factory on the lake’: Mariafrancesca Madrigrano on innovation, sustainability, and inclusion 

Interview | July 5, 2023

 

Meet Mariafrancesca Madrigrano who has managed the ABB Measurement & Analytics factory on Lake Como, Italy since 2019. In addition to focusing on innovation and sustainability, recently, she won ABB’s Ally of the Year award for her work in support of LGBTQ+ rights at the factory.

The first thing you notice about Mariafrancesca Madrigrano, an engineer who joined ABB 21 years ago and has managed ABB’s factory in Ossuccio for the past four years, is her immense pride in the past and present of the factory.

“Ossuccio is where ABB’s pressure transmitters were born. The factory was founded by Italian engineer Tieghi, who initially opened it in Milan but had to move it to Lake Como to protect it from the bombings during the Second World War,” says Mariafrancesca Madrigrano.

Today, the factory exports 90% of its production and supplies key components to other ABB factories around the world. 

“We are local but global. We work in synergy with other ABB plants globally. We use cutting-edge technologies in our processes. We are like a very small Silicon Valley located on the shores of Lake Como.”

The factory thrives on innovation and is working on digitization projects related to Industry 4.0. 

“Instruments are the foundation of the industrial digital transformation and pressure measurement enables industrial companies to measure, monitor, and control the applied force. It is key for both safety and efficiency.” 

In addition to technological advancement, Mariafrancesca Madrigrano is committed to ambitious sustainability goals that are part of ABB’s sustainability strategy. In July, the installation of photovoltaic panels starts on the factory roof. This will significantly reduce the energy footprint of the factory. The plant's water consumption for cooling has already been reduced a hundredfold in ten years. Recently, new packaging was introduced to replace polyurethane with paper, a solution that proved to be effective also in terms of economic savings and efficiency. 

 

Focus on diversity and inclusion: “Come as you are” 

In June, Mariafrancesca Madrigrano won ABB’s LGBTQ+ Ally of the Year award for her inspiring work in support of LGBTQ+ rights at the factory. 

The award was presented at the corporate closing event of Pride Month to celebrate the efforts of individuals who drive inclusion at ABB in their respective workplaces. The selection was based on impact, visibility, and the number of votes received during the nomination process. 

“Workplace discrimination is still a significant challenge for many LGBTQ+ workers. I’m aware there’s still a long way to go and therefore I am a dedicated ally to the LGBTQ+ community in my private life and as a manager at ABB,” said Mariafrancesca Madrigrano. 

Her goal is for the factory to be an inclusive workplace for its 250 staff no matter who they are, not just during Pride Month. 

“The tagline for this year’s ABB celebration was ‘come as you are’, a reminder that everyone at ABB should feel safe to be themselves at work. For me, it is important to calibrate ABB’s global strategy to local actions that can be embraced by everyone. I tell my colleagues at the factory that anyone can contribute to an inclusive workplace. It’s not necessary to create a big event, we can be accepting every day.” 

“Many people know Lake Como because of George Clooney, but I would like them to know it because of Mariafrancesca Madrigrano,” said Luca Condosta, Global Leadership Learning Community Lead and Head of LGBTQ+ Global Program, while presenting the award. “You have done a fantastic job sensitizing the local workforce, raising the rainbow flag as a strong symbol for inclusion outside the factory, and keeping it flying proudly all year round.”  

In 2023, ABB celebrated Pride Month for the third time. The ABB LGBTQ+ Ally awards were presented for the first time. Mariafrancesca Madrigrano shares the award with Martin Castellucci, Fabrizio Moya Dupre, Mathilde Bergerskogen and Niki Murphy of ABB. 

 

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