Stefano Deleidi ’87 has spent the past 25 years working abroad in and with different cultures on four different continents. He travels 52 times a year – equating to about 180 days – throughout Asia- Pacific. He’s on his eighth passport and has flown millions of miles circling the globe.
Deleidi, managing director of LU-VE Asia Pacific HK, a manufacturer of heat exchangers, is a self-taught financial controller who speaks five languages – Italian, English, German, French, and Spanish – and understands a sixth, Chinese.
“Carole knew what kind of nut I was with all the traveling when I married her in 2002,” he says about his French wife, who he met in 2000. “She used to call me the wind because I blew in and out of town all the time.”
Deleidi, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history, has worked for such well-known companies as Sony Corp., Wagner Group, and Carrier Corp. But when Deleidi was a child in Italy, and even when he attended JCU, he never aspired to become a business executive. He was focused on the U.S. military.
Since Deleidi’s childhood, he wanted to become a professional soldier. In the summer of 1979 when he was 18, he came to the U.S. for the first time to take an English course in Maryland. He was lodged with a family that included a U.S. Army officer.
“That was when I discovered I could attend the U.S. Army ROTC program while a citizen of a NATO-member country,” he says.
So in 1981, Deleidi enrolled in an English language learning program at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland to elevate his English to a university level. He selected Case because one of his teachers from Italy moved back to Cleveland and his parents decided that if he was to travel to the U.S. he should be close to people they knew and trusted.
After graduating from the program that year, Deleidi returned to Italy to complete mandatory military service. He was stationed at Aviano Air Base in the Northeastern area of the country not far from the former Yugoslavia, where he served as an antiterrorist team leader and translator with the U.S. Air Force.
While Deleidi was at Case, he wanted to attend an American college with an ROTC program. He found John Carroll, which he believed was warm and friendly and the ideal American college.
After Deleidi’s honorable discharge from the Italian Army, he returned to Cleveland and started his academic life at Carroll. In his second year at JCU, Pete Bernardo ’67, ’72G took over command of the Wolfpack Battalion, Carroll’s ROTC program. With Bernardo’s support, Deleidi was granted permission by the U.S. Department of Defense to attend the full Army ROTC program and Advanced Camp at Fort Lewis in Washington state in 1986. He graduated fifth out of 35 cadets.
“I was in line to attend air assault and airborne school but wasn’t able to attend because of insurance issues,” he says. “The Army was concerned about liability in case of injury.”
Deleidi was on his way to being commissioned as second lieutenant in combat arms per the recommendation of his evaluator at Fort Lewis, but he needed to have a green card, which he didn’t. So Deleidi wrote to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and President Ronald Reagan to see if he could be waived from the rule.
“Unfortunately, the red tape stopped me in my tracks,” he says. “The U.S. Army trained me and wanted me, but the Immigration and Nationality Act required me to have a civilian job because the Army didn’t qualify as my employer. So I returned to Europe after graduating from Carroll because finding a civilian job in the U.S. back then wasn’t easy.”
After returning to Italy, Deleidi worked for Sony in procurement for three years. Then he spent a few years at Sony Germany; Carrier; Brembo, an automotive brake manufacturer; Sematic Group Asia Pacific; and now LU-VE Group. His past three jobs have been in China, where he’s worked for the past 10 years.
Amid the changes, three elements have helped Deleidi during his career:
• coming from a family of businesspeople who always supported his decision to take new paths – his grandfather, father, and brother are entrepreneurs;
• his liberal arts education, which opened his mind to life; and
• the U.S. Army ROTC leadership development program, which taught him self-confidence, strategic planning, and a drive to overcome challenges and be the best he could.
“Looking back at all I’ve achieved and the lives I’ve been able to influence, I couldn’t say all this would be possible without a supporting family and the valuable lessons learned at Carroll that shaped my attitude about life,” he says. JCU
– John Walsh