Franco De Michelis, director and driving force behind the Italian rental and distributors association Assodimi, passed away on Saturday 15 December in Italy after a period of illness.
A founder of Assodimi, Mr De Michelis also played a central role in helping to develop the wider Italian rental industry. He was a tireless worker on behalf of the European Rental Association, spending four years as a board member between 2006 and 2010.
In recognition of his role in developing Europe's rental sector, Mr De Michelis was presented with the ERA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in the 2010 European Rental Awards.
Before becoming involved with Assodimi - of which he was director general for 20 years - he spent a 23 year career with Fiat Group’s earthmoving division.
Assodimi said in a statement; “Over many years his vision, charisma and tireless dedication created a ‘forward-looking’ association. He leaves a great void, both professional and personal. He will be an important example for all of us.”
Roberto Nicoletti, president of Assodimi, said; “It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of our director Franco De Michelis.
“Assodimi was born out of an intuition and it was his baby. The spirit that infused the association – to always look to the future - was the spirit that characterised him as a person. I personally shared with Franco more than 15 years of growth. I learned so much from him.
“I will miss him very much, above all for his incredible enthusiasm and dedication and for his ability to anticipate things and see innovations. Franco, thanks for all that you gave to the group and for all you have given to me.”
Michel Petitjean, secretary general of the European Rental Association, said; "Franco was a light for all of us in the industry, sharing his enthusiasm and dedication, always full of ideas and energy. That's how we will remember him."
Franco was also a great friend to International Rental News (IRN), providing advice, contributing articles, and guiding us towards interesting stories, and always with his trademark charm and warmth. Europe’s rental industry has lost one of its most able and enthusiastic champions.
The funeral was held on Sunday, 16 December.