Tony Amato, co-founder (with Charles Valenti and Michael Cuplowsky) of Pentian, is the third of four siblings. He was born in Montreal in 1966, eight days after his parents emigrated from Italy. After graduating from Laval Catholic High School, he pursued mechanical engineering at Vanier College.
Amato learned a lot in these institutions but says he acquired knowledge of equal or greater value at “the school of hard knocks.” We spoke at the Pentian office, in Laval.
Question: What was your first job?
Answer: At age 13 I began working with my dad, in our family’s landscaping business. I learned all about putting down sod, building rock gardens and laying stonework.
When I was 17, I began to accept more responsibilities. After school I would take the company vehicle and go door-to-door, cold-calling.
I was taking measurements and coming up with design concepts on the spot. I did whatever was required to produce a competitive estimate for the client and ultimately close the sale.
How did you develop these diverse skills at such a young age?
I would say it came from being very motivated. Landscaping is a seasonal business, so we had to generate a year’s income in six months. Necessity is a great teacher.
How did you meet your partners, Charles Valenti and Michael Cuplowsky?
Charles Valenti is my cousin; we are about the same age and grew up together.
In 1989, we decided to form a professional partnership. Up to that point, Charles was in school and worked with his father, who is a carpenter.
Initially, we built custom homes in RDP and later we began building in Val-des-Brises (Laval) on parcels of land we purchased from Alex Kotler, president of Monit Construction.
Michael Cuplowsky was
a business associate of Kotler’s; we
What happened next?
A couple of years later, while still studying at Vanier, I had the opportunity to get into real estate. I approached the Argento family (Seven Brothers Construction) about