Cathy and Mario Costantini of the LaLune Collection, have been named 2011 Rotary Person of the Year by the Rotary Club of Milwaukee. The Costantinis will accept the award and address the club at its May 31, 2011 meeting.
The announcement was made at the RCM’s April 19 meeting by Rick White, chairman of the RPY Committee.
“As is the case every year, the nominees presented to the committee are all outstanding individuals. And it’s always a difficult task to select the recipient of this award, our club’s highest honor,” said White. “But Cathy and Mario stood out because they are highly successful business people with a philosophy of investment and doing business that makes Milwaukee a better place.”
White noted that this is the first time in the fifty-five year history of the award has been given to a couple.
The Costantinis’ La Lune Collection has been nationally unique in the design and hand manufacturing of high end rustic furniture since 1980. Their innovative furniture is primarily sold to architects and interior designers through showrooms in sixteen cities across the nation. In 1986 when the Costantinis found a need for larger manufacturing space they chose to relocate to an abandoned factory in the Riverwest area of Milwaukee. The establishment of their manufacturing entity there was a significant statement of confidence that was extraordinarily encouraging to those residents and businesses who were laboring to stem the decline of the area. Their on-going efforts with community business interests ultimately led to a successfully revitalized, vibrant, campy and, more importantly, a much safer Riverwest that continues to experience a sustained increase in housing and commercial development.
The Costantinis were nominated by Rotarian Dr. John Ridley.
White added that as Rotary’s highest honor, the RPY is different from many awards because it seeks to honor the contribution made through an individual’s profession, not through civic and philanthropic efforts. Past recipients include Edmund Fitzgerald, Norman Gill, Frederick Brengel, Sister Joel Read, Fred Lubar, Harry Quadracci and Charles McNeer. Last year’s recipient was John Mellows of Charter Manufacturing.
Nominations for nine individuals were considered by the committee for this year’s award.