Meet Frank Previti
SY: Hello! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where you’re from, where you’re at now, what you do for work?
FP: I live in Providence with my wife Aubrey, son Cole (8) and identical twin step-daughters Mikaela and Kimberly (21). I’m a CPA at DiSanto Priest & Co. in Warwick who specializes in Manufacturing, Distribution & Retail clients. I also “dabble” in forensic accounting and fraud investigations as part of being an expert witness in civil and criminal cases.
SY: Let’s start with the basics- how long have you been on the Board of The Steel Yard? What’s your role on the Board?
FP: I’m the Treasurer who has been on the board since 2009-ish.
SY: So why The Steel Yard? Can you tell us a bit about what makes our organization’s mission meaningful for you?
FP: For me it is all about experiences. Being involved with the Yard has introduced me to such a wide range of people and experiences that I cannot possibly put into words how important it has been to me and my sense of place in the community. I always take pride and humility in introducing the uninitiated to what we are all about at the Yard and watch their eyes light up…it never gets old.
SY: Do you identify as a maker? What do you make?
FP: I never identified as a maker…until I surrounded myself with Yardies…they helped me realize that we all have a role in “making”. Although my life is centered around spreadsheets, financial reports and business consulting, I have come to appreciate that we all play a part in making our community a better place. Deliberate and responsible financial governance is a very important part of developing the Yard into what it is today…a great source of pride for me in that I had a seat at the table with many other people in contributing to that.
FP: I took a Build your own “Franken-bike” course and nervously went into a situation with no plan (very un-accountant like) BUT created the raked-out chopper inspired bicycle.
SY: Tell us a little bit about what you’re working on at the moment…
FP: I’m working on balancing 2 college graduations and youth soccer schedules with positioning the Yard for it’s next phase of growth and development. My hair used to be jet black…but I wouldn’t change a thing!!
SY: Your hair looks just fine! Who are your greatest inspirations? What work influences your work?
FP: I try to pull inspiration from just about every interaction I have. One whiff of the energy and positive vibe at the Yard can keep me going for such a long time. Even when I walk through the campus when no one is there, I can feel the reverberation of creativity, hope, industry, growth, change, etc. bouncing around. I feel a real sense of responsibility to my community and to the campus as a steward to all of those meaningful things.
SY: How did you find The Steel Yard? What were you doing before you joined the team?
FP: I found the Yard (pre environmental remediation) during its first-ever strategic plan. One of the goals of that plan suggested getting a team of professionals on board (CPA, Lawyer, etc.) and I was a junior manager looking to get involved in the community. David Karoff and Peter Gill Case gave me a tour of the facility and they haven’t been able to get rid of me since.
SY: After nine months of construction, renovations, and upgrades- we’re OPEN FOR BUSINESS! What’s your favorite part of the updated studio?
FP: I’m sure most people will say the heat, but to me the decision to include the salvaged corrugated tin from the “old” hanger space on the inside walls really contributes to sustaining the gritty nature that makes the yard the Yard.
SY: What do you do in your free time?
FP: I enjoy whatever my kids are into at the moment…soccer, ballet, theater, hiking, sharks…we live in a very special corner of the world and my family and I drink it all in. We are rarely home and wouldn’t have it any other way.
SY: We talk a lot about ‘Yardies’ here- curious, what does YARDIE mean you to?
FP: Anyone who embraces exploring the successes and pitfalls of creative experimentation within a community. No matter what task is at hand, a Yardie is open to all sides of the equation and tries to find an answer that is innovative and inclusive.
SY: What are you MOST excited for this upcoming year?
FP: Seeing how the community uses the updated space that they asked for so decisively. All I see when I look at the walls are a blank canvas that I’m expecting to be adorned with some sort of artwork as the spaced is occupied. The community that uses our space never lets me down in that regard…just look at the doors of the kilns on the back 40 or the cabinet doors in the blacksmithing studio.
SY: What do you think will be your greatest CHALLENGE?
FP: As a Treasurer, I’m supposed to say fundraising here…however, in truth, I don’t worry that much about the Yard. I’m so humbled to be part of an organization that is so cherished that I just try not to get in the way and hold on for the ride!!
OKAY, TIME FOR RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS!
FP: I live to eat…not eat to live…so this is a tough one. The safest answer is all things parmigiana…eggplant, chicken, meatball…literally anything with sauce and cheese will be consumed. The first thing I do when I travel is ask the craziest looking local where they eat and go there immediately.
SY: Favorite movie?
FP: Shawshank Redemption is obviously up there, but I’m not sure I will ever evolve from low brow humor and slapstick. Mid-80’s Chevy Chase…Fletch, Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation…will get me belly laughing every time.
SY: Favorite book?
FP: The next one stacked on my nightstand…I devour non-fiction and am all over the map on topics.
SY: Favorite artist/maker?
FP: At the moment…John Mayer in his role with Dead & Company…I cannot imagine the courage in stepping on stage to “replace” Jerry Garcia, but the guy is really making it happen. It may be blasphemy, but I think I like his style of play better????!!!!!!
SY: What skill would you like to master?
FP: Remembering people’s names the first time I hear them, the ability to fully unplug from work and technology…and the ability to exert a basic level of moderation whilst surrounded by all of the great restaurants in this city.
SY: Favorite tool in the shop?
FP: The kilns in the back 40…it has always been a mission of mine to get that part of the Yard activated and I love the look of what comes out of those two pieces of equipment.
SY: Annnnnnnd finally, is there anything else you’d like the Yardie community to know about you?