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Home | SAN ANTONIO | Spotlight | Spotlight - Adrian J. Cavallini, The Cavallini Company Inc.

Spotlight - Adrian J. Cavallini, The Cavallini Company Inc.

image Adrian J. Cavallini, President, The Cavallini Company Inc., San Antonio, Tx

SAN ANTONIO - Stained glass and mosaics capture stunning images with their colored glass and tessera. Adrian J. Cavallini is a part of something that has brought beauty and elegance to your churches and homes. The truth behind the work is pure dedication and craft. Adrian makes sure that continues.





Where were you born and raised?

    I was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas.

What was your childhood like?

    My dad had a glass factory, stained glass and mosaic business. My mom was a schoolteacher. They were both very busy at times. I have one brother and two sisters. I am second to the youngest. We had a good childhood; we were very blessed.

What high school did you attend?
    I graduated from St. Anthony Catholic High School Seminary. I played soccer, football and ran track.

You started doing mosaics at 11-years-old, which ones did you work on?
    I don’t recall which ones I worked on, but I do recall going to the studio with my dad and they had some of the mosaics projects in progress. I would go to the tables where they were working and help them by placing mosaic pieces onto the mural.

Was there something else you rather have been doing at that age?

    It was fun because I worked with different artists and designers. Each one had their own talents and tips of how to do things – this was very valuable. We were located on North Flores St. at W. Mrytle St., which is across the street from San Pedro Park.  When I got bored at the studio I would play in the park.

What is your educational background?

    I went to a few universities, one being Central State University in Ohio. I majored in Fine Arts. I also played college soccer at the time.

Did you receive a scholarship?
    Yes, I received a scholarship to play at Central State University.

What did you think about Ohio?
    It is very cold and there are tornadoes.

What year did you come back to San Antonio?
    In the early ‘80s of which I began working with my dad full time.

Were there other jobs you had besides working with your father?
    During high school, I used to do some maintenance for St. Anthony High School Seminary. I also helped with maintenance and grounds keeping for Oblate College while I was a teenager. I also worked at Pizza Inn as a cook.

What heritage is your last name?
    It is Italian. I am half Italian. My dad is an immigrant from Rome, Italy.

How did you initially decide on a career path?
    I’ve always liked art and back in grade school was constantly drawing. When it came down to it as a young adult in my 20s, I knew I had to do something with my life. Being that I liked art, stained glass and mosaics, those things gave me the opportunity to do art. It is something I enjoy and I’m glad I chose that career path.

Did you see yourself becoming the president of the company?
    I never really thought about where I would be in the future with the company. Every day I do the best I can and work my hardest. I never really thought about how much money I was going to make or anything like that. I was always concentrating on the work and making sure that we would all do the best that we could with the craft. That has always been my goal.

What was the turning point in taking over the business?

    It’s hard to say what date I took over the company. Of course, I run it 100 percent with my sons and Debbie, but I want to guess it was around the year 2000, when the transition started. My dad is 90, so he was in his 70s when I took over.

Does your father still pop in at work?

    He still comes in and works with mosaics.  This year, he fabricated the mosaic mural onto the façade of our building which is in the picture.

What are the challenges and successes you’ve seen as president?
    I think one of the challenges is to make sure we have enough commissions and restorations for our employees – thankfully we are very busy. The challenge on the supply side of art glass materials, due to a large Internet presence, many people are getting their products over the Internet. What we find on the supply, side especially with glass, is that the customer doesn’t want to buy glass over the Internet because they don’t know what to expect in regards to color and texture and sometimes it arrives damaged. So we have a very large assortment of cut pieces of art glass ready for the customer to view and purchase. Plus, we have very competitive prices and many times are less than the Internet. 

Do you have a mentor?
    My dad was my mentor with the business. I would say back in high school some of my mentors were some of the priests. Father Morrell, Father Rufus Whitley, Father Gitzen and many others. These men really stand out for me. Every four to five years I see Father Gitzen. Fathers Morrell and Whitley I see more often.

Tell us about your family, are you married?
    Yes, I’ve been married to Debbie for 28 years. She has been working as the office manager in the company since 1992. She is also our store manager at our supply center. She wears many hats. We also have our two sons working full-time with us. My youngest son graduated from UTSA last year and our middle son also graduated from UTSA around three years ago.

Can you share your love story with us? How did you and Debbie meet?
    When I was attending St. Anthony’s while she was attending Providence. We met in high school. We were good friends but took different paths in our lives at that time. Debbie went to college and got a degree from St. Mary’s and a master’s degree from Troy State when she was in the army. Debbie later returned from Germany to the states.  Then Debbie and my sister Felicia attended their ten year Providence class reunion. My sister mentioned that she saw Debbie at the reunion. I called Debbie and asked her out; we’ve been together ever since. 

You have a daughter Alyssia, and three sons, Anthony, Joseph and Adrian is that right?
    Yes. Anthony is a special needs child and he is our oldest son. He works with us part time since our 30,000 sqft facility is 100% accessible.  Joseph, the middle son, assists with sales at the supply center, pricing, invoicing and I T support.  Adrian V., the youngest, is an art glass consultant, craftsman and provides estimates for custom art glass and restorations. 

What are some of your favorite family activities?
    We have four grand children from our daughter Alyssia, so we like to visit the grandkids. They are all girls. We also like to have our family come to our house for the holidays. We try to get together at the lake. Last year we took everyone to Disney World. We create activities around the family. I don’t have a lot of hobbies other than gardening; I don’t fish much, hunt or play golf. Most of our spare time is spent being together with the family.
Will you be having a long Christmas list this year?
    Yeah, definitely (chuckles).

Do you watch any sports during this time of the year?

    I like the Dallas Cowboys, but it has been a little frustrating (chuckles). I like the Spurs; you’ve got to like the Spurs if you are from San Antonio.

How do you prepare for a new year?

    It is interesting that you ask that because though we have many commissions, I always think, as going into the New Year, that I am concerned about having enough work. Many times around the New Year there is not much activity, so I get a little anxious. It is inevitable though, that about the second week of January things pick up. 
The Cavallini Company Inc has been family owned and operated since 1953 in San Antonio. –lv

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Author Info
Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net