Golf

Father-son duo big part of MGRC's success

JAMES EDWARD BATES/C-SPIRE 
 F.E.B. Distributing President Frank Bertucci and son Jeff Bertucci , F.E.B. Distributing Corporate Operations, during the Pairings party at IP Casinofor the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.
JAMES EDWARD BATES/C-SPIRE F.E.B. Distributing President Frank Bertucci and son Jeff Bertucci , F.E.B. Distributing Corporate Operations, during the Pairings party at IP Casinofor the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.

Same initials, different middle name. Same business theories, different generations. Frank Eugene Bertucci and brother Paul took over operations at F.E.B Distributing from their father Frank Emanuel Bertucci, but the handling of pale ales, ambers, and darks has remained constant.

Frank and his son Jeff Bertucci, the grandson and great-grandson of founder Salvador Bertucci have tapped into that family-business success to create a Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic presented by C-Spire that welcomes most of the Top PGA Tour Champions each year.

As chairman of the 2016 MGRC, Frank works with Tournament Director Steve Nieman to oversee almost 800 volunteers, the "backbone of this tournament."

"This is a one-Coast activity, and we love being involved in a community that has been so good to us for 82 years," said the F.E.B President.

The 800-volunteer base is a well-oiled machine. "You don't have to tell them what to do. They're experienced. All of them are great ambassadors to our Coast. Each one is like the Chamber of Commerce."

The elder Bertucci can't say enough about the volunteers.

"These people are like family, many having been here for all seven years," Frank Bertucci said. "It's just so rewarding seeing them and our military volunteers, those who sacrifice and mean so much to our community."

Frank Bertucci said that for most of the volunteers the tournament is like a family reunion and that many "take vacation" to volunteer.

For Frankie as many of his close friends call him, it is a family affair.

"My brother and I worked 35 years side-by-side with my father, and now I'm working with my son," Jeff Bertucci said. "We come early and stay late for this tournament and in our business. That's in our DNA. We're blessed to live in such a wonderful place with our family all around us."

Frankie's son Jeff Bertucci knows that hard work turns out a tasty brew, and that's why he takes his leadership role as Chairman of the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic Ambassador Club seriously. This F.E.B. Distributing fourth-generation apple didn't fall far from the tree that rooted in 1934.

When Steve Niemen called Bertucci two years ago to "bounce a few ideas" off him, little did the 2000 Gulfport High graduate know that he would use his upbringing on the Coast to help the MGRC become one of the premier events on the PGA Tour Champions.

"We love this tournament and want it to stay forever," said Jeff Bertucci. "It was important to engage a younger group of professionals."

The Director of Corporate Operations at the company that his great-grandfather Salvador Bertucci began 82 years ago was impressed with the magnitude of the event from the first time he volunteered as a walking scorer seven years ago.

"I was impressed with the atmosphere the event created," said Jeff Bertucci, the LSU and Ole Miss Law School graduate. "I couldn't wait to sign up for next year."

Bertucci and his fifteen ambassadors want everyone to know that it's family entertainment.

"Whether you like golf or not, you can come to a beautiful spot and have great food, great drinks, and 'Oh, by the way, there's a golf tournament going on,'" he quipped. "My wife doesn't like watching golf on TV with me on the weekend, but she loves the MGRC."

Hole-in-one hospitality is in "our DNA on the Coast," said Bertucci. "We created skyboxes on Hole 17 in 2015, and all ten sponsors signed 2016 commitment forms on Sunday as David Frost was coming down the stretch."

Bertucci realizes that more people and more businesses are starting to realize the importance of the tournament. "The tournament brand has built up a lot of equity on the Coast."

Geoffrey Knesal will take over Sunday as chairman of the ambassadors, but Jeff Bertucci and his dad will stay embedded in the tournament.

"I want to be involved when Phil Mickelson comes to play," Jeff Bertucci said. "These guys are so approachable, and they're having fun with the players and the volunteers." "We are family" takes on a new meaning at the MGRC.

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