On July 9, 2016, Day of the city of Vila Nova de Famalicão, which this year celebrates its 31st anniversary in the auditorium of the Casa das Artes, José Dias de Oliveira, founder of Riopele, was one of the five figures honoured. José Dias de Oliveira was honoured posthumously for his work and entrepreneurial energy that greatly contributed to the development of the county and the country.
José Alexandre Oliveira, Chairman of Riopele and grandson of the founder, attended the ceremony, receiving the Medal directly from Paulo Cunha, Mayor of the Municipality of Famalicão, which posthumously awarded the title of Honorary Citizen of the City to José Dias de Oliveira.
José Dias de Oliveira was born on August 17, 1902 in Mogege parish. José Dias de Oliveira was a born entrepreneur and in 1927, at the age of 25, he decided to install two looms on the left bank of the Pele river, in Pousada de Saramagos.
With a belief in the value of work and a team of workers that in José Dias de Oliveira saw a strong example of the power of persistence and willpower, Riopele grew rapidly, becoming one of the leading textile companies in the country and greatly contributing to the economic development of not only Vila Nova de Famalicão, but the country as a whole. José Dias de Oliveira died on February 12, 1953, aged 50 years old.
The emotional ceremony was marked by a full auditorium and other local personalities were also distinguished. In addition to the recognizing entrepreneurs who currently contribute to the significant industrial strength of the county, Paulo Cunha distributed a total of 40 municipal merit medals.
The Mayor of Famalicão, Paulo Cunha, in the course of the ceremony, noted "it is the least we can do to honour the personal journey of each of the exemplary projects and the excellence achieved", emphasizing the contribution of those who helped to strengthen Famalicão "... a born entrepreneur" and extolling the importance of each person who gave their "...contribution to the future".