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Vincent Wolanin, Wolanin Cos. Ltd.

By BETSY FELDSTEIN, Staff writer
First published: Sunday, December 22, 2002

AGE: 54

TITLE: Chairman of Wolanin Cos. Ltd., an Albany investment conglomerate, real estate developer, and chairman/CEO of PrivateSky Aviation Services Inc., an aviation services organization in Fort Myers, Fla.

WATERSHED: When Wolanin was 14, his father died suddenly.

"I became responsible for everything in my life, plus thinking on my own. I didn't know how I was to survive; there was no plan past each 24-hour period.

"I worked as many hours as possible, from picking up cigarette butts in a bowling alley to working in a McDonald's to scrubbing floors and refinishing floors in schools. In a lot of cases, I had to say I was a lot older than I really was.

"The jobs made me more self-reliant because I had to be. After that, I learned that I had to depend on myself. I think the work ethic dictates the opening of opportunities you might not otherwise get."

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