|Vincent Wolanin, Wolanin Cos. Ltd.
By BETSY FELDSTEIN,
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."