Born: Syracuse, N.Y. I don’t like to tell everybody that though. It’s one of those places that it’s a good place to be from.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting and pre-law from Clarkson University
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Every boy I knew on the block wanted to be the president of the United States. I asked my son this question, and his friends, last year, and I said, ‘What would be the best job in the world?’ From Bill Gates to hedge fund manager to Derek Jeter, and I said, ‘What about the president of the United States?’ and they looked at me like I had two heads.
What was your very first job?
Unloading boxcars at the farmer’s market at age 14. I had the morning and the evening newspaper before that I was a delivery boy before that, but my first real job that I got a paycheck and had to show up at a specific time was at the farmer’s market.
What did you learn from that job that still helps you today?
I worked for a gentleman who was one of the best entrepreneurs that I ever met. His name was Mr. Mento. He owned Mento Produce, and he taught me a lot. I’m forever in his debt.
What was the best thing he taught you?
Integrity. I watched the way he dealt with the people around him. He was just very candid, very firm and very caring.
What has been the best business lesson that you’ve learned in your career?
Probably getting my butt fired. It was about 20 years ago. I think I learned a lot from it. Mostly that primal fear can be overcome by believing in yourself, and I believe I coined the phrase that it was a defining moment and not a moment that defined me.