the business. I am concerned that
these quick transactions lead to
lower creditor recoveries and higher
unemployment as companies liquidate.
I testified in November before a
special commission of ABI on
bankruptcy reform that current
bankruptcy legislation is contributing
to unemployment by letting these
companies falter and not giving them
a chance to rehabilitate before they
are either sold or liquidated. Look,
99.7 percent of all the companies in
the United States have fewer than
500 employees. Only 0.3 percent
of them, or 18,000 companies,
have more than 500 employees.
Those smaller companies constitute
the bulk of our payrolls. They don’t
have access to capital markets. They
need more time to rehabilitate, and I
think the exclusivity period being 120
or 180 days and other time constraints
are penalizing them. That’s what
I testified. The current law is not
helping our unemployment picture.
Q Who did you get inspiration from, professionally and personally, over
When I joined Interstate
I served in the military service before
attending college. I started college at
age 20 and went to night school for a
few years and graduated at age 25. By
32, I was in the boardroom of a public
company. Call that good fortune.
I met some business people who didn’t
teach me accounting, but they taught
me how to conduct management
meetings and to lead others. Plus, going
back to high school, my vice principal
was instrumental in helping me find
direction as to what I wanted to do with
my life. Over the years—I don’t want
to eliminate anyone—but people who
touched me when I was in my 30s and
early 40s were really inspirational in
professional conduct, in management
process, and corporate governance.
Plus, frankly, my father. My father was
a small-town grocer. He was 2 when
his father died. He never complained
about anything. He just worked at it
and worked at it. He built a small but
successful store. He never was wealthy,
but he was a great person to know.
He had tremendous customer loyalty,
and he only sold quality. And he left
me with those values. You sell quality.
You do it well. They’ll come back.
Q You were into racing cars at one point?
I guess it was 1994 that I
Club of America driver’s license and then
raced Formula III cars for probably 10
years as a hobby. These are open-wheel,
Indianapolis-type cars. They’re not the
800-horsepower cars, but they go quite
I met a lot of interesting people. I met
a lot of professional people—judges,
lawyers, doctors—and then you meet
the 17-year-old kid who wants to be an
Indianapolis 500 race car driver. The
races were quite competitive. It was
very educational. It was a real rush.
You didn’t have time to be frightened
because you’re going so fast and have
to concentrate on what is going on
with 25 competitors on the track.
When I was a kid, I played baseball and
football and always had a passion for
that. And later in life I had a passion
for golf until I had to replace my knee
twice, and that sort of ended my golf
career. As I get older, I’m more sedate
about my passions—they include my
grandchildren and things like that.
Q A lot of people know you professionally. What would surprise
them most in learning about you?
Years ago we did a TMA
My point is, I don’t think they know
about the Seton Hall scholarship, which
I have a great passion for. They don’t
know about The Buccino Foundation,
which does wonderful things for people
in need and which I endowed myself.
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