330-rr%20after%20photo%201-550?v=1

Men's Issue

Ramze Zakka

Restauranteur, Proprietor of Z Hospitality Group
How did you get started in the industry?

After serving in the diplomatic corp for 15 years in New York City, I Relocated my family to Greenwich Ct. I felt we needed to make a change to a simpler life. I decided to open a "mom and pop shop on Main Street small town USA" (Greenwich Ave.) In 1991 I opened my first restaurant, Terra, which is almost 30 years old and still thriving. We went on to open Mediterraneo 1995. Then Sole in New Canaan in ’96, Aurora in Rye,  and two more Mediterraneo locations in Norwalk, and White Plains.  And lastly, Eastend, which is almost four years old now. Eight in all. 

What motivates you?

I think the most driving force being in the hospitality  business is the opportunity to create exciting places where people can enjoy serious food.  Places where sharing time with friends and loved ones, celebrating birthdays, anniversaries etc. 

Our biggest asset is our teams in each place that have become the familiar faces to so many people over the years.

Who has been your biggest influence?

My Son, Adam Zakka, our Executive Chef Albert DeAngelis and so many wonderful people that we have had the opportunity to serve over the last 30 years in Fairfield and Westchester County.

One of the most pleasant surprises in this COVID 19 experience has been the outpouring of support and kindness from good friends, and strangers alike. People have become more patient, more understanding, but most importantly, more giving in the effort to support others who are struggling right now. On a daily basis people will call to ask how they can help donate meals to the front-line people, and in doing so are supporting us as well. It's been great to see.

Brett Yancy Collins

Founder & Chief Digital Architect, Counterspace

How did you get started in the industry?

I got hooked on design pretty young. As a boy I attended one of the oldest boarding schools in the world, founded in 604 A.D. Tradition dictated that when we reached a certain age part of the curriculum was to take apprenticeships for the summers. As a young teenager I was more interested in skateboarding, beach combing and hanging out with my friends, so when I was reviewing the list of options, my strategy was looking for the easiest job possible. I saw an opening as a Typesetter’s apprentice. I had no idea what it was, but it sounded easy. 

This was in the 1980’s, outside of London, and the type shop was full of ancient printing machines, type cases and a smell of pungent ink that hung in the air. The shop contained no windows, and was beneath street level. That summer I scrubbed lead type clean from ink, sorted them into trays, and organized the huge number of print jobs that would come into the shop. That summer I didn’t see my friends all that much. I spent all my time in the shop learning about typography, typesetting and organizing content. I didn’t realize at the time, but I didn’t work that summer, I fell in love that summer.

Many years later during university here in the US, I met professor and accomplished designer, Jan Kubasiewicz. Jan taught me how to combine my love of research with my design ability to solve real world business problems. Jan pushed me to identify the problem placed in front of me and utilize design and technology to communicate a solution. He connected the dots from my early experience as typesetter’s apprentice to the emerging world of digital. 

What motivates you?

Solving problems for business. Most people do not consider a designer to be a problem solver. Perhaps they think of a mathematician, or an engineer. However, a good designer must embody all of these industries. Over the years I have designed so many complex solutions; a fly through simulation of the human body for Time Warner, I engineered the Hedge Fund platform for Merrill Lynch, and re-envisioned a children’s online bookstore for HarperCollins, to name a few. Each project requires me to learn new things, explore new concepts and think through complex problems. The goal is always to bring clarity to business for my clients, and ultimately improve ROI. 

Who has been your biggest influence?

There are so many people who have influenced me over the years, but my grandfather, William Ludgrove has certainly been the biggest influence on my life. He taught me to hold my chin up, to be curious, to try new things, and to never stop dreaming. He is 94 years old this year. He held many jobs over his lifetime including a WWII vet (enlisted at age 16), a farm hand, a butcher, a manager of a sports complex, and eventually an accomplished swim coach. As a swim coach he trained my mother to become a seven time World Record holder, Commonwealth Games champion and Olympian. New experiences and challenges kept him going and made him wise.

What advice would you share?

Pay attention and do your research. Seeing the world through the eyes of as many people as possible is the most important aspect to problem solving, in life and in work. Observing, and understanding how people interact with each other, and with everyday objects, enables you to develop actionable solutions. That, and “never drive home the same way twice”– it keeps things interesting. 

LaRoy Warner

Owner and Head Programmer at Iron Camp Performance Enhancement Facility

How did you get started in the industry

I started weight training when I was only 13 and trained for sports while in high school and college. After college, I weight trained to stay healthy and strong. After the market crashed in 2008, I decided to turn my “hobby” into a profession. I worked at a commercial gym and was able to build a great base of clients which then allowed me to eventually open my own gym.

What motivates you?

What motivates me is seeing my clients get excited about fitness and ultimately reach their goals. Whether it is getting stronger, leaner or more athletic, there is no better reward than watching someone move forward.

Who has been your biggest influence?

There are a number of people who have been influential for me in this industry. For me, what is most important is continuing to challenge myself and grow as a trainer. I can’t expect my clients to move forward if I don’t do the same. 

What advice would you share? 

There is a saying which I really believe is the best advice a person can follow: “Know what you don’t know. Know what you do know.” To me, this means be willing to admit what your weaknesses are. And if you are good at something, be the best you can be. 

Stelios Stavrianos

Founder and CEO of Cylinder Vodka

How did you get started in the industry?

I was bartending around Stamford and was obsessed with mixology. I quickly became interested in the art of making the stuff that drove nightlife around the world – spirits. I took an entire year to learn the art of distilling and spent 3 years formulating and perfecting what would become Cylinder vodka.

What motivates you?

I really love making an impact in the world. Creating a better product. Hosting fun events. Giving back to charities. And ultimately helping my mother and father – who raised my sister and I with blood sweat and tears – retire.
Who has been your biggest influence?

I want to say it’s a mix between my father, my grandfather and my uncle. All very hardworking men that would literally do anything to make sure their family had food on the table. All worked extremely hard – sometimes having 3 jobs at a time – sometimes hundreds of hours of work in a week. That drive and perseverance reverberates in me.
What advice would you share?

I think that absolutely anything is possible as long as you put your effort into it and are truly passionate about it. The advice I would give is that if you have a dream, find a way to make it happen and do not give up until you’ve accomplished it.
 

Mike Geller

Founder, Mike's Organic

How did you get started in the industry?

After working in advertising in NYC, in 2009 I quit my job and went off to live and work in the Kalahari Desert. It was in Botswana that I discovered something incredible: all the food at the supermarket looked and tasted better than almost anything you could buy at a grocery store in the U.S. The seed had been planted! It took time away from “civilization” to start questioning not only what I was eating, but how it was grown and where it was coming from. During my trip I was charged by a leopard, almost bitten by a cobra and was in a plane that lost an engine. In every sense of the expression, it was a life altering experience. When I returned home I was determined to share all that I had learned. I became a student of how food was grown, where the seeds come from, how it was cared for, raised, packaged, shipped, and displayed, and fully immersed myself in local sustainable farming and agriculture culture. I consumed books, attended lectures, and volunteered at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. These learning experiences and a lifetime of cooking, gardening, fine dining, hunting and fishing were the foundation for Mike’s Organic. For 10 years I have worked with small farmers, fisherman and artisans to source the best local food and serve as the conduit between the farmer and the consumer.

What motivates you?

I am motivated by the impact we have on our community through food. Our mission has always been to support small local farmers and connect them directly to the consumer -- seeing the joy we bring to people each and every day through providing them with healthy and delicious food is incredibly meaningful and makes me want to get up and work hard for the community

Who has been your biggest influence?

My biggest influences have been my father, Stephen, and my mother, Sue. They were both successful business owners, partners, entrepreneurs, and I have inherited a lot of my business acumen from them. They have also always been my biggest supporters and have given me advice at every step of my journey through life, let alone Mike's Organic. Now that i'm married (my wife is Asya) and a father (my 2 little boys are Nathan and Charlie) the wisdom they have passed on has become an even bigger piece of who I am as a husband, father and business owner.

What advice would you share?

Know your farmer! Eating is a personal decision but once you learn more about your food and where it's coming from you don't make the same decisions you once might have. And, follow your heart. 10 years ago I set off on this adventure not knowing exactly where it would take me but trusting my gut that I needed to help the community become more knowledgeable and connected to their food. I never looked back and here I am today proudly telling you the story of this incredible business. Your instincts will always guide you in the right direction. 


Rich Granoff

Founder + Managing Principal, Granoff Architects

How did you get started in the industry?

I knew I wanted to be an architect since I was a kid. After graduating from the Syracuse School or Architecture in 1984, I went to work in NYC for (fames architect) David Rockwell. I moved to Greenwich in 1989 and founded Granoff Architects, which has become the largest design firm in the area.

What motivates you?

Great design, taking excellent care of my clients/team and giving back to the community

Who has been your biggest influence?

Frank Lloyd Wright- Architecture

My Father- Work Ethic

Jill Granoff- Management Skills

What advice would you share? 

Choose a career that you love and every day is fun.
 

LOCAL HISTORIC BUILDINGS THAT GRANOFF ARCHITECTS HAS RENOVATED:

  1. RESTORATION HARDWARE ON GREENWICH AVE (FORMER POST OFFICE)

  2. RIVER HOUSE (FORMER METRO NORTH PUMP STATION)

  3. 330 RAILROAD AVE (FORMER C,L&P BLDG)


 

LOCAL NON-PROFIT PROJECTS INCLUDE:

    1. CHABAD OF GREENWICH (CURRENT AND NEW BUILDINGS)

    2. RED CROSS OF GREENWICH

    3. UNITED WAY OF GREENWICH

    4. PUTNAM INDIAN FIELD SCHOOL

    5. ONS FOUNDATION

    6. PATHWAYS (NEW BUILDING)

    7. NEIGHBOR TO NEIGHBOR (NEW BUILDING)

Related Businesses

The Nelson-Atkins Museum

Community Services

The Nelson-Atkins Museum

Kansas City, MO

The Nelson-Atkins is a comprehensive art museum with works of art dating from ancient to contemporary.

Animal Hospital of West Chester

Pet Services

Animal Hospital of West Chester

West Chester, OH

We are a full service medical and surgical veterinary hospital for all types of cats and dogs and specialize in taking care...

The Fetchington Luxury Pet Hotel

Pet Services

The Fetchington Luxury Pet Hotel

West Chester, OH

See More

Related Articles

See More