Self-made billionaire John Catsimatidis, chairman/CEO of the Red Apple Group and United Refining Co., which owns more than 300 Kwik Fill gas stations, will be the next speaker in the Daemen College Distinguished Leaders Lecture Series, scheduled for 4 p.m. May 9 in the Wick Campus Center Alumni Lounge.
The event is free and open to the public. Reservations are requested by emailing [email protected].
In his lecture, titled "From Greece to America: A Great Business Success Story," Catsimatidis will talk about his remarkable journey from Greece to creating one of the most successful private companies in the U.S. He oversees holdings in energy, aviation, retail and real estate, and has more than 10,000 employees, including 2,000 in New York City. As CEO of the Red Apple Group, he also owns New York's Gristedes grocery chain, which operates more than 30 stores throughout Manhattan, Westchester and Brooklyn.
Born on the Greek island of Nisyros, Catsimatidis' family immigrated to New York City when he was 6 months old and he grew up in Harlem. He studied engineering at New York University and then entered the grocery business. By age 25, he owned 10 Red Apple Supermarkets and continued to grow his business into the major success it is today.
"We look forward to having a nationally prominent business leader like John come to Daemen to talk about his incredible journey in becoming one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country," Daemen President Gary A. Olson said.
Active in the community, Catsimatidis, who received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Daemen, has been a strong supporter of the Police Athletic League, and serves on the board of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund, and has held various volunteer positions in the Greek Orthodox Church.
In addition to his business endeavors, Catsimatidis currently hosts a radio talk show on New York's AM 970 and is frequently interviewed by Fox News. He also ran for New York City mayor in 2013.
The Daemen Distinguished Leaders Lecture Series brings top government and public officials and business leaders to campus to share their unique perspective on critical state, national and international issues.