Frank Valenti, 28

Hard work is hardwired into Frank Valenti. From a young age, he loved to work alongside his father at his landscape construction company. In college, while studying civil engineering and construction management, Valenti started his first company, doing small construction jobs. “A friend who was an insurance adjuster told me I should get into the restoration business,” says Valenti. So he did — at age 21.

Valcon Contracting, a fire-, mold-, and water-restoration company, has grown into a nearly $2 million business annually and is the preferred vendor for major insurance companies. As the company grew, Valenti put his life savings toward the purchase of his first commercial building, in Eastchester, as Valcon’s headquarters. The building had an empty first floor, so he and two friends opened the trendy Italian restaurant 808 Social — an enterprise that adds a significant revenue boost, he says.

Valenti is a born entrepreneur. “I don’t like working for people,” he explains. “I don’t want to settle for a job; I have a drive for more.” In the future, “more” will include venturing deeper into residential and commercial real estate.

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He also admits to carrying a bit of a chip on his shoulder — a residual from growing up in Scarsdale, he says, where there aren’t many blue-collar individuals. “My whole family is blue-collar, and I know there is plenty of money to be made from that,” he says. “I didn’t listen to what other people said. I knew what I was going do anyway.”

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