November 2000

Bill Wind -
Diametric Opposite of Ill Wind

by Joseph RADDER

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When an “ill wind” blows into town bad things happen. When Bill Wind was born in Buffalo in 1945, good things were in store for this community.

“My parents taught me that America offers great opportunities and one should appreciate that fact and make the most of it,” Bill says as he speaks lovingly of his parents Buffalonians for most of their lives. His dad, a GM employee for 30 years, passed away a few years ago. His mother Arlyne (87 years young) is still living.

William M. Wind graduated from Bishop Neuman High School in 1963 and from Buffalo State College in 1968 with a BA in Social Sciences. Later, in 1979, he went on to earn an MBA at U.B.

“My first job was paper boy,” Bill remembers. “And, of course, I cut lawns, weeded gardens and worked as a supermarket stock boy like lots of other kids.” Like many in his generation, growing up in the difficult post-war years, he learned the work ethic early. Later, while in college, he had a number of other work experiences, at Hall’s Bakery, the GM plant and finally as an Inhalation Therapist at Buffalo General Hospital.

It was here that he met his wife of 32 years, Pat Gage, also a Buffalo native. She, too, was an Inhalation Therapist. Bill carried this skill into his first job after college, working for Greene and Kellog.

Later he went to work for New York Telephone, where he began a 31year career in the telecommunications industry. Today, Bill Wind is director of sales for Sprint PCS, providing voice and data services to thousands of customers. “This business is changing very rapidly,” he says. It’s exciting to be involved in new technology on an almost daily basis.”

The Winds have four children, all of whom still live in the Buffalo area. His daughter Kelley earned her MBA at U.B. and her teaching certificate for elementary ed at Buff State. His oldest son, Bill Jr., is a resident orthopedic surgeon. His second son, Joe, went to Canisius and is following in his dad’s footsteps in telecommunication sales. His youngest, Michael, is currently a student at Canisius College. The Winds also have two grandchildren.

Bill Wind’s list of civic contributions is longer than many we’ve seen. He has been on the Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce Board for 10 years. During that time he has been president and chairman of the board. He is currently chairman of CCC Charities, a charitable organization affiliated with the Cheektowaga Chamber.

His Chamber of Commerce work is regional as well. In the spirit of cooperation between communities, Bill is also a member of the Amherst, Kenmore, Niagara Falls and Hamburg Chambers as well as the Buffalo/Niagara Partnership.

Fund-raising is another of Bill Wind’s talents. He makes major contributions along this line for Kenmore Mercy Hospital as a trustee of the Kenmore Mercy Foundation.

His ties with Canisius College are not only through his children. He is also a member of the council of the Richard Wehle School of Business, a member of that body’s executive committee and chairman of its technology committee.

He is a member and former director of the Buffalo-Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives, is on the advisory board of the St. Francis Foundation, and, like his father before him, he is treasurer of White Chapel Memorial Park.

You would think such a list of civic endeavors would fill up 24/7, but Bill still finds time for boating, fishing, golf and communicating on his personal computer.

When we asked Bill Wind what he considers to be the most important quality of life, he was quick to answer, “Integrity. It’s critical in today’s environment.” Next to integrity, he has always had a high regard for professionalism and tries to practice it in all facets of his daily life.

“I love to build,” Bill says, “not just things out of wood, but I love to build groups of people into organizations and sales teams.”

He is optimistic about Buffalo and sees a major resurgence on the horizon. “Our greatest asset is our people,” Bill Wind says with strong conviction. “Taking advantage of the many assets this community has to offer our people will create unprecedented success for Buffalo and Western New York.”

Joseph Radder is a freelance writer.


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