Meet Kate Gleason College of Engineering Distinguished Alumnus

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Wayne Plewniak

Service and volunteerism is just a way of life for Wayne Plewniak ’83.

“It is important to get involved, give back,” Plewniak said. “Change and improvement in the world doesn’t happen unless you get involved.”

Plewniak is this year’s Distinguished Alumnus from the Kate Gleason College of Engineering and will be honored during Distinguished Alumni Award Week, April 11-15, at various on-campus events and celebrations.

During the early days of Plewniak’s career as an investment banker, he found it difficult to pursue his career and volunteer, though. Plewniak is currently the managing director and head of Fixed Income at GAMCO Investors, a diversified financial holding company that provides investment advisory services.

“A full and active life is profoundly important,” he said. “So a work-life balance is necessary, but when I was coming up on Wall Street it was just work.”

Since then, Plewniak has made a point of carving out time for his various interests, such as serving on boards for the Greenwich Council of the Boy Scouts of America and Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, where he received his graduate degree.

Plewniak has always been active member of his community, even dating back to his days at RIT. During his time on campus, Plewniak’s involvement was vast and diverse, from participating in the sailing club to being a member of Policy Council, now called University Council.

While serving on Policy Council, Plewniak became close with then RIT President M. Richard Rose, who helped Plewniak obtain his first co-op, which then led to his first job out of college. This gesture showed Plewniak the impact giving back has not only on the world around him, but in his own life as well.

“When you get involved your life becomes fuller, you make new friends, and other opportunities come your way,” he said. “I’ve had the chance to meet so many great people and do great things.”

His involvement with RIT has not ended since graduation. Plewniak has been a member of the President’s Roundtable since 2010 and the KGCOE Dean’s Advisory Council since 2011. He also continues to support RIT’s students and faculty, who he remembers fondly, in various ways.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to a certified alumnus/a who has performed with distinction at the highest levels of his or her chosen profession; or who has contributed significantly to the advancement and leadership of noteworthy civic, philanthropic, or service organizations over the course of many years. Those honored have brought distinction to their colleges and RIT through their professional, community and/or philanthropic achievements. Check back every Thursday for more from RIT’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni.