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Anne Pawsat-Dressler has had a successful career which included streamlining the computer operations of a Manhattan office of a large financial company, managing the auction purchases worth millions of dollars of clients at Christie’s in London, and producing a documentary film.  Off from work one thing she loved doing was to travel.

Her many travelling experiences also exposed her to the world of high-end travelers. A visit to Hawaii made her decide she wanted to live there. What better way to earn a living then than to engage in a business that involved travel and do it in a place where she wanted to stay.

She established Hawaii Hideaways in 2004. She noted there wasn’t a market for luxury vacation in Hawaii that provided excellent service for the high-end traveler.  Only 24 years of age when she started the business, she initially had some difficulty in convincing luxury homeowners to let their multi-million property be a part of her inventory of homes for rent.

Over time she eventually succeeded and her company is now a leader in providing luxury vacations in Hawaii.  The company offers rental properties with 24 hour concierge services.  You can have luaus, massages, limousine service, charter jets, to chartered yacht.

Through a great idea and a lot of hard work, Anne has the best of both worlds.  She has a business she loves (and earning her millions), in place that she wants to stay for the rest of her life.

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Businessmen especially when their business grows bigger sooner or later brush elbows with politicians.  Businesses may need an elected government official’s signature to start a project. It’s just how things work and it may be done above board or in some instances, with more the than people’s interest in mind.

There are also big businessmen who align themselves with politicians who share their own views. There is nothing illegal about it, it’s how our democracy works.

One businessman has really made it big. Through hard work and risk taking Sheldon Adelson (aged 78) has made it. Of humble beginnings, he held various jobs and various businesses before becoming the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Las Vegas Sands Corporation.

It took vision and a lot of guts to destroy the old Sands Hotel which hosted celebrities like Frank Sinatra and turn it into the Venice-inspired Venetian Hotel (spending $1.5 billion) which became a trend setter in the gambling and hotel resort world.  Then he set his sights on gambling enclave Macao, China, and built the Sands Macao.  The subsequent floating of the company’s stocks in 2004 made him wealthy many times over. 

Other notable establishments include the Venetian Macao  Resort Hotel at the cost of $2.4 billion in 2007, and the Marina Bay Sands (Singapore) opened in 2010 at a reported cost of $5.4 billion. His businesses and net worth took a dive in 2008 due to the financial crisis but has since rebounded. His net worth is now $21.5 billion making him the 8th richest man in America.

Known for his philanthropic work most especially involving Jewish interests, he is also a big political contributor. His timely donations (including that of his wife) in the 2012 Republican primary, now totaling $10 million, have greatly helped the political fortunes of long time friend Newt Gingrich.  His philanthropy and influence reaches all the way to Israel.

You may admire him or not but you must agree he is a business leader in every sense of the word.

People often develop their interests as children. The places, activities, and people they were exposed to at a young age influence some of their major decisions in life, like their choice of career. Such is the history of entrepreneur John Edson.

Edson got his sea legs when he was still a young boy growing up near Lake Washington. He loved the water and particularly loved boats; he even built his first boat when he was still a child. He never lost interest in the hobby, even when he attended college at the University of Washington, got married and had two children. During his spare time, he built a lot of sailboats in his garage. With so many boats completed, he decided to turn his hobby into a business.

bayliner logoAn ordinary guy, Edson decided to build boats that any other guy like him can afford. He made many men’s dreams of owning a sailboat come true with Advanced Outboard Marine, established in 1955. The company initially sold common engines, hardware, and other gears for boaters. Ten years later, he decided to expand his business by building bigger and better things. With two new moulds, Edson built bigger boats. He also changed the name of the company to Bayliner Marine Corporation.

From then on, Edson was known for selling all kinds of boats in different sizes and amenities. He catered to the wants of his market by building simple boats as well as luxury boats. The company’s revenue doubled every three years and his customer base expanded as well.

After almost thirty years in the boating business, Edson decided to sell his company to Brunswick for $425 million. He entered a new industry and invested in stocks and real estate for the remainder of his career as an entrepreneur.

As one of the world’s billionaires according to Forbes, Edson now spends his days enjoying the rewards of his lucrative career.