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1982 Horatio Alger Award Winner

Arthur E. Imperatore, Sr.

Chairman Emeritus
NY Waterway

"I try to bring out the best in people, to teach them that they’re bigger than they think they are."

Born in 1925 in West New York, New Jersey, Arthur Imperatore is the son of immigrants from Italy who ran a small grocery store. He was the oldest of five brothers in a family of 10 children. At the age of 10, he delivered pickles for 50 cents a day. Later, he worked as a newspaper boy, delivery boy, bowling alley pin boy, and restaurant dishwasher. During high school, he often held three jobs at once.

After serving as a navigator aboard B-24s and B-29s during World War II, Imperatore made plans to go to college on the GI Bill. But when his four brothers bought two old Army trucks to start a business, he decided to buy into the concern as a full partner. In the early days, the boys' mother served as the office staff, working from the kitchen telephone. The trucks were kept and serviced in the garage behind the house. Before long, the Imperatore Brothers Trucking Company became known nationally as A-P-A Transportation Company, now headquartered in North Bergen, New Jersey. Today, A-P-A is the most successful short haul common carrier in the nation.

During his career, Imperatore has earned numerous awards and honors for his commitment to the community and to the free enterprise system. He and A-P-A were the first in the nation to receive the U. S. Senate Productivity Award for the "lowest operating costs and the highest ratio of profit to revenue in our industry in 20 years."

Imperatore has turned the day-to-day operation of his company over to this stepson, and now tends to his real estate development and horticulture interests. He has developed 350 acres of Hudson River waterfront property into a residential and commercial community. In 1986, he launched a ferry, the Port Imperial, which carries 8,000 people daily across the Hudson between Weehawken, New Jersey, and Manhattan.

Imperatore would like to be remembered as someone who tried to make a better world in whatever way he could, or as "someone who gave back." He is awed by the human mind and its resiliency. Even so, he says he feels that "few people realize their potential. I try to teach the people I work with that they're bigger than they think they are, that they're better than they know themselves to be, that they're more capable, more resourceful, and have much more potential than they feel they have."