1960 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"Working your way up through the ranks gives you an invaluable education."
Robert Solinsky was only 14 years old when he joined the American Can Company, earning $4 a week as a messenger boy at its Maywood, Illinois, plant. At 17, he went to Continental Can Company in Chicago as a timekeeper. Two years later, he shifted to the sales staff. He moved up through the ranks to central district sales manager. In 1936, he joined the National Can Corporation as an assistant vice president. Three years later, he and his associates advanced $35,000 to form their own company, Cans, Incorporated. During World War II, he served as administrator of the can industry as a dollar-a-year man with the War Production Board. He lived in Washington and returned to Chicago every weekend to run his business. By 1952, he had built his enterprise into a business with $8 million in annual sales. The National Can Corporation bought him out that same year and he stayed on as president and chief executive officer. Soon thereafter, sales rose to more than $100 million.* Deceased