Man of the Year in Business: Michael Ardolino
BY SUSAN RISOLI firstname.lastname@example.org
The sluggish economy and a glut of properties on the market make it a tough time to be a real estate agent — or so it seems. Michael Ardolino disproves that theory. One of the founders of Realty Connect USA, and senior vice president of its Setauket branch, Ardolino has been the top-selling real estate agent in the Long Island/Queens region for the past 11 years.
But that is only the beginning of his story. Ardolino works tirelessly to support local charities. He has a knack for getting people to open hearts and pocketbooks to help their neighbors. His colleagues in the Th ree Village Chamber of Commerce, which he currently serves as president, say he does business by listening, focusing on customer needs and treating everyone he meets with respect. Members of his Team Ardolino say they’re so happy to work with him — and getting a paycheck is just the icing on the cake. For his community service, scrupulous ethics and success at inspiring others to be their best, Michael Ardolino is our Man of the Year in Business.
Olga Belleau, vice president of State Bank of Long Island and a former TVTH Business Woman of the Year, said, “You don’t do business with a business. You do business with a person. Mike feels you create a relationship, not just sell a house and make a buck.” Her husband Tom Belleau calls Ardolino’s mentoring “gentle persuasion.” A retired chief financial offi cer who started a second career as a real estate agent, he joined Ardolino’s staff . Though his career change “has tested skills I’ve never used before,” Belleau said, “Mike is always ready to give guidance but he doesn’t push. There’s nopressure to hit this mark, or do that.” Although “getting yourself known is a challenge,” Belleau learns from watching Ardolino. “He’s been very successful in the growth of his name and his brand in this marketplace.”
John Fitzgerald, who cofounded Realty Connect USA a year ago with Ardolino and several other real estate professionals, also praises Ardolino’s skill in bringing out the best in people.
“I’ve been in the real estate business since 1975, and I am inspired by Michael,” said Fitzgerald. “He doesn’t settle for ‘good.’ He always looks for ‘great.’” Yet Ardolino “won’t criticize someone’s work,” Fitzgerald explained. “He’ll say, ‘This is one of the things you might want to do to enhance, to make your work better.’ He’s kind, smart and caring.”
Ardolino’s decades of experience“in the trenches”, said Fitzgerald, make him a go-to person for encouragement: “When things get diffi cult, I’ll call Michael because his advice is the key to keeping a level head in business.”
Pamela Dobo calls it “a privilege” to be a real estate agent on Ardolino’s staff . His leadership and generous spirit keep the team motivated, she said. “Michael’s not afraid to share his knowledge,” Dobo added. “He will tell a new agent —or an agent who’s just getting stale — what’s worked for him. He genuinely wants everyone to be successful.” That can mean devoting extra time to an agent who needs it. “Sometimes agents have been down on their luck,” Dobo said. “But as soon as Michael can get hold of them, he will make time for them, restart their engines — and you can see the difference.”
Treating clients ethically and respectfully is the rule for playing on Team Ardolino. “Michael says you never go wrong with being honest,” Dobo said. “It’s expected here. And he always tells us to listen more than we speak.” He teaches his staff that “real estate is hardly ever about the transaction,” said Dobo. “It’s about people. Michael has always said, ‘If someone is your age, deal with them the way you would a brother or sister, someone you really care about. If they’re older, treat them the way you would treat a parent or grandparent.’”
Ardolino serves on the boards of many community organizations, including Rotary Club International and Stony Brook University Medical Center Development Council. “He’s a giver, he’ll do anything for anybody,” said Fitzgerald. “If there’s someone in the community who needs help, Michael’s the first one to step up to the plate.”
Yet his charitable work often goes unsung, say his colleagues. “Michael gives a lot: his time, his energy, his fi nances,” said Dobo. “He just quietly does it. At the closing of any day, he wants to know that he did the right thing and helped someone.” For his business acumen, and of course his community service that complements it so well, Michael Ardolino garnered our honor as The Village Times Herald Man of the Year in Business.
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