Man of the year 2013
Businessman, artisan baker, naval officer, and lawyer - these are only a few words that can be used to introduce Mariusz Kołodziej, a successful Polish entrepreneur who has spent the past 20 years living and working in the New Jersey area. Mariusz Kołodziej was born on October 3rd 1966 in Rzeszow, Poland. He spent his early childhood in the small town of Blazowa, where he attended elementary His mother Aleksandra, as a director of a local high school, always ance of a good education. His father Adolf, who ran several, emphasized the importance of different businesses at that time, focusing on teaching his son the value of hard work. As his parents were occupied with their work-related duties, Mariusz and his younger sister Agata took over most of the house responsibilities, having little time for regular childhood activities. Both very ambitious, Mariusz and Agata competed for school grades and were constantly comparing their achievements. In 1985 Kołodziej graduated from High School in Rzeszow, and all high school graduates - was faced with his first serious decision that would just like all influence his future. While his parents encouraged him to stay in his hometown and help develop the family business, Kolodziej refused and decided to follow his own dreams.
Driven by passion and love for water sports, with a strong desire to explore the world, Kołodziej applied to the prestigious Naval Academy in Gdynia, Poland. He was accepted in 1985, and began his four-year adventure with the Navy that included studying both in Poland and in the former Soviet Union. Spending most of the time on ships, 20-year-old Kolodziej learned discipline, and determination, as well as a useful ability to overcome difficulties. After graduating from the Naval Academy in 1989, he decided to continue his educational experience. Therefore, he moved back to Rzeszow and started his Master's program at the UMCS Law School.
Following his law and administration studies in his homeland Poland, he emigrated to New York at the age of 24 and earned his starting capital in the real estate business. After his fundamental needs were fulfilled, the young entrepreneur turned to another basic need-food, specifically bread. Having been exposed to the fine art of bread making in his father's bakery in Poland, Kołodziej acquired the passion for and understanding of this craftsmanship at a very young age. His enthusiasm for the trade escalated each year, as did the desire to start a bakery of his own. With a bit of luck and plenty of hard work, Kołodziej was able to realize his dream in 1996 on the shore of the Hudson River in Jersey City. Kołodziej analyzed the market in New York and decided in favor of a specialty European-style bakery adapted to the requirements of the American foodservice companies with their indulgent sandwich culture and aimed at the taste profile of New York consumers. With time it became the sole supplier of bread to many upscale restaurants and hotels in New York City, and the entire East Coast. Hudson Bread artisan bakery, now located in North Bergen, NJ creates over 350 different kinds of bread daily. Kolodziej created many of the recipes himself, finding inspirations during his world travels.
Kołodziej has always supported various sports initiatives, including soccer teams, marathon runners and car racing. At some point, he decided to get involved with boxing. For several years he was sponsoring one of the most famous Polish professional boxers, Tomasz Adamek. Finally, in 2010 Kołodziej became a licensed boxing promoter, and opened his own boxing gym in North Bergen, NJ. The facility, named Global Boxing Gym, quickly became known as one of the best of its kind. In December 2011, Kołodziej started a new project, he opened the Global Boxing Foundation, which aims to help young amateur boxers succeed in their professional career. Since that time, many talented amateurs and professional boxers from all over the world have been offered help by Kolodziej and his team. Within just two years, the ambitious boxing promoter led one of his fighters, Mariusz Wach, to a world title bout. The rest of the team, including four Polish prospects, is also on their way to the top. In 2012, Kołodziej's efforts were rewarded, as he was announced Promoter of The Year by the editors of bokser.org, one of the top boxing websites in Poland. The same year, Kołodziej was also awarded “Outstanding Pole Abroad” during the annual reception held at the Consulate General of Poland in New York City.
The list of his endeavors is impressive, and each of the accomplishments ultimately inspires him to reach for more. Hopefully, Mariusz's three sons-Paul, Alexander and Daniel - will continue their father's legacy.