It was my treat to have been with two extraordinary people this past week. They come from different worlds and function on different platforms of life but they share the powerful force of passion for what they do. One of these extraordinary people is businessman Basil Messados, the other astronaut Ellen Shulman Baker.
Basil Messados is a self made, enormously successful businessman who built his world in New York after coming from Greece in 1985, speaking little English. He found his way to a job here as a taxi driver. Quickly he saw the opportunity to buy a medallion and own a taxi. From one it grew, with the help of his partner Tony Georgiton, to 600 medallion taxis and a brokerage company financing and insuring the cabs.
But that is only the beginning of his world. He is about to embark on another journey. One of his passions is to bring Greek entertainers to America and share their talent and beauty with us. So Basil is investing $10 million in a club in Astoria that will be built to his specifications to hold up to 1,000 people. This is a man filled with passion and drive to work hard for what he believes in.
Then there was a wonderful Wednesday spent with Ellen Shulman Baker, born and bred in Bayside, at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, where she was a VIP guest to celebrate the opening of the new exhibit featuring NASA’s Enterprise, a coup for the city. But the real coup is Ellen. We are all so proud of her.
She was born into an exceptional family. Her mom is Claire Shulman, our beloved and brilliant former borough president, and her dad is Mel Shulman, a highly regarded psychiatrist. She grew up in a family of achievers and she has probably surpassed her parents’ wildest expectations.
And though Basil and Ellen don’t know each other they share a driving passion for what they do, a drive to succeed through hard work and a deep love of their families. Basil was quoted as saying that “to be accomplished you must dream it, believe it, and achieve it!”
They both have, brilliantly!