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On the Job with Richard Caviola

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY -- After 41 years in the same downtown location, Quick Loan co-owner Richard Caviola has seen it all.

Caviola, 66, and his wife of 45 years, Carol, arrived in Albany from upstate New York in 1969. He still has Carol and he's still in the same Broad Avenue building.

As part of our weekly "On The Job With ..." feature, we sat down with Caviola for a 20-question session on Albany and life in general.

Q: If you were fresh out of college, what would you first do in searching for a job?

A: I would look somewhere in the medical field, and not necessarily as a doctor or a nurse. The baby boomers are getting older and there will be a big need in this field.

Q: What was your first job?

A: When I was in high school during the summers I caddied at Westchester Country Club and Wingedfoot in New York. I caddied for the likes of Ed Sullivan, Jan Murray, members of the Green Bay Packers, who were in town to play the New York Giants.

After high school, I got a job with the local newspaper as an office boy where I did everything including running the switchboard.

Q: What was the first thing you bought after you got your first paycheck?

A: After giving half of it to my mother -- that was my father's law -- I put the rest in savings to buy a ham radio outfit.

Q: Who was your role model or mentor in your current job?

A: Richard Mann, who owned this company, which we bought after his death. He made everything simple. He was a real "pro."

Q: How has the recession affected your business?

A: Our customers are more frugal. They borrow only when they need to. Bottom line -- no senseless borrowing just because there is money available.

Q: If you could turn back the clock on one aspect of technology (email, internet, cell phones, etc.) what would it be?

A: Like everyone, automated phones drive me nuts!

Q: I am up and going by ...?

A: 6 a.m. -- me, coffee, squirrels and birds ...leaving by 7:30 am.

Q: Favorite hobby or activity outside of work?

A: I like doing some form of exercise six days a week -- weights, bands, stationary bike, etc.

Q: If you could take back one business decision in your career, what would it be?

A: You know, I've been blessed and can't think of a decision that went South!

Q: What's the best thing about your job?

A: No doubt my employees, and especially my customers. We've grown old together!

Q: What's the worst thing about your job?

A: Reading in the obituaries that one of my customers passed.

Q: The most beneficial course you took in school?

A: Math

Q: What would be your dream job?

A: Navy Seal

Q: Finish this: "On the first anniversary of my retirement, I can see myself ..."

A: At Kimbrell-Stern -- because I'm not retiring.

Q: What is one trait a business leader cannot be without?

A: A smile, it's a million-dollar asset.

Q: What is your call on the timetable for economic recovery in our area?

A: Over a year.

Q: What do you see as Albany's biggest economic challenge?

A: Getting industry in ASAP. We've lost Flint River Mills, Bobs Candy, Merck, Cooper and not much has come in to replace our losses. We've got people in Albany commuting to Camilla, Moultrie and even LaGrange to work.

Q: Where do you see the city in 10 years?

A: Well, I hate to say it, but, forget about downtown. I've been here since 1971 and when the government moved in the 200 blocks of Broad and Pine, over 60 retail stores or offices were gone. They plucked out the heart of downtown; anything positive will go Northwest.

Q: What are the biggest changes you've seen in your business over the past several years?

A: Not much, we're not as big as we were years back, but our customer base is improved.

Q: What was the best vacation you ever took?

A: Savannah. My dream is to own a house in the downtown area. What a city!