WQCS Local
12:07 pm
Mon May 17, 2010

Our billionaires

Fort Pierce, FL –
A total of four men with ties to the Treasure Coast are on Forbes Magazine's 2010 list of "The World's Billionaires." In the order they appear on the list they are: H. Wayne Huizenga, who built the Blockbuster chain and recently sold his 300-acre Floridian Golf & Yacht Club on the St. Lucie River. Peter Peterson, co-founder of the Blackstone private equity firm, who has a place in Windsor north of Vero Beach. Albert Lee Ueltschi, founder of FlightSafety, a major provider of aviation services, who has a place in the Moorings south of Vero Beach. And Michael E. Heisley, a manufacturing titan, who has a place on Jupiter Island. Much could be said about any of them. But Ueltschi is especially interesting. The son of a Kentucky farmer, he sold hamburgers as a boy to earn money to take flying lessons. He spent 10 years flying for PanAm, then launched FlightSafety as a pilot training school. It expanded to become a supplier of flight simulator and visual systems. He sold the company to Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway. Today Ueltschi, 92, heads Orbis International, a non-profit that fights blindness in poor countries. It uses a converted DC-10 as an eye hospital to treat patients and train doctors. I guess Ueltschi can't get flying out of his system. For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.

Treasure Coast essayist Paul Janensch was a newspaper editor and taught journalism at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.