Chief Executive Officer
CLASS OF 1997
David Smydo takes to heart the maxim, “The difference between winning and losing is rolling up your sleeves and making it happen.” It all began to happen for Smydo when he was a student at Washington & Jefferson College and he took an unpaid internship with the finance department of a mining and manufacturing company. As a result of pure grit and an unmatched work ethic, he was hired full-time after graduation and within six months, became the top executive in the finance department.
Smydo’s rapid rise through corporate ranks continued as he was recruited to a major, Boston-based business consulting firm where he spent his days evaluating and reviewing businesses for a wide variety of industries. Along the way, one company particularly caught his attention. That company was D. Sokolin & Co., one of America’s premier fine and rare wine merchants, founded in 1934 and based in New York. He was asked to join the company as chief operating officer and within two years, he became a principal in the company—all at the young age of 27. When he joined the company 10 years ago, Smydo literally worked around the clock as he infused the business with state-of-the-art infrastructure and technology; grew his staff from seven to more than 45 employees; and spearheaded the company’s expansion to become a global leader in the fine and rare wine business, offering unrivaled selection, availability, low pricing, and customer satisfaction.
Smydo attributes much of his success to his family’s support and the solid foundation he built during his time at W&J. The College helped him to get his foot in the door at his first company, which often can be the toughest challenge in the job market. He credits his entrepreneurial studies classes for teaching him the importance of innovation. “Those who can innovate and are flexible can be successful in any economy,” he says. Talking with Smydo for just a few minutes, one immediately senses his determination and drive. He was once told, “If you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying hard enough.” These are words that he lives by every single day.