I first met this young man when he was a staffer on an ill-fated Republican U.S. Senate campaign.
Had the candidate worked half as hard as young Cortese, I suspect he would have won.
The Hartford Business Journal will be honoring Bill and 39 others this September at their annual 40 under 40 event. Still plenty of time to buy tickets; which is recommended.
Title: Government Affairs Coordinator
Company Name: Associated Builders and Contractors of CT
Company Location: Rocky Hill
Career Highlights: Serving with the Marine Corps in the Horn of Africa is my highlight. Here I was at 20, leaving the United States for the first time in my life, heading to a fourth world country located in the hotbed of terrorism. A lot of things go through your head. But it turned out to be an amazing experience. I was able to go out and build schools, improve their infrastructure, and work the hearts and minds side of things. It was quite an experience. Then, working on the McCain campaign was such a ride. Although things didn’t turn out the way I would have liked, to work for a hero like John McCain was just so rewarding.
Community Involvement: I’ve been involved in several veterans’ organizations, like the American Legion, the VFW, the Marine Corps League and most recently a new organization called ‘No Vet Left Behind’ which assists veterans that may have drug or alcohol addictions, may be homeless or in need of medical treatment. It’s a great thing to be a part of.
Musical Inspiration: U2 has always inspired me. They have been able to touch millions and motivate people to move beyond their comfort zones to see that there is a world out there in need. I remember they played the halftime show during the first Super Bowl after 9-11. To watch them sing, ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ with the victims names in the background, two of those victims being relatives of mine, was really inspirational.
Person you most admire and why: I have to say that I have always really admired Colin Powell, both professionally and personally. To see someone who grew up poor in the Bronx become the first African-American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then the first African-American Secretary of State is truly something special. I remember being four years old and watching the news coverage on Operation Desert Storm, and there was Colin Powell in front of these maps and sketches of the battlefield, I was just in absolute awe. I had to have that uniform. And there I was 16 years later, wearing that uniform, serving in a different time, during a different war, but serving nonetheless. I owe a lot of that to him. I still call upon the inspiration I took from him growing up.