When a young, fresh-faced Wayne Fontana started at Community College of Allegheny County in 1968, he never dreamed that he would end up a State Senator. Yet the 1971 graduate is just that - after winning a special election last year to fill a vacancy in the 42nd Senatorial District.
Juggling work, school, and a new family, Fontana worked at The Doggery – a restaurant just across the street from the campus. At the time, he dreamed of having his own business, although the details were far from clear. He delved into a variety of subjects and activities at CCAC, graduating with his associate’s degree in business.
Following graduation, he began working as a realtor, a career he continues in today. Most recently, he worked as a sales manager and associate broker for Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. As a realtor, Fontana has helped hundreds of individuals and families realize the American dream of home ownership. He was honored by the Realtors’ Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh as its 2004 Distinguished Service Award recipient in recognition of his hard work and commitment in the field.
His work in real estate has taken a back seat since his election to the State Senate, but his business background and the lessons he learned at CCAC remain with him today: He always does his homework. He listens to all sides of an issue before making up his mind. He values the opinions of those who know more on a particular subject than he does. He is never afraid to ask a question. And, most importantly, he always keeps an open mind.
When asked about his time at CCAC, Fontana wholeheartedly recommends his alma mater. He tells those who ask that CCAC is a good place to further their education and that the structure allows individuals who are unsure of their future goals to have the time to make decisions about their future. The staff, faculty, and administration focus upon and give the students the tools they need to explore their options while receiving a quality, affordable education.
The most challenging part of his job is trying to please everyone. Helping a constituent with an issue that’s important to him or her or introducing legislation to address an injustice or problem is the reward. As an added bonus, the 42nd Senatorial District includes CCAC Allegheny Campus. The young man who once sprinted from class to class across the campus, now represents his former place of learning on a new campus – the Pennsylvania State Senate.