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Willem Polak – Owner and CEO, Potomac Riverboat Company

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Willem Polak is owner and CEO of Potomac Riverboat Company, based in Alexandria, VA. The company operates water taxis between Georgetown, Alexandria, Mount Vernon, National Harbor and Old Town, increasingly serving D.C.’s tourism and water transportation needs since 1983, and received the “Golden Dome” award for “excellence in service.” An experienced entrepreneur, Mr. Polak, has brought five companies from the conceptual stage to full operation. He is also Chairman and CEO of LottoFone, Inc. Mr. Polak serves as Chairman of Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena, for which he received the Washingtonian of the Year award in 2005. Mr. Polak created the nonprofit in 1996 to save the Fort DuPont Ice Arena, then costing the Park Service hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, forcing it to close. His organization raised $5 million in contributions to acquire and renovate the rink, located in Southeast DC’s Marshall Heights, and maintains an annual budget of $1.2 million. Now a thriving center, the Arena is home to the nonprofit’s nationally acclaimed free Kids on Ice program, which receives more than 10,000 youths annually. The Arena has a girls’ figure-skating team that holds a regional title, is booked from early morning until midnight during hockey season, hosts summer camps, and serves over 52 public schools and the Special Olympics. Mr. Polak is currently applying that model to acquire a closed marina from the Department of Interior/DC Government on the Anacostia River, to provide commercial services as well as teach inner city children marine skills (boat building, engine repair). Mr. Polak received his BA from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a Trustee of St. Albans School in Washington, D.C.

www.potomacriverboatco.com

Interview Air Date: April 2, 2011



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