His expertise can be seen throughout the country and as far away as Berlin and London.
Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
President of Ben Strauss Industries Inc.Chose Adelphi for: Local reputation and many friends who attended.
Proudest academic achievement: Overcoming dyslexia before it was commonly known and diagnosed.
Greatest professional accomplishment: Securing a long-term contract with Yankee Stadium and receiving two World Series championship rings—a fan’s dream come true.
Painting a Metropolis, One Generation at a Time
Travelers and tourists from across the globe are familiar with the silhouette of the Statue of Liberty, the famed façade of Yankee Stadium, and the splendor of Manhattan’s luxury hotels. What few visitors to the Big Apple realize is that Victor Strauss has quite literally had a hand in the appearance of these and many other landmarks and attractions. Since 1945, three generations of the Strauss family have painted a city’s treasures.
A graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, Mr. Strauss heard about Adelphi from friends. After convincing Adelphi President Paul Dawson Eddy of his dedication and potential, he was given a provisional admittance after completing world history and economics classes. Mr. Strauss knew he would find success. After changing his major from accounting to business management and learning quickly from a brief sojourn in the working world, he completed his degree in 1959.
Ingenuity and self-confidence helped Mr. Strauss land his first job. He responded to a newspaper ad for business consultants, and despite neither having consulting nor textile industry experience, he convinced the president of Beauknit Mills that he could improve the company’s manufacturing operations. With the knowledge he gained at Adelphi’s School of Business, he was able to make considerable improvements in the weaving, knitting and dye processes. Shortly after his first corporate success story, Mr. Strauss responded to his father’s request and agreed to return to New York City to begin supervising the family’s residential and commercial painting business.
Under his leadership, Ben Strauss Industries became a industry leader in a city that’s known for its intense competition. The second generation of this family business saw Strauss workers painting, renovating and restoring landmarks such as Yankee Stadium, Penn and Grand Central Stations, the Metropolitan Opera House, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York City Public Library on 42nd Street, and Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. The Strauss Company also left its mark on venerable Gotham edifices such as Gracie Mansion, the Waldorf Astoria, and the Plaza Hotel.
At the same time, Mr. Strauss revolutionized the use of mixed paint applications to create architectural illusion. Visitors to midtown’s Central Synagogue, the oldest in the city, are often awed by its vibrant colors, intricate stencil details, and luminous décor. This architectural showcase is the result of an intensive three-month effort that involved over sixty artists. Strauss Industries was recognized for this project by the New York Construction News 2001 “Restoration Project of the Year” award.
New York City’s many and varied bridges are well-known to its millions of commuters and visitors, but few know that one man is connected to the appearance of so many of them. Strauss painters have refinished the Throg’s Neck, Whitestone, Manhattan, Williamsburg, Verrazano, Henry Hudson, Tri-Borough, and 59th Street bridges. In short, it may be impossible to enter or leave Manhattan without passing abundant evidence of Strauss Painting’s preeminent status.
Strauss Industries’ reputation has also spread beyond the Big Apple. Mr. Strauss’s expertise can be seen throughout the country and as far away as Berlin and London. Even the nation’s premier archive, The Library of Congress in Washington D.C., bears Strauss paint.
Nowhere was Victor Strauss’s ingenuity or perseverance more tested, or more triumphantly demonstrated, than in the 1980s restoration of the Statue of Liberty. Mr. Strauss quickly realized that the surprisingly thin copper structure presented unusual difficulties in the cleaning, protecting, and painting processes. A lifetime of innovation led him to introduce the use of baking soda instead of sand as a cleaning agent. Moreover, Mr. Strauss extended his resources to order a specially engineered paint from NASA to address the unique coating and waterproofing concerns of the project. When that paint proved defective, Mr. Strauss convinced a federal government contractor to re-examine its product and rectify the mistake. Today, Mr. Strauss’s daughter Hillary continues to lead the family business in its third generation of success.
Mr. Strauss lives in Manhattan with his wife, Fran, where he continues to support and enjoy the Metropolitan Opera and, of course, the Bronx Bombers. An avid sailor, he frequents the waters of Long Island’s famed Hamptons. Besides daughter Hillary, Mr. Strauss also has a son, Paul, a ‘shadow senator’ in Washington D.C. He dotes on his four grandchildren and considers his legacy to be his successful and loving family.
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