William Waytena Inventor, Businessman, Entrepreneur  
spacerWilliam “Bill” Waytena: Inventor, Entrepreneur, Product Designer—Great Inventor

William Waytena (“Bill”) was born on December 23, 1927 in Elmira, New York, the youngest of ten children to Ukrainian and Polish immigrants, Nicholas and Julia. Like many immigrants, the Waytena’s were hard working people of modest circumstances. And like many successful entrepreneurs, modest beginnings belied the success that was to come.

Bill served in the U.S. Navy during World War 2 and later attended Alfred University where he earned his degree in electrical engineering.  Upon graduation, Bill moved to Western New York to work at BellAircraft.  Bill married the love of his life, Louise Ziolkowski, in 1958 and they remain married and devoted to each other to this day. 

Starting Off With A Bang: Invention of the Radar Detector

Leaving BellAircraft in 1960, Bill formed Radatron, Inc., a company pioneering the use of radar for consumer use; at that time the only users of radar were the military, aviation field and law enforcement.  At age 33, Bill invented the radar detector which was marketed under the name Radar Sentry.  Bill’s invention was revolutionary. It was an immediate hit and Bill was interviewed by countless national and international publications including Business Week, the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, the Washington Post, Readers Digest, Popular Electronics, Chicago Sun Times, and Newsweek.  He also appeared on several national television shows. To this day, many of the product features that Bill incorporated into his original design are still in use.

That “WA WA” Sound

In 1970 Bill heard a new musical invention, an electronic keyboard, while attending a music show in Rochester, New York. Eager to know more, Bill made it a point to introduce himself to Robert (“Bob”) Moog, Ph.D., the keyboard’s inventor. Bob’s expertise centered upon the intricate modulation of sound but he was unable to launch the instrument for mainstream use.  Bill’s savvy product design and business acumen proved to be exactly what would catapult this keyboard instrument, the electronic synthesizer, into becoming one of the most successful new instruments of the last century.

Building Businesses One By One

Bill was adept at building businesses. He often saw opportunity where others did not. His market insight would lead to success after success. In 1962, he purchased the Hotel Worth in Buffalo, NY. A property that was struggling, Bill saw an unserved market need and the opportunity to create a viable business. Like most of his endeavors, Bill was proved right.

Yet another example was in 1977. Bill learned of a struggling family-owned business conglomerate called Anderson Companies (“ANDCO”) run by Gus Anderson.   Having seen the potential of these companies, Bill put together a team of investors and purchased multiple divisions of Anderson Companies, saving the jobs of many employees and turning these companies into successful businesses.  A new challenge was on the horizon for Bill and Andco Industries was reborn.  During his ownership of Andco, Bill brought worldwide attention to water purification, actuary technology, blast furnace maintenance, and steel engineering while employing hundreds of people in Western New York, Chicago, and Pittsburgh.  Bill sold his interests in these companies in 2011 at which time he retired. 

Bill WaytenaToday, Bill and his wife, Louise, are philanthropists who donate generously to numerous charitable causes, mostly anonymously. During his life, Bill has been a dynamic and pioneering captain of industry and his life exemplifies the American dream. He was born into a family in poverty and through hard work, honorable character, his entrepreneurial spirit, and incredible skill, Bill’s contributions continue to influence our lives, save us from speeding tickets, and get us up on the dance floor.  

William Waytena
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William Waytena Biography
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Chicago Sun Times

Popular Electronics

Time Magazine
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