William Waytena Inventor, Businessman, Entrepreneur
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Bill Waytena is the rare combination of engineer, businessman, and marketer. There are not many who have the technical know-how to invent something like the radar detector and then also have the business acumen to recognize the commercial viability of something like the electronic synthesizer. Bill displayed this rare talent again in a completely disparate field. The hotel industry.

In 1962, Bill led the purchase of a hotel in the Buffalo area called the Hotel Worth. The hotel was located near the Lake Erie waterfront in what had been designated as Buffalo’s “Waterfront Urban Renewal Project,” a 290 acre redevelopment zone. It had fallen into some disrepair and was in need of new ownership to turn it around. Bill and his partners launched upon a grand plan to completely redevelop the hotel into a 9 story hotel that would occupy an entire city block and even have its own rooftop helicopter pad. The plan was a bold stroke that required land acquisition using federally available development funds. While the plan never received the necessary zoning variance, Bill and his partners were able to turn the business into a viable economic concern.

The Worth was located near train yards where there was a large amount of commercial traffic. The constant arrival and departure of trains created an influx of railroad personnel but, since layovers were short, they did not want to book rooms overnight. Yet they still needed a place to stay for a few hours. Bill, as President of Hotel Worth, implemented new pricing that permitted rooms to be booked in eight hour blocks. Not only did this effectively triple the hotel’s capacity and revenue but it also filled a market need. The plan was an immediate hit with the railroad personnel and bookings skyrocketed.

Bill had once again used his market insight to turn a marginal business into a successful one. Some have described Bill as a turnaround specialist looking to flip businesses for a profit—this sells Bill’s accomplishments short. Instead, Bill was an innovator who saw opportunity where others did not. He displayed this with the radar detector, the Hotel Worth, and, just a couple of years later, with the electronic synthesizer.  

William Waytena
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William Waytena Biography
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Chicago Sun Times

Popular Electronics

Time Magazine
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