There’s local and then there’s Greg Aidala. As soon as you speak with him, you hear it. Passion. Mr. Aidala is a Class of 1992 South Colonie graduate and a prominent figure in the Albany community. You may know him from his entertainment business, regional activism, stand-up comedy, philanthropy, small business acumen, Certified Life Coaching business, his CCHS ‘Knock, Knock. Who’s There?’ scholarship that he formed, and his recent campaign to become mayor of the City of Albany – a place he and his family have called home for over 90 years.
Mr. Aidala speaks directly and wants the best for our community – regardless of socio-economic status or employment level. As part of our Alumni Series, we have covered individuals working for General Electric and NASA, respectively. We have also encountered entrepreneurs, small business owners and attorneys all continuing to make an impact. It’s indicative of what South Colonie continues to deliver for students, past and present, to allow graduates to move forward with their pathway, while impacting others.
What did SC provide you before you entered the real world? Any courses/teachers that stand out?
South Colonie provided a safe environment to not only learn but also, the ability to speak my point of view on topics which was met with honest and supportive feedback. Two great and fun teachers come to mind immediately: Mr. Jack Hackert (6th Grade teacher at Sand Creek) and Mr. Paul Aldi (Music teacher at CCHS). Both of these men, who have unfortunately passed, encouraged dedication to both school work and music theory. They also stressed how important teamwork is in order to lift each other up for positive results.
What built your passion for helping the community? What instigated your voice?
My parents were the first two to instill perspective and proactive approaches towards giving back to our community. Growing up, I was taught that there is someone out in the world that has a more difficult life and we should do what we can to “pitch in” when we can.
Honestly, prayer instigated my voice. Whenever I’m in deep thought it always has something to do with helping others. In fact, the first three letters of my last name is AID – and part of the genesis of my surname revolves around helping. That makes me smile.
Why politics and why now? How do you plan to address issues in the community?
I started getting involved more in Albany when the first murder of 2018 happened in front of my family’s 78-year-old business, Quail Auto Sales. It was at that moment, as I noticed that these senseless acts were hitting too close to home and I wanted to use my platform and voice to shine positive light throughout the city.
I plan on addressing these issues (as I have been since 2018) with the community by having open, honest and civil discourse. I feel that true transparency is lacking in public office nowadays and it’s time to get communities back involved in an intimate way in order to have a better future for all.
What do you recommend for today’s seniors as they look to develop their pathway after South Colonie?
Give it your all with everything you attempt. If you lead with your heart and give it your best, no one can ever take that away from you. Also, take failure as a lesson to make yourself a better person. Be resilient, surround yourself with smart and positive people and be benevolent with your talents.
And lastly, make time to laugh and have fun in life. It’s good for the soul.