May 15, 2013 07:41PM
● By Anonymous
So much so, that Franyo has founded several of the most anticipated events in the area, each with a significant charitable hook: Bands In The Sand for, and at, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, in June; Opening Day Rockfish Tournament at the Franyo-owned Boatyard Bar & Grill to benefit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Coastal Conservation Association, and the Annapolis Police Department Youth Fishing Camp, in April; The Boatyard Beach Bash for, and at, the Annapolis Maritime Museum, in September; and The Boatyard-C.R.A.B. Regatta at the Eastport Yacht Club to benefit the Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating, in September.
Collectively, the events have raised millions of dollars for charity. And with most philanthropic events, there is often a planning committee or board behind them. To this end, Franyo has devoted a considerable amount of behind-the-scenes guidance and support to many local organizations. In fact, he’s currently on several boards, including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Annapolis Economic Development Corporation, Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County, and the National Sailing Hall of Fame, among many others.
Time management and prioritizing commitments is a life skill that Franyo seems to have perfected. On top of his philanthropy and running the Boatyard Bar & Grill in Eastport—voted one of the best sailing bars and family friendly restaurants in the nation by Coastal Living magazine—Franyo is a devoted father to sons Alex and Finley, and daughter Liza, whom he says have taught him one of the most important life lessons of all. “Having children taught me that they were more important than anything else and their needs came first before my own.”
To this end, Franyo works tirelessly to preserve the environment and the Chesapeake way of living so that future generations can enjoy the quality of life he so passionately loves. “I spend a lot of my time and money caring for the Bay,” Franyo says, “since it’s such a vital national resource and huge economic engine. We need to preserve and protect it for our kids and grandkids.”
How is he able to accomplish so much? It all boils down to passion, determination, and smarts. And Franyo is an ace with all three.
The Bethesda native was dynamite on the links during high school—“I was a fanatic golfer and played in all the local tournaments,” he says—and equally impressive in the classroom, eventually graduating from the University of Virginia and Harvard Business School. In between degrees, Franyo served in Vietnam as a naval officer. “Standing up in front of 60 men the first day as a newly commissioned naval officer made me grow up, and Vietnam taught me to appreciate every day in life,” says Franyo with conviction.
Upon graduation from Harvard Business School, Franyo worked for Alex Brown & Sons Investment Bankers, “during which time we managed IPOs for Microsoft, Oracle, AOL, Starbucks, Sun Micro, and many other notable growth companies.” In 2002, Franyo traded his loafers for boat shoes, retiring, then built and opened his restaurant. He also became consumed in philanthropy, rekindling earlier inspiration that he received from his business partners at Alex Brown & Sons. “When I joined in the early ’70s, they were all WWII combat vets who were incredible, bigger-than-life role models. They taught us young people philanthropy and giving back.”
“Not-for-profits are vitally important and so we should do everything we can to serve and help them,” says Franyo, with his infectious smile.
On the rare occasion when Franyo is pursuing another of his passions, fishing—rockfish on the Bay, trout in Montana, or bonefish, tarpon, and permit in the Keys—he’s able to reflect on his career, life, and ambitions.
“I have found that with hard work, thoughtfulness, the right attitude, and a sense of humor there is so much opportunity in this wonderful country. I must say that with very few exceptions, I have enjoyed every day of my life immensely. Have to, can’t live them over.”
Thankfully for Annapolitans and charities alike, Franyo has channeled these attributes to better the community and resources he loves.