Henry A. Panasci

The Panasci Business Plan Competition is made possible through a gift from the late Henry A. Panasci, Jr., founder of Fay's Drugs and former chairman of Cygnus Management Group, a venture capital and management consulting firm in Syracuse, N.Y.

Panasci's entrepreneurial spirit dates back to his youth, when, at the age of seven, he started helping out in the family drugstore in Rome, N.Y. After earning two undergraduate degrees from the University of Buffalo, he went to work for his uncle in the family drugstore, Carl's Drugs. Three years later, Panasci became sales manager at Brown-Jones Company. Returning to Central New York in 1958, he co-founded Fay's Drugs with his father.

Eventually, Panasci built a retail drug store chain which grew to more than 250 stores in four states. Fay's also operated Wheels Discount Auto, Paper Cutter stationery, and office supply chains. By 1996, Fay's Incorporated, then a publicly traded company, had revenues of more than $1 billion and about 9,000 employees. The company was sold to a national retail chain, and Panasci left to start Cygnus Management Group.