Frank Vicino knew all too well how hard it was hanging drywall.
Vicino was accustomed to helping on Saturdays while he was in high school as well as during the hot South Florida summers when he was a teenager and later a college student at Florida State.
“I’m the first member of my family to go to college,” Vicinio said. “I was always around drywall. That was my motivation to go to college. I didn’t want to do that kind of work. That was my motivation at first. But I worked every summer and I would go back to Tallahassee with a couple dollars in my pocket and that helped to pay me through school.”
Vicino left FSU in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in Finance and set out to go into banking. But after two years as a corporate lending officer, Vicino knew he was seeking something more fulfilling.
And it was a funny thing about the drywall business. The mud was thick and it was in the blood. Vicino was drawn to work with his dad, Frank Vicino Sr. He was also drawn to using his financial expertise and shape the business side of the company, F. Vicino Drywall.
“I was a businessman that decided to go into drywall,” Vicino said. “I wasn’t a drywall guy that decided to go into business. That was a big advantage for me.”
Frank Sr. began the foundation for the company but it started to take off as a father-son business. Their ideas and goals lined up. Father let son run with his ideas. The business, located in Deerfield Beach, Fla., grew by 25 times and to date the company has helped build more than 40,000 homes in South Florida and handled commercial business in South Florida and Central Florida.
“We’ve really worked well together,” Vicino said. “It’s fairly rare that father and son can really get along and really grow something. I’ve seen a lot of other people just blow up because their father wouldn’t really give them any leeway. He let me go.”
Vicino and his wife, Anne, have opened up their hearts and home, adopting a son from the Ukraine, Andrew, who is now 11, adding to a family that includes daughters Shelby and Hannah, both of whom are studying at Colorado State.
The Vicinos have also given back to Florida State, providing two scholarships at the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship. They also did an Unconquered Scholarship for foster kids who are in college, helping with their expenses outside of school.
And the Vicinos have made a pair of $50,000 contributions toward the Seminole Boosters toward football scholarships.
“Frank is a great businessman and a great ‘Nole,” said Javi Garcia-Tunon, the boosters’ associate director of development. “He is dedicated to sharing his success with others to help them achieve success of their own. As a former scholarship-athlete, it excites me to see a ‘Nole alum so passionate about providing opportunities for others. I want to thank him on behalf of all the athletes that will benefit from his generosity for years to come.”
Vicino is an avid FSU football fan, holding season tickets for more than three decades. He recalls many of the great FSU games he’s seen in person, from the Seminoles’ road trip to Michigan in 1991 to a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup of FSU at Notre Dame in 1993 to the Choke at Doak in 1994.
While looking forward to the return of college athletics, Vicino has kept up with FSU’s teams and listened to podcasts. His love of FSU and the athletics programs is clear and was the reason for the philanthropy.
“I have a tremendous appreciation for the university, what it has done for me, the difference it has made in my life,” Vicino said. “Education is the way up for anybody. Once we started to do well and had some money to put toward something, education was the vehicle that we chose to use to help others. I wanted to give back.”
The donations are a thank you to FSU, a university he thinks about often even as the family has now moved out to Evergreen, Colo., which is southwest of Denver. (Vicino still runs the drywall business from long distance.)
His desire is that a new generation of FSU students will not just appreciate the scholarship but also see doors in the business world open for them.
“It has been cool to get the letters from the recipients,” Vicino said. “I’m just really looking forward to seeing what these young people can do. That’s what excites you – to give people a chance. And they’re all impressive, hard-working young folks. That’s the gratification, to see them be able to do well. Hopefully they will pass it on and do the same when they have success.”