Don Spero

In Their Own Words


1958-1961 Three Cornell University Intercollegiate Championship Eights
1961 Maccabiah – 1 gold medal
1964 Tokyo Olympics Finalist
1966 World Champion
Hall of Fame Membership: International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame; Greater Washington Jewish Sports Hall of Fame; Helms Foundation; Cornell University; New York Athletic Club

Don credits his participation in the Maccabiah Games with launching his international rowing career. He competed with hisĀ 1961 Maccabiah teammates at the 1962 World Championships, where they placed 10th. After taking up sculling, Don became a seven-time U.S. National Champion. He won the double sculls silver medal with Sy Cromwell in the 1963 European Championships. In single sculls he won a bronze medal at theĀ 1964 European Championships; finished sixth at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics; won the “Diamond Sculls” at the 1965 Henley Royal Regatta, setting a course record; and won the 1966 World Championships in Bled, Yugoslavia.

After graduating from Cornell University, where he learned to row, Don earned his PhD in Physics from Columbia University and did post-doctoral work at the University of Maryland, after which he founded Fusion Systems Corporation. Don served as President and CEO for 21 years until the company had a successful public offering. Today Fusion remains a leading global supplier of high technology manufacturing systems. He co-founded New Markets Venture Partners in 2003 and is a General Partner. Prior to New Markets, Don was the Director of the University of Maryland’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship and founder of Spero Quality Strategies (SQS), a firm that provided seed capital and mentoring for entrepreneurs and strategic consulting for corporate and non-profit clients. During his tenure at the Dingman Center, the program was ranked as one of the best entrepreneurial centers in the U.S. Throughout his career, Don has served on many corporate and non-profit boards.

Don and his wife Nancy reside in Bethesda, MD and have two children, Laura (a 2009 Maccabiah Games medalist), Ricky (Julie) and one grandchild. Don continues to row at Potomac Boat Club in Washington, DC, and his hobbies include barbershop quartet singing.


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