As a first-generation Italian-American, Paul Alzapiedi learned an important lesson from his father, who worked his way up from a waiter in the Bronx to the owner of an insurance agency: Invest, and save your money. The 38-year-old, who grew up in northern Rockland County, New York, has made a living doing just that. Alzapiedi kicked off his career in the mail room of Gabelli Asset Management Co., the Rye, New York–based firm founded by famed stock picker Mario Gabelli. While interning during high school and college summers, he got a taste of various departments at $47 billion GAMCO Investors; upon graduating in 1998 from Roger Williams University’s Mario J. Gabelli School of Business, where he majored in business management and minored in finance, he joined the trading desk full time. Alzapiedi rose to vice president of trading before moving to Silver Point Capital, a distressed debt–focused outfit based in Greenwich, Connecticut, in 2005. There he seized the opportunity to learn from one of the best distressed funds in the market and to have an up-close view of the fundamentals and technicals of a particular situation. As a trader at $8 billion Silver Point, Alzapiedi works with three others responsible for trading across the capital structure. At RWU he played on the soccer team, where he broke several school records, including career goals, and was named male athlete of the year as a senior.