Jim Bozzi and Steve Albert share a deep love
for each other – and their pets
By Renee DiNino / Photography by Todd Fairchild
Jim Bozzi is vice president of marketing at Live Nation Connecticut and his husband, Steve Albert, is a vice president of a high-end window manufacturing company. Their love of music, interior design, food, and pets unites them in a beautiful and strong relationship. Bozzi got his first pet at the age of five. Gypsy, a beagle, was a rescue from Bideawee, a pet welfare organization serving New York City and Long Island. “Since then, I’ve always been partial to beagles, or smaller dogs with round heads and floppy ears and big eyes,” says Bozzi.
Bozzi grew up in Williston Park, N.Y., with three siblings: twin brothers Stephen and Tommy, and sister Dina. His entire family was and still is passionate about pets. In fact, you could say he and his siblings were raised amongst a variety of lovable creatures. “From rabbits, dogs, hamsters, did we mention rabbits, a parakeet and, if space allowed, they would’ve had a horse,” Bozzi recalls. “In fact, my mother probably would’ve let the horse stay in the house if there were room! Oh God, did I mention rabbits?” Bozzi credits his brother Stephen with creating a healthy, respectful environment for animal care and advocacy.
Throughout adulthood and his career, Bozzi has surrounded himself with family members’ and coworkers’ pets and sought out pet-friendly environments. Another passion for Bozzi is music. His love affair with music actually precedes his love for dogs. Growing up with variety shows on TV, Casey Kasem’s Top 40 on radio and Billboard magazine, he knew at a young age that a career in the music and entertainment industry was his destiny. His father, Steve Bozzi, introduced the arts to him at a young age. “I remember my father as having a beautiful tenor voice and music was always played in the house, from Sinatra to Diana Ross to all the Italian classics,” says Bozzi.
Inspired by family acts of the 1970s – The Partridge Family, The Jackson 5, The Osmonds, The Carpenters, and The DeFranco Family – he and his brothers formed a band called “The Bozzi Brothers” that would entertain not only the family but the neighborhood. “Every Friday night, we would hold ‘Hootenannies with the Bozzi Brothers’ in our garage,” he recalls. “This was a big deal. Flyers would go out, picnic benches would be set up, and the parents knew where their kids were. My mom, Anna, would even have us play at Tupperware parties.” The first concert Bozzi himself attended was The Osmond Brothers in 1972.
In 1984, Bozzi’s first job in his current profession was at the legendary New Haven Coliseum as group sales director, which led him to become its marketing director. He later came to the Toyota Oakdale Theatre as its marketing director and he’s been there ever since, through many changes as a family-operated business to its current status as a part of the Live Nation family. Live Nation Connecticut, where he is vice president of marketing, includes the Xfinity Theatre in Hartford and Live Nation-promoted shows at the XL Center, Webster Bank Arena, and Mohegan Sun Arena.
He met Steve Albert on Oct. 4, 1997 through friends. Albert and Bozzi definitely come from two very different career paths, but their love for one another and their love of their dogs unites them passionately. Albert is vice president of sales at Tischler und Sohn USA, a manufacturer of custom mahogany windows and doors. After their first meeting, Albert had to leave for a business trip to Germany for two months. During that time, they had no contact. Upon his return, they decided to go on a special date to see one of Albert’s favorite artists, Lisa Stansfield. Bozzi remembers in great detail: “He was wearing a glen plaid suit with a red tie, and I never felt so out of my league.” Albert’s first impression? “His (Bozzi’s) charm and magnetic sense of humor sealed the deal and kept me interested in having another date.”
Like Bozzi’s, Albert’s upbringing included a love and respect for pets. He remembers his first pet fondly. “A mixed border collie named Toby, she was found by my older brother but soon became my shadow and taught me unconditional love,” says Albert. Albert and two older siblings, brother Tom and sister Judy, lived with parents Carolyn and Bob in Youngstown, Ohio. Albert remained there until he found an opportunity in Connecticut after college. Bozzi and Albert enjoy the love and support not only from their families but from their respective employers as a loving married couple.
“We’re very fortunate to have a fulfilling life,” says Albert. Adds Bozzi: “We’ve worked hard for all we have, living our lives as a productive and loving married couple. We’re proud of who we are, what we’ve accomplished in our life together.”
The couple united households in December 1998 and have been together for 21 years. Their first pet together was Henry, a soft-coated wheaten terrier-cocker spaniel mix, a gift to Albert from Bozzi.
“Henry completely changed our lives and became a loving member of our family. He was our precious little boy,” says Bozzi. Henry became the talk of the neighborhood going on walks and he also had a fan club at their home on Fire Island. He was lost too soon at the age of 9 after a battle with kidney cancer. Henry continues to leave his mark, as many of the couple’s friends now have wheaton terriers. Still pained by his passing, Bozzi and Albert still cannot talk in too much detail about Henry. Mabel came into their lives Christmas 2008, two months after Henry’s passing devastated the household. Something was missing and Mabel filled the void. They came across Mabel, a white cocker spaniel with a caramel-colored patch on her right eye, and she immediately “stole our hearts,” Albert and Bozzi say in unison. You’ll often find Mabel riding the ferry to Fire Island, chasing after her beloved “babies” in the yard and she even has her own Instagram account @Mabel_thespoiledspaniel.
The two say they can’t imagine life without Mabel; she’s part of the family. Luckily, Live Nation is a dog-friendly company and many of the employees bring their dogs to work with them. On any given day, you may be greeted by up to four dogs at the office! They say there is no better way to start or end their days than with Mabel. Bozzi and Albert were married on Oct. 12, 2013 in a private ceremony surrounded by close family and friends at The Study at Yale in New Haven. They enjoy the company of their family and friends, and people just want to be around them. They exude positivity, happiness and most, if not all, who know them will tell you, they make you laugh. They make each other laugh, and what ties them together? Their love of Mabel, good food, and great music.
Next time you find yourself on the ferry to Fire Island or at a show in Connecticut, look out for Mabel.
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