Michael Salapka grew up in East Paterson, now called Elmwood Park. His father served in World War II on the crew of a B-17. In 1965, Mr. Salapka graduated from East Paterson Memorial High School.
At Rutgers College, Mr. Salapka majored in economics. He worked at WRSU as a radio broadcaster. Following graduation in the Class of 1969, he attended New York University, where he received his MBA in 1974.
Mr. Salapka's career included working in the private sector at Martin Marietta and in the public sector as a supervisory agent in the Farm Credit Administration and as a project manager in the Treasury Department. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Mr. Salapka traveled overseas to former Soviet republics to assist in the development of their financial and banking systems.