TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL Growing up in Brooklyn, NY, I was questioned by my Middle School academic Guidance Counsel- ors why a strong academic student would want to attend a vocational high school. My answer was simple, "I was interested in and wanted to study electrical theory and application". Driven by my passion, I sought out and enrolled at William E. Grady, a technical education high school near home. My four years there con rmed my interest in electrical knowledge and desire to work in a eld that I could apply these skills. Upon gradua- tion, I was recognized as top 10 in my class, excelling in residential/commer- cial wiring, AC & DC motor control, electrical theory and robotics.
Upon graduation, I was anxious to start my career with any rm involved in electrical applications. I got my wish but not working in the capacity I was hoping for. Little did I know that this rst job would lead me down a path to one of the most rewarding and satisfying careers I could have ever hoped for. This rst job was as
a File Clerk, working for a national vertical transportation consulting rm based in NYC. It was at this job, while ling papers that I started to see the vast opportunities within this special and unique industry. Not one to let an opportunity by, I studied elevator and escalator specs cations to learn the industry language and observed Man- agers and Sales personnel to learn the art of customer service. Proving myself by working hard, learning quickly and being a team player, I was asked by the rm's project manag- ers and engineers to assist in reading and writing speci cations, contracts, managing bid processes, oversight of modernization projects, and writing reports. I was completely immersing myself in my new job, eventually being promoted to Junior Project Manager, and loving every minute of it. The Vertical Transportation market was the place for me to grow and eventually apply my trade.
FINDING MY CAREER
"If you ever want a job, give me a call". These were words I started to hear more and more often as the months and years went by. I was ready to take my next big step and knew the one thing I wanted to do was build elevators. There was only one company that I could see myself working with and that was TEI Group, the largest full service independent vertical transportation company in the NYC metropolitan market. A company that was as large as the big 4, in this market, but operated by eleva- tor guys who knew the value of hard work, quality, safety and integrity. "This was the home for me", I thought to myself.
I picked up the phone and called Mark Gregorio, President of TEI Group. We spoke and I was quickly invited to meet. Not only did I receive an audi- ence with Mr. Gregorio, but the other owners of the rm as well, including, John Fichera, Executive VP, Moderniza- tion and Construction and Michael Staub, Executive VP, Operations. After hearing their stories and assessing their own passion for their company and industry, I felt this could be a great match. Hired by TEI Group as an elevator Helper I found my early introduction to be with a family of professionals that provided mentor- ship and an environment to thrive.
Starting with the company in an entry level position, I spent countless hours participating in mandatory safety and hands-on training by TEI Group Field Managers and Technicians and weekly night classes provided by NEIEP my I.U.E.C Local One apprenticeship program. I was being given the skills and knowledge to safely and pro - ciently work on elevators and become a skilled tradesman.
Over 10 years with TEI Group, I was promoted from Helper to Mechanic to Foreman. I remember my rst "big" project as a Foremen for TEI Group. The scope of work included the modernization of 13 elevators and the installation of one new Hydraulic Elevator.
Funny how one day you're sweeping pits, cleaning tools and being mentored and next thing you know you're managing a $6M project in a 27 story building in the heart of NYC. I remember walking this job with my Supervisor going over the scope of work. He said, "listen if you need help..". I stopped him right there and said "Just so you know I don't need my hand held. I'll take good care of this job". He smiled and patted me on the back. "Holy smoke, what did
I just say", I thought to myself as he walked out the building. I just talked a big game and now it was time to deliver. I proceeded to my work team to go over what was expected of them and myself. I needed to deliver what I promised. 14 Months later the project was completed. I may have looked cool, calm and collected at the start, but I was sweating the entire job as I knew this was my time to prove myself and value to the company. In the end, the result was what I was trained for: On time, on budget and at the desired quality. Success!
What I learned on this rst job set the stage for all to come: As a leader, how you act and react sets the stage for your team and the entire job. Set expectations and hold yourself and others accountable. Maintain a safe work environment and treat everyone with respect while upholding integ- rity. Most importantly, the only way to complete a successful project is with your team.
Having just completed 10 years at TEI Group, I am proud to call myself an Elevator Foreman, having worked on and successfully completed quality projects in some of the most iconic buildings in the world. My stories and accomplishments are now inspiring the next generation in my family.