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Alumnus Story: Steven DelGrosso, BSIE ’78, MS ’95

Current City:      Raleigh, NC

Major/Class:      BSIE ’78; MS – Management of Technology ’95

What did you do in the year immediately after graduating?
After working for a short period of time in a lumberyard to make ends meet, I was hired by my first-choice employer, IBM, and began work as an Industrial Engineer (IE) at the IBM plant in Boca Raton, Florida. It was an exciting first position as an automation engineer working with robotic assembly equipment and automated test gear. During a more than 30-year career at Big Blue, I eventually worked my way into my dream job as director of IBM’s Global Project Management Center of Excellence.

What do you do for a living now? What does a typical workweek look like for you?
I currently split my time between teaching project management at Duke University and North Carolina State University, plus some part-time governance/risk/compliance system software consulting. Teaching requires classroom time, while my consulting work is done with virtual teams, sometimes requiring travel to some interesting locations.

What got you interested in a career in engineering?
My uncle was an engineer, the first ‘professional’ in our family tree, and he and my dad had quite an influence on both my brother and me, encouraging us both to become engineers. From my youngest days I was always interested in road and bridge construction, so my first choice was actually civil engineering. However, when it came time to decide on a major area of study, IE just seemed like the right fit for my skill set.

Describe your most memorable moment as a student at the College of Engineering (CoE).
Two come to mind. First, winning the College of Engineering paper airplane design and flight competition (longest duration flight and farthest distance), and our establishment of the inaugural Alpha Pi Mu chapter at Miami, including my participation in the related national conference and induction of the chapter.

What advice would you give to younger alumni or current students who aspire to follow a similar career path?
Seek out companies that align with your personal interests and ethics. While multiple opportunities may come your way, it’s best to be patient and wait for a position at a firm you have deep interest in pursuing. Once you have established a direction, take the long view and ensure each new position builds your skill set up toward your final career destination.

In what ways did your CoE experience have an impact on your career and who you are today?
I was lucky to have classmates from many different countries, and it was the first time I was exposed to so many cultures and different ideas about work. This impacted my in-flight career decisions as I tried to make opportunities for myself to work in different countries and with people of many different backgrounds. This eventually provided me with unique experiences that helped my career at IBM and positioned me for my involvement in leadership positions at the Project Management Institute.

How would you describe the College of Engineering in seven words or less?
A place for individual growth, unbounded opportunity.

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