For Mr. Paterno, success is not defined by the amount of money you make. He considers it a privilege to be able to witness individuals in his company grow.

Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.

Area President, Risk Placement Services, Inc.

Memorable professor: Sal Primeggia absolutely left the most lasting impact on me. I had lunch with him last year. At what other school can you catch up with a professor 30 years after graduating? That’s what makes Adelphi such a special place.The University has a beautiful campus, small classes, fantastic professors…people who make a real difference in the lives of students. We have a top-notch learning institution locally, right here, in Adelphi. Being an ambassador of the University is the least I can do to make sure other people know about it.

Then and now: Adelphi is such a small school, you feel like family. It was good when I was a student. Now, it’s great.

Seeing Success

Mr. Paterno landed his first job with the help of Adelphi University’s Center for Career Development. “I guess I selected the right company, because I stayed there 18 years!” said Mr. Paterno.

He attributes his professional success at The Hartford Insurance Group (today, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.) to the education he received at Adelphi. “Every two years I moved up the ranks. My experience at Adelphi is what helped to get me there,” said Mr. Paterno, whose career with Hartford culminated in the position of operations manager of a workers compensation center.

In 1999, Mr. Paterno was recruited by another insurance company, Kemper Group.  He was working in Connecticut and received a call from Kemper, which was looking to expand and open a new office on Long Island.  They wanted someone who was familiar with the territory. “The prospect of building an operation from scratch was something that I was excited about,” he says.

Today you can find Mr. Paterno just a few miles away from Adelphi’s Garden City campus, as Area President for Risk Placement Services, Inc., a division of the international insurance brokerage firm, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

“Seeing success” is what he considers to be the most rewarding aspect of his work. And for Mr. Paterno, success is not defined by the amount of money you make. He considers it a privilege to be able to witness individuals in his company grow. “We offer summer internships, and are doing so for Adelphi students right now, that can lead to job offers for those who perform well. Nothing makes me feel better than seeing young men and women come back full time, make careers for themselves, and do well,” he said.

The broad opportunities a background in business has to offer motivated him to choose the discipline as his major. The University’s strong business program led him to Adelphi for his undergraduate years.

Mr. Paterno, who was maintaining two jobs in addition to attending classes and completing school work, found time to participate in University life. “Adelphi was such a nice tight-knit community,” he said. “The University had so much to offer its students, and we took advantage of these things. My friends and I were commuters, but we would come back to campus for activities happening at night.”

Now a seasoned veteran in the insurance industry, Mr. Paterno can still remember the job market he entered upon graduating from Adelphi. “I came out of school in a recession,” he recalled. “I was willing to interview with anyone I felt would be a business fit; from car rental companies, to a lot of banks that don’t exist anymore, to insurance companies.”

Drawing on his own experience, he has this advice to provide current students: “Open your mind and be flexible. Don’t go into something with any set notions.” But most importantly, he reminds students to find a job they will enjoy going to each day. “That’s why I’ve been successful. I can’t imagine dragging myself into work,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for so long, and I really like what I do.”

Mr. Paterno’s wife is also an alumna, and his daughter, who transferred to Adelphi in her sophomore year, graduated from the University in 2011. “My family and I love this university, now more than ever,” he said. “We are so proud to have graduated from Adelphi.”

Published March 2013

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