Tom Hutton ‘83 is the Chief Executive Officer of Gamma Aerospace. He is the former CEO of Cadence Aerospace and PAS Technologies, and spent 27 years at Pratt & Whitney.
He wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted to do when he graduated from Xavier, he told the juniors gathered Thursday evening night at Career Night. What he knew about himself was this: he was good at a lot of things. As he said, he was a good athlete, not great; a good student, not great.
“I tended to do a number of things pretty well so that led to general management, and I really enjoyed it,” Hutton said about finding his niche. “A suggestion is to be introspective, to ask yourself what makes you tick.”
Dr. Michael Spada ’97, a Middlesex Health Primary Care physician, also had a suggestion for those listening to him.
Dr. Spada recalled being a National Honor Society member at Xavier, which includes service work. He volunteered at Middlesex Hospital.
“Volunteer somewhere,” he suggested to those interested in the health field. “You’re going to be seeing patients, interacting with patients, you’re going to be seeing blood, so you need to know if you can handle that. The jobs are endless, no matter what field of Health Sciences you go into. It is a great field, but you want to go into it knowing you’re going to like it.”
Each junior chose three of the 10 professions represented, attending 20-minute sessions. Most of the alumni presenters were in the building, but some were virtual, including Karl Van Bibber ’68, all the way from California. He is a professor of nuclear engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. After the sessions, there was a networking opportunity in the gym.
Derek Puorro ’91, a longtime member of the Middletown Police Department, talked to the students about what it takes to become a police officer. There are physical tests, written exams, interviews. Basically you are grilled pretty good. So Sergeant Puorro reminds the students not to do something foolish as a teenager that might come back to haunt them if they want to get into law enforcement.
A student then asks what is an important high school subject for someone seeking to become an officer. It’s not the one that might be top of mind.
“English,” Puorro said. “You are going to have to write a lot of reports.”
You’ll need to be able to work your way around a keyboard and to comprehensively and cohesively present the facts.
A few rooms over Vincent Cervoni ’86 and Troy DeLeon ’12 are presenting on what it is like to be a lawyer. They have vastly different jobs. Cervoni is a veteran lawyer who has his own practice, and handles a number of areas of the law. DeLeon works for Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP with a concentration on large financial transactions. He graduated from Quinnipiac Law School in 2020.
“No one expects me to be an expert my first year out of law school, but If I work hard and show people I care and they can trust me, then I am well on my to doing well,” DeLeon said. “I’m going to learn the legal part of it … but half of it is being able to deal with people effectively, and if you can do that you’ll be pretty good early on.”
“That is the incredible commonality to being a lawyer, no matter what area you practice in,” Cervoni said. “One thing I want to note is that there is a generational difference in doing what we do. Older lawyers than me, many of them really try to do everything; they would take someone who walked in their door and try to figure out their need. As the law has evolved, it has become more and more complex, so I limit myself to five or six areas, but what is becoming more common is the specialist, the lawyer who does one thing.”