Many NJIT alumni go on to achieve astounding feats in different capacities. However, one particular alumni has had a very unique NJIT experience.
Leo Minervini, who graduated from NJIT in 2002, once thought he would become a mechanical engineer. Today, he is currently the Chief Information Officer and the Vice President of Business Affairs at Carlo’s Bakery, home of one of TLC’s most popular shows, Cake Boss.
Minervini graduated from high school and started at NJIT in 1996. He initially was pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering as a part time student. He worked full time as a Project Engineer at Tyco, an international company currently based in Princeton, NJ, that offers controls, fire, security, HVAC, energy storage and power solutions at various levels ranging from larger institutions to small businesses and residential homes.
“I wanted to work full time and take classes at night so I could know what it was like to be a full time engineer; it was a good schedule for me as I forged relationships during the day and met great people in my classes in the evening,” said Minervini.
One year into the program, however, Minervini’s interests had changed. While working at Tyco, along with his duties as a Project Engineer, he also had been working with computers at the company. At the time, computers were still being integrated into daily business functions. Minervini helped the company transition into using email, and he set up a computer infrastructure, adding value to Tyco’s work. His experiences at Tyco lead him to declare his major in Management Information Systems (MIS). Minervini eventually added a minor in Business Administration.
In the same year he graduated, Leo decided to leave Tyco and went on to experience his first position in a formal technology role as a Junior Network Administrator for Colamerica, a real estate agency based in Hackensack, NJ. After a year, he was promoted to the position of Information Technology Manager. “Being an IT manager really validated where I saw myself in the field,” added Minervini.
While working at Colamerica, Minervini had experienced work on the client side of projects. In 2004, he left is position as a IT Manager and became a Technical Account Manager with Trend Micro, a software company specializing in security solutions. Here, he worked with various big name vendor clients including Wells Fargo, Citibank, the House of Representatives, and the United States Department of Treasury. Having this experience with a bigger company allowed Leo to understand how technology can be used to help design solutions to protect the network.
“At this point, I really got the feel for working in business and data. It is impossible to know everything, and this is exciting but also concerning because you have to rely on the network of people around you,” says Minervini.
After Trend Micro, Leo moved onto a position with BEA Systems, where he was a Support Account Manager. He was responsible for regulating e-commerce for financial customers. BFA Systems was eventually was acquired by Oracle in 2008, and at Oracle, Minervini became a Customer Services Director for Global Customer Management. He stayed at Oracle for four years. However, despite being in a director position, the growth did not stop there.
In fact, after leaving Oracle, Leo became the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Carlo’s Bakery, home of TLC’s Cake Boss—and he’s been in the position for over five years now. “I’ve even been on one or two episodes of the show before,” admits Minervini.
In the position, Minervini is responsible for taking collected data and making meaningful decisions for the company. He is also responsible for commerce strategy and supply chain strategy.
Within the next few years, by 2018, Carlo’s Bakery is looking to double and increase its international locations—what once started as a neighborhood, family run business now will have 28 global shops in cities including Sao Paulo, Brazil, and even in locations in the Middle East.
What started as a humble pursuit for a degree and career in Mechanical Engineering landed Leo Minervini as a key leader in one of the fastest growing companies today. Students should know that not only is it okay to change career paths and to be open to other possibilities, but also the degree they may be seeking while in school may lead them to a career in a different industry.