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  If there’s one thing that I’ve learned since I entered NJIT, it’s that it’s okay to change your mind about your career.  I started at NJIT as a Chem Engineer.  Now I have a computer consulting and software development company specializing in database and web computing.   The Chem Eng Co-op program helped me to find exactly what I wanted to do.  The Co-op Director decided that I might be a good fit for Exxon, now ExxonMobil, and signed me up for an interview.  Exxon hadn’t even been on the original list of companies that would accept co-op students.    During my co-op, I worked as a contact engineer on the refinery units.  I began my full-time career in Exxon Chemicals technical computing area where Chemical Engineering and Computer Science merge. My Exxon career lasted for 8 years.  After receiving my Masters in Computer Science from NJIT in 1988, I started Hendela System Consultants. Now aside from raising a family and running a business, I am working on my PhD in Information systems.  It’s been quite a career.
Get the basics from an undergraduate degree.  Your degree is more about problem solving and analysis skills than Reynolds numbers and Material Balances. Build computer skills.  The ability to understand a discipline aside from computers puts you well ahead of a pure computer scientist.  Chemical Engineers are well regarded throughout industry.  Learn how to sell and market yourself.  I found the Dale Carnegie class invaluable. Not all bosses are created equal.  Some are good and some aren’t.  There’s a reason why Dilbert is so popular.  You can learn from all of them.
Social activities build a strong network
Being a Daddy is the best job I have.  Make time for family.
 It was interesting watching acetone clean glassware before it was declared a carcinogen.   I had very good teachers at Lyndhurst High School who steered my choice of career programs.  A high score in a national test suggested that I might be able to handle Chemical Engineering.  I liked computers but didn’t want to spend my life waiting for punch card decks to be returned.  There were no PCs when I started my undergraduate studies.  The computer scientists all had scruffy beards and florescent white skin from staying indoors too much.  Their diet consisted of pizza and coke.  A Chem Eng’s diet consisted of pizza and beer.   My brother told me about his fraternity brother’s Chem Eng job offers.  My brother’s EE offer wasn’t as good.   My brother doesn’t do EE anymore, either.
NJIT has a great reputation in Chem Eng and still has very good facilities.  I knew I wouldn’t do as well if I lived away from home.  The only other school I applied for was Rutgers Engineering in New Brunswick.  My entrepreneurial tendencies started early.  I started a door to door sales business during my junior year of HS.  I liked the money and didn’t want to lose my customers during the school year. Family history. I also had an uncle and three brothers-in-law graduate from here.   My father had a very good business mind.  He was willing to pay so much for my education and not endanger his retirement.  I also didn’t want to be paying off a school debt.  Debt is bad.
 It is important to learn how to use the computer to solve problems.  Computers held my interest.  Chem Eng had the right mix of math, science, and analytical skills. I liked the unit ops lab.  My engineering, science, and math teachers were mostly mostly nice people.  There were some interesting characters in my class which created memories for a lifetime.  The campus parties were second to none.  It was so important not only to find out what I liked, but also what I didn’t like.  That makes the co-op program the best part of my education.
 The MEK manufacturing circuit needed to be shut down because of coking.  I helped to identify that is was polymerized Isobutylene that cause the problem. My boss used a fish eye in acid to show the value of eye protection around sulfuric acid.  An eye rinse is way too late to save your eye once acid touches it.  Wear your goggles.  The January 1979 explosion at the Bayway refinery taught me first hand about safety.  It’s impressive to see a 15 ton heat exchanger a 100 yards from where it was installed and to see pipe racks look like a plate of spaghetti.  My bosses said they liked outgoing people yet wanted me to be “less enthusiastic” and to “not smile too much”.  Performance reviews are like humanities classes. You have to take them, but you don’t know why.
 Steam heats just about everything in a refinery and I had to count the molecules.  It was an interesting assignment for about a week.  The technical computing contact, named Dan Walker (also an NJIT Chem Eng grad), showed me how to do my material balance on the computer.  I was hooked.
 The computer control center looked like mission control. 
  The computer saved 2 days a week of time for more interesting work   Word spread quickly that I didn’t mind staying after work to program material balances.  I saved other people time.  I also received an offer to write programs during my senior year.   I learned about a department that used chemical engineers for programming.  I applied for the job.
 My first assignments were to build a project tracking and estimation system and a program to predict the physical properties of polymer blends.  I always kept to deadlines in school.  I didn’t think I should stop at work.  I learned that on-time, high quality work doesn’t always put you at the head of the class.   One of the best pieces of advice that I received from a boss was to not get trapped into a company’s proprietary technology.  Learning different systems might come in handy and make a better consultant.  Central engineering billed me to other parts of the organization at $70/hour.  I was paid about $15.00/hour.  I began to wonder where the other $55/hour went.  I tried to get a job in computing but companies said I didn’t have enough experience and no degree in computing.  I started to plan my masters.
 Learned about finding problems in 200,000 line FORTRAN programs with work specifications as clear as “There’s a bug in the program, Art, but we don’t know what it is”.  Softball gave me a chance to get to know my fellow employees.  Many of these people went to work in other organizations and became the contact point into future business opportunities.  Business opportunities can come from your peers, bosses, or clients.  Started a help desk activity at a research center.  I learned PC Hardware, Software, and different mainframe environments.  I developed a four year plan to earn a second degree in a new field.  Dr. Bart helped me decide on a computer science masters instead of an MBA.
 Hendela System Consultants, Inc. was born.
I am well into my PhD in Information Systems also at NJIT.  I passed my qualifying exam in June 2003.  It is difficult to balance work school and family.
 Consulting uses all of the skills of a big business in one convenient package - yourself!  You must determine what skills people will buy, how to advertise your services, write convincing proposals, negotiate and close a contract, do the accounting, and perform the work.   I have done everything from installing accounting systems to developing global information databases.   A customer provides the work for which you are paid.  A boss provides the work while trying to keep you from getting paid.  Two percent raises were not my idea of getting ahead when inflation was higher than two percent.  If you are not good at the marketing and sales piece, you can sign up with a contract house.  A contract house places you on consulting assignments.  A fee is taken from your billing rate for finding you the work.
 Never throw away a person’s business card without entering the information into a database.  You never know when you will need their skills and vice versa.  My earlier business contacts became the start of my new business.  Build a network from a variety of business and social contacts.
 A short assignment can lead to a long assignment.
 My third baseman from the Exxon softball league went on to become my first large business client.  From there I received referrals throughout the organization.  My Senior year Chemical Engineering lab partner’s sister married someone in my Scandinavian social club.  The husband became my second big client.  A friend from my Swedish class referred me to my third.
u The 440 rule:  The first 4 seconds determines 40% of a person’s opinion of you.  Be a nice person.  They don’t finish last. 
uAccounting’s E=L+OE is similar to IN = OUT + Accumulation (no generation).  The more you know, the less you have to rely on outside help.  The more you know, the better you can evaluate the advice you receive.
u The Dale Carnegie class taught me many aspects of how to make a presentation.  The most successful managers are those that can present their ideas clearly and convincingly.
u  You never know who will be your boss, client, or friend.  The relationships you build now can last a lifetime.  Keep in touch.
 You never know when a piece of information will come in handy.  Competence along with a network of people who know you and like you will lead to success.  Don’t be afraid to come back to NJIT and ask advice of your old teachers.  If they don’t know the answer, they probably know someone who does.  Take the time to get to know a variety of people in lots of disciplines, not just engineering.  Have fun while you’re doing so.  Life shouldn’t be just work.  Be balanced.   Be careful what you say to people even outside of the workplace.  Some people are bent on making themselves look good by making you look bad.   Just because you spent four years getting one type of degree doesn’t mean you can’t get a different one later.  
 Built a records management system and FDA Training system for major Union County Pharmaceutical Company, Safety tracking system for a Petrochemical company, and a variety of sales, marketing, and budget systems for a major international bank. Some places that SCANALYZER software is being used include the pharmaceutical, aerospace,  banking/financial services, retail food, and consulting industries.  State governments such as NY, MN, and PA also are using SCANALYZER.  SCANALYZER was born from a real Year 2000 projects.  Now that the Year 2000 crisis is over, SCANAALYZER is used to help software maintenance analysis.