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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
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.
skills. The ability to understand a
discipline aside from computers puts you
well ahead of a pure computer scientist. Chemical Engineers are well regarded
•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.
activities build a strong network
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
• My engineering, science, and math
teachers were mostly mostly nice
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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.
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
• 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
• 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
• 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.