Alum Joe Amendolara Shares His Path to Success at Dean’s Roundtable

“Passion, perseverance, and problem-solving. These are the words that I live by,” Joseph Amendolara (‘72), president of Electrotech Service Equipment Corporation, shared with the students gathered for the latest Dean’s Roundtable event, hosted by Dean Katepalli Sreenivasan. Given Amendolara’s unique career path, it is no wonder that these “three P’s,” as he calls them, have guided him towards success, as he has built one of the top companies within the niche industry of electric switchboard manufacturing.

While Amendolara always wanted to attend what was then commonly known as Poly, the mechanical engineering major also knew he wanted to combine his engineering expertise with his exceptional people skills. Recalling how he missed an on-campus interview sign-up with a company seeking a technical salesperson, Amendolara knew he had to stand out. “I arrived in my suit. They always provided recruiters with lunch, so I went to where the recruiter was eating and said, ‘I’m your 12 o’clock.’ The recruiter stated he didn’t have an appointment, but I said, ‘Now you do, sir. Please keep eating your lunch, but let me tell you about myself,” Amendolara said to a bevy of laughter. “Fifteen people interviewed that day, and only one person got the position. I was one of seven graduating mechanical engineering students — out of 45 — who graduated with a job.”

Amendolara began his career at Square D, an electrical equipment manufacturer, as a sales engineer. In 1977, he joined Siemens as an industrial market manager and traveled across the U.S. recruiting new talent at universities. While he was later promoted to construction market manager, Amendolara knew after 10 years with Siemens that he wanted to run his own business. After purchasing Electrotech with his savings, Amendolara was able to turn the smallest company into what is now the largest, financially successful company within the industry. Electrotech has worked on projects across the New York boroughs, including buildings at NYU Tandon, the World Trade Center, Hudson Yards, and the Jet Blue airline terminal, and recently Amendolara transformed Electrotech into an employee-owned company, also known as an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).

Amendolara offered sound advice to the students as they embark on their future engineering careers:

  • Growth comes from the people you surround yourself with: “I have the greatest people working in the industry working with me, and I couldn’t be here today without them.”
  • Absorb all you learn at NYU Tandon, and apply it towards your career: “You have to be like sponges — you have to listen and absorb, and be passionate. It was here [at Poly] where I learned to think analytically and solve people’s problems.”
  • Learn from failure: “You have to fail to succeed,” Amendolara asserted. Dean Sreenivasan agreed with Amendolara, but noted success comes “as long as you learn from your failures.”
  • Don’t quit on your dreams: “When you decide to go out on your own, you make the decision and you don’t look back. You don’t quit, and you persevere. You keep moving forward.”

Camila Ryder
Graduate School of Arts and Science
Master of Arts in English Literature, Class of 2018