Janice DiPietro ’79 isn’t happy doing a single thing — only several at a time will do.
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All Alumni Profiles
After two decades as a Fortune 500 executive, Sue Burton '89 made a leap: The funny professional turned professionally funny. A new portfolio career as a fun-trepreneur™ (her trademarked term) combines stand-up comedy and business consulting. One day may find the Massachusetts native coaching corporate types on how to separate the “im” from “possible.” The next, she’s mining laughs in the touring production “Women in Comedy.”
In 1990, Paul Grassia was a rising corporate executive with a corner office when tragedy struck: A massive stroke left the 43-year-old paralyzed on one side. Instead of conceding defeat, Grassia turned his energies to regaining basic skills and pursuing a longtime dream. Today, the alumnus known professionally as Paul G. has found success as a Neil Diamond tribute singer and author of the book A Stroke of Luck.
Arik Levy’s unique business grew from a pretty typical problem: Long hours at the office were making personal errands difficult to accomplish. Finding time to retrieve his dry cleaning was a particular chore.
“It drove me nuts,” he says. “Dry cleaners were out of the way, never open, and only took cash or check. I knew there had to be a better way.”
The Class of 1996 alumnus envisioned a service that would allow people to drop off and pick up laundry at their convenience. His entrepreneurial venture – Laundry Locker – debuted in 2005.
At business solutions powerhouse Hewlett-Packard (HP), Joseph Batista ’82 slices and dices his accounting, operations and technology know-how to create opportunities that clients might never have imagined. He calls his work understanding “business physics.”
“Every company is composed of a suite of assets, which I examine from a unique point of view focused on innovation. Then I combine services and products from HP’s rich portfolio to create new value for clients.”
An inflatable, 42-foot-tall travel companion is bound to attract some attention.
Just ask Stephanie Logan ’05, who hit the road last spring with the balloon incarnation of Po, star of DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda movies. The promotional tour was part of her work as manager of partnership marketing for Macy’s Parade and Entertainment Group, which oversees the iconic Thanksgiving Day parade.
Friendship may be its own reward, but it can roll in with some very cool perks. Just ask Roger Beit ’79. This spring, the real estate investment executive stepped in fast to help a friend – and earned his company a ride with NASCAR.
The starting line for Beit’s story is Connecticut. He grew up in Middletown and, as a high school student, took a bookkeeping course that showed he was pretty good with numbers. So when a friend recommended Bentley as a good place to study accounting, Beit was interested.
For almost 40 years, every day was Prince Spaghetti Day to Armand Giarrusso ’42. The now-classic “Wednesday is . . .” advertising slogan is part of the magic that made Lowell, Mass.-based Prince the undisputed king of pasta from the mid-1940s to the late 1980s. At the center of operations at the time was Giarrusso: CFO, board member, and corporate clerk.
“The president, Joe Pelligrino Sr., had a vision to grow the business,” says Giarrusso, a spry 89-year-old who lives in Florida. “I handled all the acquisitions, mergers and financing.”
Theresa Bresten developed a taste for challenge early on. “My parents stressed the importance of learning new things,” says the Master of Science in Finance alumna. “I was taught that I shouldn’t limit myself.”
That nourishing lesson in self-confidence has helped take Bresten to the upper reaches of corporate America, most recently, as vice president and treasurer for HP Hood LLC.
“I have the opportunity to provide leadership when it comes to making business decisions on a multitude of issues,” says the Missouri native. “And I love that no two days are the same.”
“The hallmark of accounting achievement is to become a partner in a Big 8 firm.” That proclamation, featured in Bentley marketing materials of 1969, made an impression on the young Bill Freda. After studying at Bentley and completing an internship with one of the “8,” he embraced the definition of success as his own.
Freda’s semester-long accounting internship at the Deloitte predecessor firm Touche Ross was “a wonderful experience,” he says. “I came back to Bentley and said, ‘That’s what I want to be.’”