Full circle: A mother and son have their start at SUNY Broome

Alec Grabowski and Teal Gaylord

Alec Grabowski and Teal Gaylord

Teal Gaylord and Alec Grabowski attended SUNY Broome years apart, and their career paths have taken them to different parts of country. These days, Gaylord is the human resources director for Vitro Glass, an international architectural glass company headquartered in Carlisle, Pa., while her son Alec recently returned to his hometown after years away to assume a leadership position at UHS.

They attribute their professional success to the foundation they received at their alma mater, even after they both went on to obtain two master’s degrees – Alec in Business Administration and Healthcare Administration from Georgia State University, and Teal in Technical and Professional Communication from Southern Polytechnic State University and project management from Boston University.

“Throughout my college career, the thing I always had in my mind – the quality of the education and the teachers here, I could hold up and compare it to any college I went to. It’s something I think is pretty amazing,” said Gaylord, who went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in secondary education from SUNY Cortland after attending Broome in the late 1980s.

A visit to the ALCC

Gaylord recently paid a visit to SUNY Broome’s Applied Learning & Career Center – her second recruiting visit, as it happens. Her company is looking to potentially hire more than 20 SUNY Broome students or alumni over the next few years, and hired one Hornet a month after he graduated this spring.

Vitro is looking for achievement-driven, self-motivating individuals in the STEM fields. Some will be trained as coder-operators, who learn to use the multi-million dollar machine that the glass company uses to create its products, a highly specialized skill with only 100 to 200 practitioners nationwide.

“We’d like to have a pipeline to our company,” Gaylord said.

Teal herself had been a Liberal Arts major, with a focus on Communications in the days before the current Communications program began. Campus has undergone dramatic changes since her Hornet days, but she still feels connected.

“The Alms House building is gone. It’s almost like coming to a different campus, but it’s home to me – the new and improved Broome,” she reflected.

As a mom, she encouraged Alec to start at Broome, where he majored in Business Administration before transferring to Kennesaw University for a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Georgia State for graduate school.  Currently director of digestive health and critical care for UHS, Grabowski said that he found his SUNY Broome courses challenging and a good wakeup call when he attended the college from 2008 to 2010.

“I struggled in a few classes here. One of them I had to retake at Kennesaw. What it me realize is you have to apply yourself, stay consistent, and take responsibility for your decisions,” said Grabowski. “I think Broome in some cases was more challenging than my undergrad courses when I transferred.”

It also allowed him to focus on his professional future. Like his mom, Grabowski graduated from Greene High School. Originally considering hospitality, he found instead an interest in both business and healthcare. An internship opportunity during his time at Kennesaw led him further on that path – a good lesson for students who visit the ALCC.

“Looking back, if I did not pursue an internship, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I was able to network, gain mentors, ask questions and learn on-the-job skills, which turned into a full-time Business Operations Analyst job after I graduated,” he said.

Coming home, the Binghamton of today reminds Grabowski a bit of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“It feels like the city is going through a transition period as Chattanooga did. As a young professional in the community I would like to see retention of early careerists and more job opportunities for fellow young professionals. As a healthcare administrator, having SUNY Broome nearby – and the students it trains in nursing and a variety of healthcare fields – is a boon.

“We want to be able to provide our local students with job opportunities in our community so they don’t feel pressured to have to leave to find employment,” he said.