Recent Alum Returns to Hire NJIT Students

Diego De Veyga, a 2009 graduate, works as a staff design engineer for Schiavone Construction company, a major construction firm that loves to hire NJIT grads.

After he finished high school in Argentina, Diego De Veyga's family moved to America and settled in Teaneck, N.J. He enrolled in Bergen Community College, where he majored in Engineering Science. He graduated with a near perfect grade-point average and transferred into the Albert Dorman Honors College at NJIT.

Diego excelled in his major, civil engineering, and after his junior year worked as summer intern for Schiavone Construction Company, one of the metropolitan area’s foremost construction companies. He performed so well on that internship that Schiavone hired him for two subsequent internships. He also worked at the company part-time during his senior year and took evening classes to finish his degree.  After he graduated from NJIT in 2009 as school's top civil engineering student, Schiavone hired him full time to work as a staff design engineer.

Schiavone is so happy with Diego’s work that the company recently sent him to NJIT’s Career Fair to recruit more students.  In this interview, Diego talks about his studies, his job and Schiavone’s strong ties to NJIT.

Why does Schiavone hire NJIT students?

We recruit at NJIT since, in my opinion, NJIT grads prove time after time their worth when they are hired. When we hire a student from NJIT we know we are not only hiring an engineer but a well-rounded individual. Many of our senior managers are NJIT alumni and are aware of the type of education the university offers. Schiavone also is long-time sponsor of the NJIT Steel Bridge Team, which every year places first in the regional steel bridge building competition.

Why did your company send you to recruit NJIT students?

My company sends me to NJIT since I can best relate to the students because of my alumni connection. I can talk to them with ease and familiarly about the classes, the professors and the culture of the Engineering Department.  I understand their perspectives about what they like and don’t like about engineering. It is through these personal conversations that I can determine if the students would be a good fit for Schiavone. I can also describe my experiences with Schiavone, allowing students to assess if we are a good fit for them, and if we are what they are looking for in their first career role.

What kinds of students (majors) did you interview and for what kind of jobs?

Our focus is on Civil Engineering students. We look to hire Civil Engineers to fit the needs of our Engineering Group including engineers for design work, field work, scheduling and estimating.

Talk about the internships you worked at Schiavone.

My first internship was in 2007 with Schiavone was through the Construction Industry Advancement Program of New Jersey. By the time I graduated in 2009, I already had three internships with Schiavone (two summer internships and working during my senior year). I have been a part of the Schiavone family for almost five years.

What is your job, or your main responsibilities?  

My title is Staff Design Engineer. I’ve worked on projects such as tunnels, ventilation plants, water treatment plants, subway extensions, train stations and shaft rehabilitations. For those projects I design steel structures and work on reinforced and non-reinforced concrete structures. I also work on supports of excavations, deep foundations and timber design. I work mostly in our main office, but I sometimes do site visits since it’s hard to design something without evaluating the area. There are also opportunities to be assigned to a field position as new projects come along. Schiavone attempts to find the right fit for its employees since this creates the best atmosphere to be productive.

What other duties do you have?

Another part of my job is helping our estimating department. At Schiavone, we bid different types of projects, so we must come up with innovative construction methods and procedures to provide the owner the most cost-effective results. The majority of our estimators are engineers, too, and they are proof of how amazing engineering is and how a job may be seen in 15 different ways. I also enjoy working in the general construction operations such as determining the right crane to lift something or the quickest method of delivering a project at the best cost.

Seems like you love your job -- do you?

I’m thinking now of the famous quote from Mark Twain: Chose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. I know it’s a cliché but if you love what you do, not only you will be happy going to work but you will most likely excel at your job.  Work environment is also very important to me and I have been blessed to be surrounded by people I don’t call peers or bosses, but friends. We spend more time with each other than we do with our families, so naturally we have our disagreements but they are always in good spirit.

Do you stay in touch with your NJIT professors?

Yes, and not only are they friends but also a great source of knowledge and unconditional help to me. They were there when I had my first internship providing support and encouragement.  They were also there when I received my diploma and my formal offer of employment. I would not be who I am without them. It is a very important for me to return to NJIT and I’m especially happy and grateful when I say hello to my former professors.

So you found the perfect job at the perfect company.

I did and I’m very grateful to Schiavone for the opportunities and the responsibilities I have been given.  I still have much to learn and I know that the knowledge I gained at NJIT is now being applied in real-life scenarios and projects. I have also met many NJIT alumni and I have come to realize that the engineering community has great respect for NJIT-trained engineers.

(By Robert Florida)