Peter Abitante '90: NCE Outstanding Alumnus

Peter Abitante '90 was named a 2016 NCE Outstanding Alumnus.

Like many undergraduate students, Peter Abitante found himself in a position that required him to seek out a job and continue his education on a part-time basis. Before transferring to NJIT, he attended Lehigh University for several years. He obtained a position at White Consolidated Industries as a technician in its Advanced Development Lab, where he designed air handling and refrigeration systems for room air conditioners; subsequently, he was promoted to a nondegreed process engineer on their production line. Through the aid of the company’s tuition assistance program, he continued his education at NJIT and graduated with a B.S. in industrial engineering from Newark College of Engineering (NCE) in 1990.

Abitante, who will be recognized at the 2016 NCE Salute to Engineering Excellence for his achievements since graduation, said, “I am flattered to be identified for the honor and honestly proud to be an alumnus of NCE.”

“I always desired pursuing an engineering career and my path through my undergraduate study required me to get a job to continue it,” he says. “NJIT allowed the quality education I wanted but also the flexibility I needed to complete my undergraduate degree. “

Later that year, Abitante accepted a position as a quality engineer at Howmedica, which was a manufacturer of orthopaedic implants responsible for total knee systems. Again, with the assistance of the company’s tuition assistance program, he continued his education at Stevens Institute of Technology and received an M.S. in engineering management in 1996.

In 1993, Abitante joined Osteonics Corp. (a division of Stryker which later acquired Howmedica) as a senior design engineer, where he again worked on total knee systems. This position was then followed by a series of roles of increasing responsibility in Product Development and Marketing for total knee and total hip product lines. His focus narrowed to an R&D role in 2004 as the organizational structure changed, ending with his current role as vice president of Implant Product Development. In this role, he is responsible for the development of Stryker’s hip and knee implants and instruments. 

Abitante credits NCE with playing an important role in his professional development and career trajectory.

“Not only did the course work provide the needed foundation for an engineering career, but working and attending school at the same time demands that you learn to manage multiple tasks,” he says. “I can say that the experience there was a large part of my maturing and ultimately my resulting success.”

His message for students planning to pursue any discipline in engineering is to “look very seriously into the internship programs offered by their school.”

“It is very difficult for young adults without having worked or having exposure to the different career options to truly know which path to take,” he explains. “For me, it ended up being design engineering in the medical device industry, which is outside of the discipline I studied as an undergraduate. Luckily, a sound engineering foundation allows for these types of career decisions along the way.”

By Christina Crovetto