Feb. 15, 2010
EASTON, Pa. - You never know when you're going to meet a fellow Lafayette alum.
For Carl Gambello '94, a vice president of sales at an IT integration company in New Jersey, it happened during a typical business appointment -- a meet-and-greet that helped him solidify a major job with the New York Red Bulls professional soccer team.
No, Gambello won't be kicking penalty shots or doing slide tackles. After all, the onetime American Studies major played football and baseball at Lafayette, not soccer. But his company, BlueWater Communications Group, is outfitting the new Red Bull Arena, slated to open March 20, with voice, video and data systems, as well as wireless connectivity. So, if you visit the stadium during its inaugural season this year, and download team stats while sitting in the stands, you can thank Gambello and his crew.
And you can also thank James Hancik '98, who works for project management firm Hunter Roberts Construction Group, which has overseen the arena's building process. Hancik introduced Gambello to John Amorosa '79, the Red Bulls' construction project director. It's his job to sign off on every element of the stadium, including BlueWater's work.
All of this Lafayette networking began about a year-and-a-half ago, when Gambello arranged a visit to Hunter Roberts after BlueWater scored the Red Bulls contract. Hancik was one of the people involved in the discussions about the scope of the work.
"It was a traditional meeting," Gambello says. "And then I look up on one of his shelves and see he's got the same Lafayette football helmet that I have in my house."
Then the typical conversation ensued.
"In middle of my sentence, I go, `Did you go to Lafayette?' and he says, `Yeah,' and I said, `So did I!,'" Gambello recalls. "It just changed the whole meeting. It just made it warmer, and less formal."
As it turned out, Hancik and Gambello both played football for the 'Pards, and both were Fijis. And both, they discovered, had lived in the same room in the fraternity's house. Amorosa, whom Gambello met a short time later, was a KDR and a civil engineering major, but he never played intercollegiate sports.
"I played intramurals, that's about it," says Amorosa from his office, which he describes as a 40-foot-long "container" sitting on the stadium's grounds. In fact, Red Bull Arena is his first stadium project. Previously, he worked for several construction management and engineering firms that built roads, bridges, and buildings.
Since Gambello's territory covers all of New Jersey, he spends a lot of time on the road. In fact, the new car he bought just last year already has 25,000 miles on it. So, it's not surprising that he'd meet a Lafayette alum now and again -- even if it's someone very close to home.
"I live in Westfield," he says, "and, ironically, one of my freshman year roommates from South lives across the street."
Gambello didn't say whether his former classmate played college sports, or whether he works in construction or IT. But one thing's sure: Gambello is obviously good at networking, particularly with 'Pards.