Alumni of the Month
When Ty Fuller ’00 was studying environmental resources at Hofstra, he never could have imagined the future impact he would have on millions of New Yorkers. While in high school, when Ty was asked by a teacher what he wanted to do after graduating from college, he jokingly responded that he wanted to – simultaneously – save the world and make money from saving it! He never anticipated that years later he would be working for the largest groundwater supplier in the United States. Ty is responsible for overseeing the monitoring well network and drinking water wells in Suffolk County and conducting research on groundwater quality for more than one million people.
During his time at Hofstra, Ty was active in the Geology Club and developed a passion for public speaking, which would become a valuable skill in his future career. Ty’s professors encouraged him to secure an internship with the Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA), where he learned the skills for success in his career.
After graduating from Hofstra with a Bachelor of Science in environmental resources, Ty was hired full time at the Suffolk County Water Authority as a hydrogeologist. He has become involved in various groundwater quality research projects with the United States Geological Survey and the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, and has co-authored five geologic abstracts.
Ty is currently a senior hydrogeologist at Suffolk County Water Authority and is actively involved in groundwater education and outreach programs for the local community. He has traveled extensively throughout the United States to conduct talks on cutting-edge groundwater research projects. Ty has more than 10 years of experience as a hydrogeologist, and has turned his high school dreams of success into reality.
Who was your favorite Hofstra professor, and what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
My favorite professor at Hofstra was Dr. Charles Merguerian. He has not only been a professor to me, but a mentor and friend. One of the best memories I have of Hofstra was doing research with Dr. Merguerian. We were doing research on geologic outcrops in the Bronx. The work we did eventually led to a publication and opportunity to present our findings at a conference. Dr. Merguerian recommended that I present the research, which I was apprehensive about, because of a lack of self-confidence. He insisted that I do it, and coached me on aspects of public speaking. The talk I gave was a resounding success, and it made me realize that I had a natural talent for public speaking. I have travelled throughout the United States on public speaking engagements for my career, and I can honestly say that it has been possible, in part, because of encouragement Dr. Merguerian gave me as a student.
What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
My first job after graduating from Hofstra was for the Suffolk County Water Authority, where I still work. The most valuable lesson I learned is the value of networking. Passing a test does not automatically lead to success in this world, so it is important to be active and develop relationships that will benefit you in the future.
What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
Currently I work as a senior hydro-geologist. I came to work in this industry because of recommendations from my professors at Hofstra. At the time I was an undergraduate student, job prospects in hydrogeology and environmental remediation were very promising. I also recognized that both fields had enormous growth potential.
What at Hofstra gave you your edge?
Hofstra gave me an edge in numerous ways. The information I learned, from geographic information systems to hydrogeology and sedimentation, gave me a competetive advantage in my career. The professors of the Geology Department also maintain a close relationship with alumni. The alumni would come back and share their real-world experiences with our classes, which prepared me for what to expect after graduation. Dr. J Bret Bennington was directly responsible for my current employment. He not only encouraged me to attend a networking dinner engagement, which eventually led to an interning opportunity, but also drove me to the interview when I did not have a car. That internship eventually led to me being hired as a full-time employee.
What advice would you give current Hofstra students?
My advice for current Hofstra students would be to take advantage of any networking opportunities. Employment and career growth are not only based on what you know, but who you know and how well you relate to others.
In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
What is the single most rewarding experience in your career thus far?
As part of an education and outreach program, I discussed with elementary students my career and the water cycle. The students were excited and had a lot of questions. When the discussion finished, one student came up to me and said he wanted to be like me when he grew up. I never considered myself a role model, but it was rewarding to have a positive influence on someone’s life.
Do you have a favorite quote or saying that has kept you motivated through the years?
The serenity prayer. It is something I say before every talk or big meeting. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
Scott Nicholson ’88 has been a motivator and an innovator his entire life. He is the proud author of Seeds of Achievement: The Ultimate Roadmap for Young Adults on Obtaining Success, Prosperity, and the Winning Edge in Life, which is currently available on amazon.com and the Hofstra bookstore. The book offers knowledge and strategies to achieve life and career success, prosperity, happiness, inner joy, confidence, and personal pride. Scott’s natural athleticism enabled him to excel in both baseball and football at Hofstra. After graduating from Hofstra with a B.A. in communication arts, Scott briefly pursued a career in television sports broadcasting in Washington D.C. While in the communication industry, he gained experience as a satellite coordinator for Major League Baseball, the National Football League, and the National Basketball Association.
After leaving Washington, D.C., Scott entered the family business, Bucilla Corporation, which became a top supplier of needlecraft products in the United States. Scott served as vice president until 1996, when the company was sold. He started a new company in 1997, Head Starts Enterprises, which manufactured such products as soft goods, tote bags, and backpacks. In 2001 Scott was named vice president of Gemcoware, the nation’s top supplier of glass tabletop products. In 2003 he became the chief marketing officer of Lifetime Brands’ kitchenware division. Scott’s experiences eventually inspired him to start his own company, and in 2005 Scott created Xtraordinary Home Products, which focuses its manufacturing on innovative kitchen technologies. The company’s corporate offices are located in Bohemia, New York. Scott is currently acting president and partial owner of Xtraordinary Home Products, one of the fastest growing kitchenware suppliers in the industry today. The company supplies products to major U.S. retailers such as Kmart, QVC, Avon, and Bed Bath & Beyond, to name a few. In 2008 the company developed the Perfect Brownie™ baking pan, which became a No. 1 selling baking item in the United States, and remains so today.
Scott cites his experiences and opportunities at Hofstra as being life-changing, and he encourages students to engage actively in their learning experiences and to develop their individual “winning edges” to succeed.
Q: What is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
A: My fondest memory of Hofstra is associated with my four years of athletics, as a member of the football and baseball teams. The camaraderie, passion, friendships, and excitement of playing for winning teams are unmatched.
Q: What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
A: My first job after graduating from Hofstra was in the communications industry, as a satellite coordinator for all Major League Baseball, NFL, and NBA television transmissions. As a communication arts major, the experience I gained by working with state-of-the-art television equipment, and the skills I developed in directing and producing TV shows, were invaluable.
Q: What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
A: I am a business entrepreneur. I started a home and kitchenware manufacturing company that specializes in creating and bringing to the retail market innovative meal preparation and bakeware products. We currently sell to QVC, Avon, Bed Bath & Beyond, and other major retailers in the United States. I entered into this business after three years as the chief marketing officer for Lifetime Brands, and I ran the Kitchen Aid and Farberware kitchen gadgets division. I felt that the industry was lacking unique innovation in kitchen and meal preparation products, and I decided to start my own company in 2005. My company, Xtraordinary Home Products, is now one of the fastest-growing housewares suppliers in the industry.
Q: What at Hofstra gave you your edge?
A: My successes in sports and academics at Hofstra inspired me to maintain a high level of passion, motivation, and desire to become successful in both my career and personal life.
Q: What advice would you give current Hofstra students?
A: Hofstra students need to understand that the real world is not easy. It is an extremely competitive and fast-paced environment that can offer incredible opportunities with the right synergies of passion, desire, and drive. Students need to identify their personal winning edges and exploit apply these edges in their future career. They need to demonstrate extraordinary personal traits and offer unique products and services that set them apart from their competition.
Q: In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
Q: What is the single most rewarding experience in your career thus far?
A: Risking my home and financial net worth in starting my own company and making it a hugely successful business.