Network & Job Shadow
Up to 70% of positions today are obtained through networking. Learn important tips for making connections – in person and online – and take advantage of opportunities to engage with employers and alumni.
Alumni In Residence (AIR)
TowerMetrix, Board of Directors Member
University of Pittsburgh, 1983
Ron Baime has worked with industry leading retailers for over 30 years, solving customer needs, growing revenue, launching new brands, increasing profits and building high-performing teams. Ron graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Administration in Business/Sociology.
Ron joined Dick’s Sporting Goods in 2005. During his tenure at Dick’s Sporting Goods, he has held numerous roles of increasing responsibility, including Divisional Merchandise Manager (DMM) Golf, DMM Licensed, Vice President/DMM – Golf Galaxy, Vice President/General Merchandising Manager (GMM) for Hunt & Fish, and most recently, Senior Vice President of Merchandising for Team Sports, Hunt, Fish & Outdoor Equipment.
Ron also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for TowerMetrix, a Pittsburgh based Software Company providing Human Resources performance management tools.
Prior to joining DICK’S, Ron most recently served as the Head Merchant at Five Below. Throughout his retail career, Ron has held various senior leadership roles at Best Buy (VP of Music), Circuit City (SVP, Merchandising), Kohl’s Department Stores (SVP of E-Commerce) and May Department Stores. Ron is looking forward to helping current Pitt students consider their options while preparing for new careers. He will emphasize the importance of following one’s passions while achieving success in and out of the office.
Ron hosted a workshop, discussing “Leadership Lessons: Learning from Success AND Failure” in November. Check out photos for the event here! To sign up for Ron’s upcoming Leadership Workshops, please register in Handshake.
University of Pittsburgh, 2011, College of Business Administration, HR Management & Organizational Behavior
Zack Bombatch is a 2011 cum laude graduate of the College of Business Administration where he focused his studies in human resources management and organizational behavior. He is an associate attorney with the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC in the firm's Southpointe office where he focuses his practice in the areas of labor and employment law and general civil litigation. In his practice he counsels clients on compliance with federal and state employment laws and advocates on their behalf in disputes arising under them. He is also a member of the firm's Higher Education Team.
Through the Alumni-In-Residence program, Zack hopes to conduct mock interviews and help students make the case for why they should be hired, why they're capable, and help increase students' confidence in their abilities.
Zack hosted an Alumni Lunch and Learn to discuss the transition from college to career working as an Associate Attorney. Check out photos here!
University of Pittsburgh, 1974, B.S. Civil Engineering
In 2014, Duane Dishong retired as Director of Design Engineering for EQT Corporation following 40 years of continuous employment in natural gas industry, including thirty years in management related positions primarily dealing with the engineering and construction of distribution and mid-stream (pipeline, compressor station, measurement, gas conditioning and processing) facilities. Prior to his retirement, Duane was a professional licensed Engineer in Pennsylvania and West Virginia in addition to being a Licensed Surveyor in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Duane has been married to his wife Sandy for 31 years and they are the proud parents of two Pitt alumni. Their son Matthew is a 2013 graduate of University of Pittsburgh Law School and currently employed by Germondo and McQuiggan LLP and their second son Michael is a 2012 graduate of University of Pittsburgh (Johnstown), Civil Engineering Technology, currently employed by ASI Constructors, Inc.
In his last 7 years serving as the Director of Design Engineering for EQT Corporation, Duane participated in over 200 interviews hiring engineers. With this experience and knowledge, Duane is looking forward to helping engineering students applying for co-ops and/or jobs prepare for their interviews and also help senior engineering students prepare for their first days on the job.
Retired Corporate Manager, Information Systems Consulting, PPG
University of Pittsburgh, 1960, College of General Studies English and Pre-Med
John Canter graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Magna Cum Laude from College of General Studies in 1960 with a B.A. in English and focus in the pre-medical field. John was the Co-founder and Assistant Director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Knowledge Availability Systems Center. He was also the Founder and Chairman of the Point Park University’s Department of Information Science. John is a Dual citizen of both the United States of America and the Republic of Ireland.
During John’s time at PPG as the Corporate Manager of Information Systems Consulting, he had domestic and international leadership responsibility for computer and communications technology innovation, design and implementation. The later years of his career were spent consulting with international business, government and educational entities in strategizing, designing and implementing infinitely agile enterprises capable of both leading, and rapidly responding to, continuously changing competitive environments (products, services, technologies, etc.).
John served as a strategic planning and technology consultant for government agencies in Japan and Korea. His career also included serving as a Consultant for the US Department of Defense and to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He currently volunteers as a National Audubon Society Lecturer on Avian and Environmental Issues. John is also the author of seven novels.
Mr. Canter has consistently, vociferously and passionately commented that he owes ALL of the success that he has had in his professional life to the experiences and education that he received at The University of Pittsburgh in general, and to one special individual, PITT’s 1960 Director of Placement, Ernie Holmock. It was Mr. Holmock who, after evaluating John’s diverse and non-career-path-specific educational background, took it upon himself, sans John’s prior knowledge or agreement, to recommend John to the IBM Corporation. IBM had, concurrent with John’s graduation from PITT, begun a nationwide search to discover and compose a creative team of recent college graduates who had the most unusual educational, non-traditional, non-technical backgrounds. Mr. Holmock believed that John, with his unusual course mixture, would be attractive to IBM. And it turned out that it was.
When Ernie subsequently approached him with IBM’s desire for an interview, John’s immediate reaction was disinterest. Rather, Mr. Canter had set his sights on a career in the creative arts, namely writing novels and working in an ad agency in New York. However, since Mr. Holmock had taken it upon himself to schedule an interview with IBM, John reluctantly agreed to participate. He did this solely out of deference to Mr. Holmock and not wishing to put the University’s Placement Director in an embarrassing or compromised position.
Mr. Canter’s first IBM interview led to a second, then a follow-on battery of mathematical, spatial relations, logical reasoning and psychological tests that John hoped would disqualify him and leave him free to pursue his creative interests. However, such was not the case. Rather, IBM submitted an offer, which John immediately rejected. Enter Ernie Holmock once again. And once again John deferred to PITT’s Placement Director and, following Mr. Holmock’s advice, with great reluctance became an IBM employee. The rest, as it is said, is history!
University of Pittsburgh, 2003, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences B.S. Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, and Communications
Stephen Esper is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh College of Arts and Sciences with triple majors in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, and Communications. He attended the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, Joseph Katz Business School, Anesthesiology Residency, and trained at Duke University as a fellow in Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology. An Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, he currently works as the Clinical Director of the Operating Theatre at UPMC Presbyterian University Hospital, and is the Chief of Perioperative Services at UPMC.
Stephen sang in the Heinz Chapel Choir at PITT and is also a professional violinist. Stephen also was a sports-broadcaster for University of Pittsburgh 92.1 WPTS-FM, play by play announcer for the PITT Panthers football and basketball teams from his sophomore year in college through medical school, interning under Bill Hillgrove.
Stephen has a passion for travel and other cultures and has traveled the world visiting over 20 countries. Notably, he recently graduated with a Byzantine Chant Diploma from the Music Conservatory in Athens, Greece. Stephen is a member of St. George Orthodox Cathedral right here in Oakland and loves this city of Pittsburgh.
University of Pittsburgh, 2002, B.S. Computer Science, Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, MBA Economic, Business Strategy 2005
By participating in the Alumni-In-Residence program, Tim hopes to help STEM students strengthen their ability to present their knowledge and skills to employers and to bridge the gap between the two.
Since graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a Computer Science degree and MBA, Timothy James has worked in Internet consulting, defense contracting, telecommunications, and capital markets. He's also been teaching business and technology courses at several local universities. He is currently a Product Technology Manager at Google where he helps brick-and-mortar retailers understand how online ads drive in-store sales. By participating in the Alumni-In-Residence program, Tim hopes to help Pitt students improve their ability to market their skills to employers and find jobs they love.
Tim hosts monthly office hours to meet with computer science and computer engineering students or students interested in setting up an appointment with him. To find out more information on appointment availability, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Direct Energy, Senior Development Manager
University of Pittsburgh, 1981, B.S. Chemical Engineering, Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, 1986, MBA
Tom Lynskey graduated the University of Pittsburgh with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an MBA from the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. He is a proud Pitt Basketball and Football Season Ticket Holder in addition to being a Panther Club Gold Member. During Tom’s undergraduate years here at Pitt, he was involved as a student leader serving as the IFC External Vice President and various Chairmanships with Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
Tom serves as the Senior Business Development Manager at Direct Energy, where he has been for nearly 20 years. Tom’s career in energy began at the electric utility company, Duquesne Light, where he started as an engineer supporting power plant operations and maintenance. His career continued in the engineering field as he worked for the Michael Baker Corporation developing business with national firms in the areas of environmental, health and safety. As the Senior Business Development Manager at Direct Energy, Tom was one of the industry’s first retail electricity supply sales people. Now combining his engineering education with business experience, he serves customers including the National Key Accounts and select K12 public school buying groups. Tom Lynskey is a Five Time Presidents’ Club Award Winner and Two Time Honorable Mention.
Tom hosts monthly office hours to meet with chemical engineering students or students interested in setting up an appointment with him. To find out more information on appointment availability, please email email@example.com
University of Pittsburgh, 2002, School of Arts and Sciences, B.A. Communications
Shawn Robinson is the President of Orange Arrow, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to coach young student athletes to aim for success off the field. Shawn is originally from Warren, OH. He attended the University of Pittsburgh graduating with a B.A. in Communications and obtained his MBA from Strayer University. While at Pitt Shawn played football as a defensive back and was a 4-year letter winner. One of his most proud moments at Pitt came in 2002, during the Insight bowl game. In which he became the first Pitt player to return a punt for a touchdown in the history of the school’s bowl appearances.
After he stopped pursuing the dream of being a professional athlete, Shawn began a career in sales. Shawn has had numerous years of sales experience that range from the rental car to fitness industries. He credits gaining his most valuable sales knowledge while a sales executive at Cbeyond Communications in Atlanta, GA. Cbeyond is a managed services provider that delivers integrated packages of voice, mobile and broadband services to small businesses. Shawn found his niche when he served as the Director of Member Relations for Allied Athlete Group prior to branching off to pursue his dream of becoming an entrepreneur.
Shawn is the founder of S.R. Lifestyle Management. The company’s core business was to serve as a professional concierge service including but not limited to booking domestic and international travel and event planning. Mr. Robinson, who considers himself a Social Entrepreneur, is the founder of the nonprofit organization Orange Arrow. Shawn looks forward to participating in the Alumni-In-Residence program to educate students on the importance of networking and building relationships.
Shawn hosted a workshop on Elevator Pitch, hosted office hours, and hosted an Alumni Lunch and Learn on Networking and Relationship Building. Check out photos from Shawn’s events here!
Donna DeMarino Sanft
University of Pittsburgh, M.Ed.
A very proud Pitt alumnus and former student athlete with both Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Education from Pitt, Donna has dedicated her 40+ year professional career at Pitt to student development and welfare.
Donna began her career in Pitt athletics as a Head Gymnastics Coach and was also an Instructor in the School of Education. She coached Pitt's only NCAA National Champion in women's gymnastics, Lisa Shirk. Donna’s teams were in the Top 10 nationally in 1979 and 1986, and Top 20 in 1981, 1982, and 1984. Donna served two four-year terms on the NCAA's Women's Gymnastics Committee, chairing the Committee for three years, working on the rules and operations of NCAA gymnastics competition as well as overseeing numerous Regional and National NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships.
Donna left coaching in 1986 and became a senior member of the University of Pittsburgh Athletics staff, where she served for the next 28 years, rising in responsibility during that time. She initiated and built Pitt’s NCAA compliance program, created and built Pitt’s life skills program for student-athletes, took the reins as Interim Athletic Director during the fall of 2007, served as sport administrator for many sport programs including men’s basketball. Through the years Donna had oversight of many additional units including: fund raising, student affairs, staff searches, staff professional development, athletics training, and strength and conditioning coaches. Donna has served on numerous NCAA, Big East, ACC and University committees. She was a key member of the staff coordinating Pitt’s transition into the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
Donna joined the University of Pittsburgh Division of Student Affairs as Associate Dean of Students in August 2014, with oversight of Student Conduct, Disability Resources and Services, the Care and Resources Support Team, and fundraising. Donna retired in October 2016.
Donna hosted an Alumni Lunch and Learn on “Finding Your Passion: Taking the Initiative to Explore Career Options,” geared towards undeclared students. Check out photos from Donna’s events here!
Noah Snyder, Ph.D.
University of Pittsburgh, 2015, PhD, Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering
Noah received his Ph.D. degree in Bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 2015 where he researched the development of new biomaterials for medical implants. Along with co-founder Kasey Catt, Noah founded Interphase Materials in the Fall of 2015 to apply this technology to a greater range of applications including industrial coatings. Interphase Materials recently finished its tenure at AlphaLab Gear, a nationally ranked accelerator program where the company received initial investment from Innovation Works.
As the current CEO & President of Interphase Materials, Noah has led the company to establishing a chemical facility in the region, license University of Pittsburgh technology he helped to develop, and to gain customer traction in a diverse customer base including companies in oil & gas, architectural, and marine applications. In addition, Interphase Materials was recently awarded a highly competitive Phase I SBIR from the United States Navy to explore applications of the company's proprietary technology.
Noah looks forward to participating in the Alumni-In-Residence program to help students with translating their skills gained as undergrads on their resume and in the workplace.
Tom hosts office hours each semester to meet with bioengineering and biomedical engineering students or students interested in setting up an appointment with him. To find out more information on appointment availability, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dennis Spinella, Ph.D.
University of Pittsburgh, M.Ed. and Ph.D.
Dennis has spent the past 40+ years working in the field of education. He received both his M.Ed. and Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, in the fields of educational administration and Reading/Language Arts. Dr. Spinella has worked as a teacher, reading specialist, principal, supervisor and director of curriculum and instruction, assistant superintendent and superintendent of schools. Time spent during his career also includes a position as adjunct faculty member at four local universities. He retired as superintendent of schools for the Frazier School District in 2009.
Since Dr. Spinella’s retirement, he has worked as an educational consultant in various capacities. He has worked at Point Park University as an instructor and also a supervisor of student teachers. He has also worked for the PA Dept. of Education as a “Content Program Reviewer”. Beginning in 2010, and currently, he has been serving as the educational advisor for the multi-media program for students, ages 6-10, known as “Afterschool Buddy, Inc”.
In addition, Dr. Spinella’s recent professional experience has included being part of the evaluation team for the Entertainment Industry’s Council, where he reviewed and evaluated journal articles related to mental health. He also is involved with the University of Pittsburgh’s academic and athletic programs. He is a member of the Dean’s Alumni Council, of which he is past president.
Dr. Spinella is also a member of the Alumni Board of Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity, an undergraduate fraternity at California University of PA. As a major hobby and lover of music, he is a current professional DJ for 770 KFB AM/ 97.5 FM Radio Pittsburgh, PA. He currently has his own weekly radio show. Dr. Spinella is the father of three daughters and six grandchildren.
Networking Tip & Opportunities
- The goal of networking is to exchange ideas, not seek a job.
- Be confident and energetic. Doing so will help others remember you and refer you to other contacts.
- Be punctual, as this shows that you are responsible and respect others’ time.
- Follow up after meeting a contact. Send a thank-you note.
- Networking professionals agree that over-preparing is essential. A tip from Drake, Beam & Morin, a human resources firm, suggests a 10/90 ratio. For every 10 minutes you have a conversation with an individual, you spend 90 minutes preparing.
- Don’t be afraid to let people know that you are job searching for the first time. A high percentage of people get jobs because someone knew someone else who was looking to fill “that position.” If no one knows you are looking for a job, they can’t refer you.
- Bring items like business cards, a portfolio with resumes, a pen, breath mints and your planner/calendar. These seemingly simple items can help you better connect with colleagues, business leads or potential employers.
- Sample Request for Informational Interview Email/Letter
- Sample Thank you note
- How to work a career fair
- How to ask for an Introduction
Whether you are undecided or pursuing a specific career path, job shadowing is beneficial for all students. Defined as an unpaid experience, lasting no fewer than 4 hours and no greater than 50 hours, a job shadow provides students with the chance to observe a professional in his or her work environment and discuss the opportunities and challenges that exist in the industry.
The Panther Shadow Program is a job shadow experience, comprised of 5-15 students visiting a specific employer’s headquarters or designated facility. It’s designed to provide groups of students with exposure to and knowledge of a company that they are interested in pursuing.
Shadow in Your City is a component of the Panther Shadow Program, engaging companies and organizations in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City.
Social media is revolutionizing the way companies recruit, and you need to know the dos and don’ts in order to use it to your advantage.
LinkedIn is the #1 professional network worldwide and is a great tool for networking with employers and professionals in almost every career path.
- Join the Pitt Career Network to connect with Pitt alumni who are want to support you in your career goals.
- Participate in the LinkedIn Lunch Series to learn how to make build a strong profile and make connections.
- How to Build a Professional Student LinkedIn Profile
Twitter can be a tremendous tool for networking and researching career fields. Follow people and organizations you are interested in to learn the latest information and join the conversation. Participate in live chats to connect with professionals and attract potential employers. Before you get started, make sure you understand how to use Twitter in a professional way.
- How to Use Twitter as a Job Search Tool
- 20 Simple Tips for your Job Search
- Top 50 Employers on Twitter
An increasing number of recruiters today view candidates' Facebook pages for screening purposes. If you do not want a potential employer to see your uncensored personal life, change your privacy settings or clean up your profile. Your online presence is becoming more important and you don’t want your Facebook page to prevent you from getting a job.