Who says life gives no second chances? For Christian Sammarco it meant knocking down the foundation and starting to rebuild his career. The 1991 grad of St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City thought he had his life after high school all figured out. After donning the mortarboard, he attended Montclair State University, ultimately earning a degree in exercise physiology. Three years later, he'd flexed his muscles in that career long enough. "I just decided exercise physiology wasn't for me," explains Christian, now 30. "I was always interested in construction. I figured if it was an area of interest I might as well pursue it as a career."
Christian wanted to explore all the construction tools available to him, from hammer to calculator. In 1999, he graduated from Middlesex Community College with a two-year associates degree in civil engineering technology. He went on to the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, graduating in May 2003 with a bachelor's degree in construction engineering technology. "This field of study teaches you a broad spectrum of categories," says Christian. "They went over estimating, project management, design work as far as steel and concrete, all sorts of areas of construction."
Christian's NJIT estimating course proved to be the most valuable to him today. Estimating, or figuring out budgets for construction projects, is his main responsibility in his job at Epic Management in Piscataway. "Where I am now is where I would like to eventually end up, but I would like to touch on some field time in project management, which is always good to have to become well-rounded," says Christian. "A lot of people go through school and don't really absorb what they've learned," he adds. "Do well in your studies because that gives you the foundation for what you're going to see out here in the field." You need that foundation before you can build a career.