Making the most of a hands-on education
Alumni Series Where are they now?: Industrial and Management Systems Engineering alumnus Frankie Ceglia
Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
ore than 2,400 miles and a bevy of quality engineering schools lie between Valencia, California, and Morgantown. But once Frankie Ceglia decided on engineering, becoming a Mountaineer was second nature.
“When I was in high school, I really enjoyed art and physics. I didn’t really know what engineering was until my junior year when I started to look at colleges,” Ceglia said. “I grew up reading a lot about Nikola Tesla and I thought his work was fascinating. Once I started touring schools and seeing robots, clean rooms and 3D printers, I knew engineering was the right path for me.
“My uncle Jed (DiPaolo), who graduated from WVU in 1976, was the person that convinced me to consider studying engineering my junior year of high school,” Ceglia continued. “When I started looking at schools, I found that WVU’s engineering program was very hands-on. I wasn’t very successful in high school with a very theoretical education so I knew that for me to get through something as difficult as an engineering degree, it would have to be a hands-on one. Once the other school I was deciding between said, ‘You could go here and never pick up a screwdriver until you’re a senior,’ my decision was made.”
Ceglia became the first of what would eventually become the largest number of alumni from Trinity Classical Academy to attend an out-of-state college, all based on recommendations from the Ceglia/DiPaolo family.
A 2017 industrial engineering alum, Ceglia hit the ground running his freshman year, immersing himself in projects like Solar Decathlon, Young Life, fuel cell research and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. He even worked as a camp counselor over the summer at WVU’s Engineering Challenge Camps. “When I toured WVU, one of the tour guides said something that I didn’t think was that special, until I visited other schools to find out otherwise,” Ceglia said. “The tour guide said, ‘At WVU, as a freshman, you have the option to not only join student orgs and clubs, but you have the option to create one.’ Upon visiting some other schools, I found that the coolest projects were only available to graduate students.”
Ceglia still reaches out to his other mentor, Jack Byrd, professor of industrial and management systems engineering, to discuss “big life” decisions.
“He helped me decide on my first job out of college as well as how to maximize my internships prior to graduation.”
“Frankie is high-energy,” said Byrd, who estimates he met with Ceglia four to five times a semester throughout his college career. “He’s not afraid to put himself out there, and that’s what companies are looking for.”
To say Ceglia made the most out of his opportunities at WVU would be an understatement. From internships and co-ops with Ecolab, Fexco and Altec, to being a resident assistant and member of WVU’s Energy Club, Golf Club, Formula SAE team, Young Americans for Freedom and the Blue and Gold Crew, he graduated with quite an extensive resume. It was no surprise when he landed a job with multinational juggernaut Amazon.
“I met recruiters from Amazon at one of WVU’s numerous job fairs,” said Ceglia. “I applied online, and I had to take a test where they looked at what decisions I would make under pressure and how I would overcome adverse situations, as well as my ability to read data and make business decisions from it. Amazon then flew me to Washington, D.C., for six hours of interviews.
“I got my job offer the October prior to graduation, with the stipulation that they would place me at a fulfillment center within one of 38 states, but I wouldn’t know which one until mid-May. Right before graduation, I was told I was going to be launching a new fulfillment center in southern California but first I was going to do a short-term assignment in New Jersey.”
Ceglia quickly moved into the role of continuous improvement/process engineer and was promoted two months later, a mere year from his start date. Three months later, he made the switch to Amazon Air, the company’s newest business segment, where he is building their quality program.
“Our team is designing tools to decrease operational mistakes to promote a faster on-time delivery to customers. I look at systematic ways to increase quality, while increasing productivity,” Ceglia said. “I am currently stationed out of a new fulfillment center located at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California. It’s probably the coolest thing ever to watch 767s and Air Force drones take off and land all day every day.
“I figure in 10 years I will have my own company. I am trying to learn as much as I can about people and project management before going into the abyss.”
Editor’s Note: Before this issue of EngineeringWV was published, Frankie co-founded Engiteq, a growth consulting company headquartered in Morgantown, and is now pursuing a Master’s of Business Administration degree at Pepperdine University.
Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit
For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, contact our Marketing and Communications office: