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Engineering studies program, NCAA Div. I baseball prepared him for work force

By Matt Kamine ’07

I graduated with an A.B. engineering degree [now engineering studies] and minored in business and economics. I felt that covering both engineering and economics would be an advantage in my profession. Having both the technical background and the financial knowledge has allowed me to learn all aspects of my job more quickly.

Currently, Kamine Development Corporation is building an ethanol plant in Kansas; I am helping to oversee the construction as well as the budget and financing. Classes such as Project Management and Construction Management gave me background in areas that I now encounter in my job such as scheduling and lead times. Engineering Economics is definitely the course that best prepared me for handling job-related finances. Because of the preparation I received in my major, I ask the right questions and learn more quickly on the job.

Though the youngest of six workers in the business, I am the director of operations. I work alongside two people, the vice president of engineering and the chief operating officer, both of whom have years of experience running a business. They, too, have taught me invaluable lessons in how to build a business and run it.

The second semester of my senior year, I completed an independent study, “The Construction and Economic Characteristics of the ‘New’ Yankee Stadium.” I decided to study this topic for two reasons: my love for the game of baseball and my love for the Yankees. I knew that the Yankees were building a new stadium to be opened in 2009. I decided that to incorporate both my baseball love and my degree I would focus on the construction of that stadium. The study turned out to be fascinating. I met on site with the leaders of Turner Construction, the contracted builders, and spoke at length with the head foreman. I learned a great deal about the financial and construction challenges of such a large-scale project. Professor Rita DeFrange helped me assemble a comprehensive, 50-page report and present it. That study taught me how to go from the conception of a massive building project idea to its finish, a skill I use today. For this reason, I encourage students to pursue independent studies in fields they find fascinating.

Summers meant playing baseball, so I didn’t have time to do internships or externships. Before my dad created Kamine Development Corp., I did some side jobs for him when I found the time. However, I did try to learn as much as I could by talking to my father and other successful business people. Because my dad owned a business and I saw how he conducted himself, I grew up knowing how to handle myself professionally.

Baseball also taught me lessons I use in my job. I learned to work with others as a team while trying to achieve a single goal. (In this case, winning the Patriot League championship, which we did). The hours of sweat and hard work are similar to the hours at the office. Also, baseball taught me time-management skills; I learned how to juggle coursework and practice. Looking back, an internship might have better prepared me for my current role, but the teamwork I learned playing baseball and the business skills I learned at Lafayette made the adjustment to work a simple one for me.

The one thing I miss most about Lafayette is my friends. I miss the camaraderie of my teammates and fraternity brothers at Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI). Although I do see some of my friends on the weekends, it is not the same as it was at college. I even miss the long hours of baseball practice. The time spent at Lafayette was a very enjoyable and once-in-a-lifetime experience. Yet despite the many college memories that I will cherish forever, I wish I could be making more with the friends I made during those four years.

Right now, I have two separate future paths. My first is to play professional baseball as a pitcher. After my last season at Lafayette, I found out that I had torn a ligament in my elbow and needed surgery. I am currently rehabbing my arm and plan to try out for professional teams once I am healthy. The other path is to continue to work for my dad at Kamine Development Corp., building a successful business together. At some point in my life I want to carry on what my dad has taught me in building a business and become an entrepreneur just like him. Bur for right now, I am just taking it day by day, trying to learn as much as I possibly can.

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