Monday, April 28, 2008


One measure of success for any business is to examine the product. Our product - you the alumni - have assisted in making the Zarb School an outstanding institution of higher education. Please take a moment to review some of these success stories. This list will be ever growing to reflect the many exceptional graduates that we have produced.

See the Faces of Success from The Frank G. Zarb School of Business

Recently, Anthony Dalessio '80,through KPMG, and Larry Roman '77 made generous gifts to their alma mater. Click on the link below their photos, to learn more about these two successful alumni and their contributions to Hofstra University.


Larry Roman ('77) (top, center) with Hofstra students who received Roman Annual Scholarships. Mr. Roman interviewed all students personally.




Dean Sodano presents Anthony Dalessio ('80), KPMG's lead partner for the city of New York, with a plaque in appreciation of his participation in the Executive Speaker Series.









Lawrence Roman

On a crisp October morning last year, Lawrence Roman '77 was in Hofstra Hall interviewing applicants for the Lawrence Roman Annual Scholarship for the Frank G. Zarb School of Business. "I like to work with people individually," he said. "That's my personality." Mr. Roman met candidates over a span of three hours and awarded 29 scholarships. He said he was looking for three things: "genuine need, personal characteristics such as genuineness and kindness, and how serious they are in their studies."

Among the scholarship recipients were Tatiana Gamarra, an M.B.A. candidate from Peru who expects to graduate in 2008. She currently works full time and receives a partial scholarship. Yuting Hung, another recipient who plans to graduate with an M.B.A. this year, is from Taiwan. James Gilligan is hoping to graduate in 2009 with a B.B.A. in marketing and two minors, and said the scholarship would ease the financial burden on his family. Perhaps Mr. Gilligan spoke for all of Mr. Roman's beneficiaries when he said, "I think it's great when someone values education so much that they're willing to help others."

Mr. Roman established the scholarship in 2006. His mother had passed away, and he wanted to do something meaningful with the inheritance. "When you've been fortunate like I have, you try to do the right thing for the right people."

Mr. Roman has applied his direct approach in the business world with great success. A third-generation plumbing contractor, he joined the family business in 1978. "Then I just kept growing the business," Mr. Roman said. Today, Mr. Roman is president and chief operating officer of WDF Services and chief executive officer of WDF, Inc. WDF Services, a holding company that includes WDF, Inc., and Nagelbush Mechanical, Inc., is one of the nation's leading mechanical and specialty contractors. In August 2007 WDF, Inc., the company that Mr. Roman built, was ranked by New York Construction magazine as New York's second largest specialty contractor, behind only EMCOR.

Mr. Roman's company has won the bidding wars for some of the biggest plumbing contracts in recent New York history, including Time Warner Center, 7 World Trade Center and its current project, the Goldman Sachs building. And, yes, he's worked for Donald Trump. "My mom and his mom were very close," he said. "Back in '95, I needed some work and I asked my mom if she would ask Mrs. Trump to set up a luncheon with her son. I knew Donald wouldn't take a call from anyone but his mother." The meeting paid off in a couple of projects for WDF, Inc. About his dealings with Mr. Trump, Mr. Roman said, "When it came to getting the price for his work, he beat me down the way he'd beat anyone else down. But he paid me every dollar he owed me. He was wonderful to work for."

The growth of Mr. Roman's plumbing business has taken some interesting twists and turns. In 1988 he sold the company, then called R&C Corporation, to Jamaica Water Properties, which became EMCOR. But in 1995 he bought it back at "a much reduced sum" and formed WDF, Inc. "I did much better with it than they did," he said. He sold the company again, in 2000, to KeySpan, but bought it back again in 2005. In 2007 he merged his company with Nagelbush Mechanical, creating WDF Services, and he sold an equity stake in the company to Eos Partners.

Anthony N. Dalessio

Anthony (Tony) Dalessio '80, CPA, a partner with the Big Four accounting and advisory firm KPMG LLP, recently gave a generous corporate gift to Hofstra University. This included contributions from other Hofstra alumni working at the firm, with funds matched by KPMG LLP. "On an annual basis, we reach out to alums at KPMG. We believe it's a way of showing our support to our University, which we are all proud of being associated with," Mr. Dalessio explained. Mr. Dalessio credits the opportunities he had at Hofstra for launching his career. An accounting major, he served as secretary of Beta Alpha Psi, an honorary organization for financial information students and professionals, in his junior year and as vice president in his senior year. "This gave me the chance to meet many of the CPA firms' representatives who were on campus," he said. Mr. Dalessio was also a faculty assistant to Dr. Ralph Polimeni, the Chaykin Endowed Chair in Accounting and former dean of the Frank G. Zarb School of Business (who is now vice provost for accreditation and assessment). "Dr. Polimeni was absolutely outstanding," he said. "He has been extremely helpful in coaching me throughout my career."

After graduating cum laude with a B.B.A., Mr. Dalessio joined KPMG as an intern. With the exception of 10 years when he served as deputy director general of The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (Auditing Standards Board) and the International Federation of Accountants, he has been at KPMG his entire career. "The 10 years I spent outside the firm were a unique opportunity for someone my age," he said. "I was given the opportunity to see the accountancy profession from many different perspectives, to travel around the globe and to affiliate with leaders of the profession in many different nations, and to learn their local laws and culture." As KPMG's lead partner for the city of New York, Mr. Dalessio has responsibility for audit, tax and advisory services for any city or state agency within New York City. He has led the firm in working with the city and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site - a responsibility he is considers an honor. Among other client responsibilities, Mr. Dalessio leads KPMG's advisory services practice for Long Island. He was also appointed to KPMG's first Partnership Council, presenting the views of partners across the country to the firm's CEO and Chairman. In addition, Mr. Dalessio is in charge of the firm's performance management process for KPMG's advisory services practice in the Northeast region.

Mr. Dalessio was an adviser to the Zarb School of Business and a member of the advisory council appointed to review the University for AACSB accreditation. In 2007 he returned to Hofstra as a participant in the Zarb School's Executive Speaker Series. Mr. Dalessio has served on a number of professional committees and organizations, including the Long Island branch of the American Heart Association, the Port Washington Union Free School District, and the Farmingdale Adult Day Care Center. He was a 2005 David Rockefeller Fellow to the Partnership for New York City. Mr. Dalessio resides in Sands Point, Long Island. When asked what motivates him, he responded, "I enjoy being successful by serving my clients and by seeing young team members advancing and learning from my past experiences."


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