Veronica Pellizzi, a Verizon vice president, received a Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award during the annual Fall Awards ceremony held on Wednesday, Oct. 8, at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).
Pellizzi graduated from NJIT in 1984 with a B.S. in chemical engineering.
When she first enrolled at NJIT, she didn’t think she’d be building a career in telecommunications. Today, though, Pellizzi is senior vice president of sales for the Enterprise Solutions Group at Verizon. She’s responsible for managing some 10,000 accounts and the growth of Verizon’s $7 billion enterprise segment, which includes an expanding spectrum of businesses and government agencies nationwide.
Pellizzi, of Ridgewood, who is a member of the NJIT Board of Overseers, says that the job market was pretty grim when she completed her B.S. in 1984. “There were a couple of employment possibilities in Pennsylvania and Michigan, but I wanted to stay closer to home in New Jersey,” she says. At the time, New York Telephone ? which would soon become NYNEX in the wake of the AT&T breakup ? was advertising for engineers and Pellizzi managed to get an interview.
“I didn’t have the exact qualifications New York Telephone was looking for, but they seemed to be more interested in the overall analytical ability that an engineer could bring to their industry,” Pellizzi relates. “The first person who interviewed me asked why I thought I could handle the job. I told him that if I could succeed as an engineering student at NJIT, I could meet the challenges of the position with New York Telephone. He liked that answer.”
Pellizzi’s confident response led to an employment offer, New York Telephone’s training program and her first assignment as a network engineer. She says that the company offered great support and career guidance. Encouraged to continue her education, she earned an M.B.A. from Columbia University.
Pellizzi has held positions of increasing responsibility in customer service, sales, marketing and new-business development over the course of corporate evolution that has seen NYNEX merge with Bell Atlantic, and Bell Atlantic transformed into the national telecom provider Verizon. As president and chief executive officer of Bell Atlantic Long Distance Business Services, she led the company’s entry into the business long-distance market. Her achievements also include leading efforts that increased the number of customers buying high-speed DSL service from Verizon by 122 percent, establishing the company as the second largest DSL provider in the U.S.
While Pellizzi acknowledges that telecommunications continues to be a troubled industry these days, she says that there are also significant opportunities for companies able to offer the service and products customers want. And in her view Verizon is clearly one of those companies.
“Enterprise customers are looking for stable providers that can deliver a full portfolio of services,” she says. “They want end-to-end telecom solutions from companies that really understand their needs, no matter how complex those needs may be, and offer good value at a competitive price. I think an important measure of Verizon’s ability to succeed in all of these areas is our national footprint, strong customer relationships and technical expertise in running large, complex data and IP (Internet protocol) networks. We’re gaining significant traction in the data long-distance arena because customers view us as a strong, viable alternative now that we can offer long-distance in our territory.”
Pellizzi points out that Verizon can meet needs that range from providing customer-managed solutions for voice, local area networking and convergence, as well as fully managed voice, data and IP-networking solutions on a local and long-distance or “any distance” basis. “We’re working hard to leverage our financial strength, technical assets and the skills of our people to be an increasingly successful player on a national scale.”