Paul Sarlo, an engineer, mayor and state senate leader, will receive an Outstanding Alumnus Award from Newark College of Engineering (NCE) at New Jersey Institute of Technology. Sarlo will receive the award during the college’s annual NCE Awards Banquet, scheduled for April 8, 2005, at the Newark Airport Marriott Hotel.
NCE is one of six colleges that constitute NJIT.
Sarlo, of Wood-Ridge, has built a successful engineering career on the foundation of a solid NCE education, and is cited as a role model for current NCE students. He received both a bachelor’s (1992) and a master’s degree (1995) in civil engineering from NCE. He also received an Alumni Achievement Award at the University Awards Ceremony held in October, 2004.
Sarlo is chief engineer for Sanzari Companies, a major construction firm; mayor of the Borough of Wood-Ridge in Bergen County; and he also represents District 36 in the New Jersey Senate, where he’s assistant majority leader.
A lifelong resident of Wood-Ridge, Sarlo took pre-med courses at William Paterson University after high school. But the more he thought about the future and listened to the counsel of a sister and brother - both NJIT grads in chemical engineering - he realized that engineering was far more compatible with his interests and personality.
“Transferring to NJIT was the best move I could have made,” says Sarlo, who today is a professional engineer and planner licensed in New Jersey. “I received a great education in a field where I could take what I learned in the classroom and apply it to changing things in the real world.” But studying was not the only focus of Sarlo’s attention at NJIT. An outstanding athlete in high school, he became a star NJIT baseball player and was elected to the NCAA Division III All-American Baseball Team.
Sarlo says that he wasn’t interested in entering politics when he embarked on his engineering career. But a friend involved with local government persuaded Sarlo that their community needed someone with his abilities to sort out delays in completing several municipal construction projects. This led to his running for the Wood-Ridge Borough Council in 1994. “I walked the town twice and knocked on every door to get my message out,” Sarlo recalls. The voters liked what they heard, and Sarlo was elected to two terms as a councilman.
He was elected mayor in 1999 and reelected in 2003, garnering 70 percent of the vote. Sarlo says that serving on the borough council showed him how citizens can help to change things for the better in their community through public office. He then tossed his hat into a larger political ring and was elected to the New Jersey Assembly in 2001.
Selected by the Democratic County Committee to fill an unexpired senate term for District 36 in May 2003, he was elected to a full term in November of that year. In the senate, Sarlo is chairman of the Legislative Oversight Committee, vice-chairman of the Law, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee, and is a member of the prestigious Judiciary Committee and the powerful Budget and Appropriations Committee.
A leading advocate of Meadowlands redevelopment, Sarlo helped secure $150 million from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to fund a rail link to the Meadowlands Sports Complex and planned Xanadu development. Since joining the legislature, he has been the prime sponsor of 35 bills signed into law. These include the bill creating a $29-million-dollar grant to establish a state-wide bioterrorism response plan and the bill providing over $500 million to New Jersey hospitals to provide charity care for uninsured patients.
As an engineer, Sarlo continues to build. He has managed projects worth more than $150 million, among them the reconstruction of the Routes 4 and 17 interchange in Paramus. This award-winning project, initially planned for three years but completed in just one year, was featured in Engineering News-Record magazine. In government, Sarlo continues to build as well, working to make a positive difference on various legislative fronts for his constituents and all the people of New Jersey.