Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University
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Helping Build a Strong Faculty Edward Pettinella '76 MBA by Tom Raynor E dward Pettinella grew up in Batavia, N.Y., in a family of modest means. "I thought of myself as middle class, and maybe that was a stretch," he says. "We were a family of four in a small apartment. We moved into our first home when I was 12." Today Pettinella is president and CEO of Home Properties (HME), an S&P 400 company, and one of the nation's 25 largest apartment owners, with 44,000 units in ten states. "In a way," he says, "I'm the poster child for apartment living." By 1981 Pettinella had worked in two major industries—one public, the other private—and gained a broad, dynamic repertory of skills. Well positioned for leadership, he returned to CSB, where he moved up the ranks from vice president for investments to chief operations officer and executive vice president. In 1986 he helped take the bank public before eventually merging it with Charter One Bank and becoming president of Charter One, New York. In 1973 Pettinella received a BS degree from SUNY Geneseo, where he was president of his class. With a major in business, he entered the management training program at Community Savings Bank (CSB) in Rochester. He took a leave of absence in 1974-76 to earn an MBA degree in SU's School of Management, where he was "singularly focused" on his concentration in finance. With the encouragement of finance professors Alan Young and Moon Kim, he realized that he had found a special niche. Pettinella joined Home Properties in 2001 as executive vice president, with oversight of corporate strategy. Three years later, he became president and CEO. Under his leadership, acquisitions have grown by $3 billion, while assets in low-growth markets have been reduced by $700 million. By redesigning company-wide compensation plans, he has reduced annual employee turnover rate from 57 to 24 percent. He has achieved extraordinary shareholder return in a peer group of 12 companies. Using his skills in finance, he has unlocked the company's full potential. He returned to CSB to become its first investment analyst—a trailblazer. "In the three years that followed," he says, "everything I had learned was put to the test." Through that challenge, he attained a strong expertise in investment banking. Then, to diversify his experience, he accepted an offer from the Ford Motor Credit Corporation, in Dearborn, Mich. There, for two years, he was part of a team that created financial products for institutional investors. 10 Now he wants to express his gratitude to SU and Whitman for nurturing his success. He recently endowed a professorship in Finance/Real Estate in Whitman's James D. Kuhn Real Estate Center. "With my deep interest in finance and real estate," he says, "I'm pleased to support a program that offers a first-rate education in both disciplines. Building a strong faculty is critical to meeting this objective."