In 2013, Robert Iacullo ’76 was busy with family and a demanding career at United Water/SUEZ NA when a staff member from Montclair State asked him to spend a little time sharing his expertise with business students at his alma mater. He agreed, joining the ranks of the Feliciano School of Business Distinguished Alumni and Speaker Honorees.
“I was so honored to be recognized as an outstanding alumnus, and I really enjoyed talking with the students,” he recalls. “It was nice to reconnect with Montclair State, and to see what was going on.” Soon, he was recruited to the Feliciano School of Business Advisory Council and a little more than six years ago he joined the Montclair State University Foundation board of trustees. In 2021, he began his second term as the Foundation’s treasurer.
Iacullo is struck by how much of himself he sees in the students he meets. “Their circumstances are very similar to my own upbringing,” he says. “I grew up in Newark and took bookkeeping classes in high school. Turns out I enjoyed it, and I did well. I applied to Montclair State for early decision and was thrilled when I was accepted.”
“I chose business as my major with a concentration in accounting,” he continues. “In those days the University didn’t have a dedicated accounting major, but the accounting program had an excellent reputation.”
Iacullo’s degree provided a solid foundation on which to build his career. “When I graduated, I started working with the New Jersey Public Utilities Commission (now the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities), reviewing the rates being proposed by major utilities throughout the state.”
“Although my job didn’t involve actual accounting, what I learned in my Montclair State courses helped me understand the financial picture of the companies that were presenting their rate proposals,” he says. He was glad that he had stayed in touch with some of his professors, who provided additional insight into the cost of providing utility services.
“I had great teachers, but they made you work hard,” he says. “I had one accounting professor who always gave cumulative exams, which meant a lot of studying! But I built deep and lasting knowledge in the process.”
Iacullo spent most of his career – more than 30 years – at United Water/SUEZ NA, rising to the role of Executive Vice President with oversight of communications, regulatory relations, and government affairs. He also served as president and chief operating officer of various operating companies within the corporation. Now retired from United Water/SUEZ NA, he stays connected to the industry as a consultant for contractors involved in water and gas infrastructure.
Iacullo has long been an active volunteer as well, serving as a commissioner of the New Jersey Water Supply Authority and a member of the boards of the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey, Choose New Jersey, the National Association of Water Companies, and the Bergen County United Way. He has contributed time as a trustee of the Bergen County Economic Development Authority, Dominican College and Caldwell University as well.
But when Montclair State called, he was all in.
“I like being involved in the progression of the University, ensuring that the endowment is healthy and that we can continue providing scholarships and financial aid,” he says. “I can relate to the students who go to Montclair State today, and I want to do what I can for them. Every gift we raise through the Foundation benefits the students.”
“Everything about the University is top-notch,” he notes. “The facilities are outstanding. When I met television journalist Willie Geist, who was being interviewed on our campus, he told me that our media and communications facilities rivaled any network studio that he had worked at.”
Iacullo reflects on that for a moment, adding, “If you are looking for quality, affordable education, look no further than Montclair State. We have it all – state-of-the-art buildings, high quality deans and faculty who are passionate about making sure that their students succeed. Our students are hard workers who are bright and capable, and our graduates are held in high regard in their fields.”
“I am grateful for the impact that Montclair State had on my life,” Iacullo concludes. “And I want to make sure that the University is doing the same for others.”