Wall Street Exec Brings his Mentorship to Alma Mater
NEW PALTZ - According to Wall Street business leader Kenneth D. Pasternak, a 1979 graduate of the State University of New York at New Paltz, success begins with finding "what you enjoy." "Make your vocation your avocation," Pasternak says, noting that the vocation doesn't have to be something an individual is good at, or a profession that pays huge salaries. "I was lucky because they all came together for me." Pasternak, who retired his post as chief executive officer with Knight Trading Group, Inc. in January, will bring this message to SUNY New Paltz' annual Business Day as the conference's keynote speaker on March 8. While Pasternak's meteoric success was in the business world, his undergraduate education at New Paltz was in secondary education. He says his background in education gave him great insights on Wall Street, where "your capital gets in an elevator at the end of every day to go home." "I made my career as an educator in the corporate world, and learned how to train people," he says. "Through a lot of my career, I was surrounded by leadership, mentorship and community activism." "I wouldn't be where I am, if it weren't for SUNY New Paltz," says Pasternak. "New Paltz is a great place for one to make a transition from childhood to adulthood, be successful and even become a CEO of a multi-million dollar company." As a business leader, Pasternak says New Paltz graduates, with a well-rounded education, are typical of job candidates he sought. "There's nothing that an Ivy Leaguer knows that a SUNY graduate doesn't know." In a jab at Ivy Leaguers, Pasternak quips "If you think a degree you got in 1978 is going to solve a problem in 2002, you're in for a rude awakening." Pasternak says that 70 to 80 percent of Wall Street's value is human capital. When he entered the trading world in the late seventies, there was a "big void in the way firms attracted and trained human capital." While at Leeds & Kellogg/Troster Singer, where he worked for 15 years before co-founding Knight, he developed a formal recruiting and training process. Pasternak's vision in founding Knight was to provide individual investors with the same low cost, immediacy and dependability in their securities transactions enjoyed by institutional investors. And, true to his education roots, professional development was - and continues to be - at the foundation of the company's entrepreneurial culture. He created "Knight School" and, even as the CEO, he taught courses and actively served as a mentor for about one-third of today's top traders at the firm. Under his leadership, Knight became the leading wholesale market maker in U.S. securities markets serving institutions, in addition to broker-dealers and expanding its presence into global markets in Japan and Europe. In 1999, Ernst & Young named Pasternak its Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year in New Jersey. Today, Knight rubs shoulders with AOL Time-Warner, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Yahoo and Cisco on the Forture e-50. Pasternak is a resident of New Jersey and a native of Fleischmanns, N.Y., in Delaware County, where he attended Margaretville High School. Since retiring from Knight in January, Pasternak devotes his time to several ongoing business ventures, including Crossroad Ventures - a $200 million project he co-founded in 1999 to enhance the quality of life in the Catskills. In addition, he serves on Knight's board of directors, the board of directors for NASDAQ, the advisory committee of BRASS Utility, LLC (BRUT) and the board of directors of Easdaq.
SUNY New Paltz' annual Business Day Conference "E-xploring E-Commerce" is the theme for this year's annual Business Day Conference on March 8, which is sponsored by the student chapter of the American Marketing Association and the SUNY New Paltz School of Business. The conference features a daylong agenda of speakers and workshops, and is designed for undergraduate and graduate level students interested in business careers. "The conference is a wonderful opportunity for regional business students to enhance their education and to network with other students, as well as with business people," said Ted Clark, AMA advisor and marketing/management lecturer for the School of Business. The conference will also feature an alumni roundtable to be led by Norman Blashka, executive vice president and chief financial officer of 24/7 Real Media, which provides marketing and technology solutions to online marketers and publishers. He graduated from SUNY New Paltz in 1975 with a bachelor of arts degree in economics, and is a member of the Business Advisory Council. Other workshops during the conference include: public speaking with Patrice Noble, who teaches organizational communication at SUNY New Paltz and Marist College; database development with SUNY New Paltz Associate Professor Chih-Yang Tsai; basics of internet marketing with Cheryl Benton, partner and managing director of internet services at Mezzina Brown & Partners; corporate culture with Christian Domer, chief executive officer of Rifton Management, LLC; and careers in the Hudson Valley with Rich Henley, executive vice president of Heath Quest. The Business Day Conference opens with a resume workshop at 9 a.m. The full conference agenda will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will be held in the Multi Purpose Room of the Student Union Building. The attendance fee is $10 for students and $20 for others. Lunch is included with the fee. For further information or to register, contact Clark at 257-2927, the School of Business at 257-2930 or visit the AMA Web site at www.newpaltz.edu/amkta.