Like so many people, Austin Caramanno, ’17, did not end up where he thought he would when he started his college career. The Mid-Valley High school graduate and Olyphant native originally attended a small college just outside of Philadelphia and planned on getting his degree in Graphic Design. However, the promise of hard work with only a slight chance of finding success in his career was not enough to satisfy him. “I would work hard and might get somewhere, but, for me, it was go big or go home. So, I decided it was time to go back home.”
While back home, he decided to do some research on opportunities in the trades. “I knew I was looking for something that would work for me in the future but would be fun to learn in the process,” he says. “I wanted to do something completely new and Logistics kept popping up as something in the trades for those who were less inclined to do something like fixing cars.” The option of majoring in logistics and supply chain management and the culture at Johnson College was just what Austin was looking for. “It didn’t click [at his previous school], but everything at Johnson felt natural. Everyone was so personable.”
Caramanno graduated from Johnson College in 2017 with a degree in Logistics and Supply Chain Management. He started working at the Neiman Marcus Distribution Center in Pittston in 2015 as a shipping assistant and was quickly promoted to Human Resources Assistant in 2016. By November 2017, he was promoted to his current position of Shipping Supervisor where he now manages those he used to work with as a Shipping Assistant. Caramanno was also a recipient of the Neiman Marcus Group Best award in 2017 because he consistently went above and beyond in his work and he displayed the company’s core values of being “memorable, trustworthy, and bold.”
As a Shipping Supervisor, in addition to making sure that merchandise gets to the stores in a timely fashion and managing nine other employees, Austin now oversees security protocols and the quality of the high end merchandise that goes into Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman stores across the country. His job has given him the opportunity to handle dresses that can cost more than $6,000 and other merchandise being sent to celebrities in the fashion and music industries. All of this is a far cry from what he thought he would be doing while working in graphic design.
He credits much of his success in his position to the leadership skills and professionalism he learned while at Johnson College. “It’s funny because students complained all the time about writing papers but, I have to submit a ‘Goals and Objectives’ report often so, learning those skills really helps,” he says. “The technical skills you learn and your demeanor will help you move past just being an entry level employee. Things like group projects, which seem silly at the time, help you because when working- you don’t get to pick your group and you have to make do.”
Austin also gives credit to his instructors who made sure he not only learned the theory behind business management but, took the time to make sure he truly understood the real world application. “[The instructors] were very helpful because they were people directly from the field. A book tells you one thing but you have to adapt to real life situations. They helped you learn that,” Austin recalled. He also mentioned that Laura Little, the Business Management Department Chair, pushed him to be the best that he could be- “She put in the time to give me the best education she could, so I wanted to take the time to be good at what I was doing.”
When asked what advice he would give current Johnson College students, he says “Things don’t come to you. You have to go after them. An opportunity may fall into your lap but, it’s still up to you to take it.” He emphasized the importance of seizing opportunities just like the one he seized at Johnson College and the ones he’s had at Neiman Marcus.
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