Alumnus Robert Rizzuto says his alma mater pushed him to a higher level.

Risutto-Rob-profile-smallAsk Robert Rizzuto how MSU Denver transformed him and he’ll immediately answer: “MSU Denver pushed me to a higher level.”

Higher indeed. He was destined to go higher. For Rizzuto, it’s all about reaching your full potential in life. And one look at his life and you can easily see he’s doing exactly that.

“Ever since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated with airplanes and aviation in general. When I was 16, I decided to learn how to fly.”

One year later he had his private pilot’s license. He has since earned his commercial license, instrument and multi-engine ratings and a certified flight instructor certificate.

Choosing MSU Denver was another big step, and a complete no-brainer. “I knew it had an excellent aviation program,” Rizzuto said. “My degree gave me a great mix of aviation and business fundamentals, so combined with my flying experience, I was ready for the workforce.”

With letters of recommendation from a fellow MSU Denver alumnus and an employee at his future company, aviation giant Jeppesen, Rizzuto was hired just months after graduation. And just like that, his career was off the ground.

?Rizzuto has risen quickly through the ranks. He started in an entry-level position as a navigation information analyst. Then he was promoted to key account manager, where he oversaw 250 corporate accounts in the Northeast and parts of Canada. He also served as an interim department lead for that team, which required occasional travel to Germany.

Today, Rizzuto is business aviation manager. He oversees account management, sales and market operations.

His fast rise at Jeppesen hasn’t surprised Steve Card, director of business aviation client management.

?“Rob excelled in the technical sense, but also with a customer-service ethic that got him noticed for all the right reasons,” Card says. “Rob understands the power of the diverse team and the part he plays in motivating employees so they give their best.”

Rizzuto is humble about it all and gives a lot of credit to his alma mater. “I’ve been able to take advantage of many opportunities over the years and none of them would have been possible without my degree, the relationships and the alumni network from MSU Denver.”

His advice to today’s students: “Be open minded, agile and try to see things from other people’s perspectives. And remember that attitude and passion go a long way.”