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Just Keep Running

April 13, 2016

About Me

Paul Sullivan holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree (with highest honors) in Engineering Technology from the College of Engineering class of 1990 and a Masters in Business Administration from the Business School class of 1997. He also taught Electrical Engineering Technology in the School of Engineering Technology for 12 years. With nearly a 30-year career in telecommunications, Paul currently works at Verizon as the vice president of the Mid-Atlantic North Wireline Field Operations.

Just Keep Running

I have been running for excellence.

When I was young, or younger, like your age, I started running. At Northeastern University, I ran for the president of Tau Alpha Pi, and then ran for the chair of the Institute of the Electrical and Electronics Engineers.  I was so interested in telecommunications that I even joined New England Telephone as a central office technician while my coop assignments at NU in 1986.

Now I run the Mid-Atlantic North Wireline Field Operations at Verizon for over 3 million core and FiOS customers in New Jersey, Delaware, Philadelphia, and Eastern Pennsylvania. We have over four-thousand employees that provide Verizon customers with the best telephony, broadband & entertainment services.

I have been running for fun.

It is true my job gets overwhelming sometimes. So, I like to go jogging to stay energized and focused. I am an avid runner and have completed 38 full marathons in different locations, including 6 in Boston. The last marathon I ran was the Ocean Drive marathon, and came in 18th out of 289 runners. I almost made it to the Top 3 in my age group!

But running is not only for competition. It also keeps your body and mind healthy. There is a common knowledge that college students who want to boost their grades can start by boosting their level of exercise. We have spent too much time in front of our desks, and now it is time to tie up our running shoes.

I have been running for charity.

In my spare time, I am proud to serve as the chair of the American Red Cross of Northern New Jersey, and on the board of the New Jersey Chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

Running is very important to me, and nothing beats running for charity. I will be running my 39th marathon on April 18th this year in Boston, with Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries’ Boston Marathon team, Running for Great Kids. Over the marathon team’s 12-year history, it has raised over $830,000 for Goodwill’s Youth Initiative, which serves youth in Boston’s underserved neighborhoods. I have been a big supporter of Goodwill and their marathon runner since 2012. I can’t wait to hit the road again. 

How Northeastern Shaped my Future

How did you choose NU?
I choose NU for the co-op and engineering program. I went to a technical HS in downtown Boston and studied electricity. Northeastern University was a great fit that helped continue my love for technology and the real-life experience with co-ops. It also helped that my dad also graduated from NU and guided me through the college selection process. At the end of the day, the education, co-ops and college life at NU helped me navigate my professional career.  
How did it influence your career though co-op?
Northeastern University’s co-op experience groomed me for the working world. I was extremely fortunate to land outstanding jobs at New England Telephone (now Verizon) and Boston Edison. I completed various co-op jobs at New England Telephone and learned the telephony business and business culture from the ground level. I was a technician on my several co-op assignments and traveled the state to various different departments. I was able to gain experience working in a union environment and assignments that have helped me learn throughout my career. The time spent on the co-op jobs were instrumental to teach me the workings of a large corporation. My co-ops with New England Telephone built a great foundation and formula for outstanding customer service. I learned early on, the importance of hard work and an eye for outstanding customer service is key for success.      
How did it influence your lifelong running?
When I think of running and training as a marathoner, my college life in engineering has many similarities:

  • Studying = Training (The fundamentals of running follow the same as attending class and completing homework, without the proper training it is nearly impossible to advance and complete the races).  
  • Test/Quizzes = Shorter Races (The shorter 5K/10Ks are similar to the quick hit quiz and tests to demonstrate your knowledge of the material.  The mid-terms are just like ½ marathons – 13.1 miles.  Not quite a full marathon, but serious enough to test your endurance).
  • Group Studies = Long Group Runs (The weekly long runs are toughest, but I learned early in college life and in running that when you do your daily training, that learning or running in a group compliments your learning – training.  Working in a group helps you teach others and more importantly exposes you to other’s strengths. Harnessing the best from others helps you ultimately become a better runner or student).  
  • Final Exams = Marathon Day Race (The 16+ weeks of training, the cross training, the early morning and/or late night workouts, and the proper eating/nutrition all come down to the big day of the marathon or final exam.  The anticipation that leads up to marathon day is just like the butterflies we get before the final exam.  We are put on the spot to deliver that day and our training all comes together to run a great race and be ready for anything that comes our way with the weather and other obstacles.  Final exams do the same to stress our bodies to deliver big and attack any question or situation that comes our way).  
  • Faculty Support = Running Coaches  (College life helps our learn, but our instructors and coaches help guide the way. We have to do the hard work and training, but our support structure helps navigate through injuries and those tough problems that side-track our work.)