"I wanted to do something in education and hopefully find an institution that valued the experiences I've had over the past 35 years or so," said Dr. Ferdinandi, who retired from his position of senior vice president and chief human resources officer of CVS Caremark, where he reported to the CEO and chairman.
The institution he chose was Palm Beach Atlantic University, which at the time was looking to create an Executive in Residence position for the Rinker School of Business. He previously had served as a guest lecturer at PBA in courses taught by Dr. Joe Eassa, professor of graduate business studies.
Both the quality of Dr. Ferdinandi's lecture content for each course and his total connection with students left an impression on Dr. Eassa, who described Dr. Ferdinandi as "easily, the finest business guest lecturer I have observed in my nearly 40-year educational career."
This fall, Dr. Ferdinandi joined the business school as its Executive in Residence. Dr. Ferdinandi serves in a volunteer capacity, and his duties include guest lecturing and counseling students about career decisions.
In his last career as a member of senior management, "I really enjoyed and viewed my role in terms of helping others succeed. To me, this is just an extension of that," he said.
Before he came to CVS Caremark in 1999, Dr. Ferdinandi spent 17 years at PepsiCo, where he held leadership positions in operations and human resources in the U.S. and Canada.
He holds both bachelor's and master's degrees in industrial education from Rhode Island College, and he earned a doctorate from Boston University, where his major research focused on business process re-engineering.
Earlier in his career, he held a variety of positions with the Environmental Protection Agency and Ford Motor Company.
Even in today's economy, "I think there are still plenty of opportunities out there," he said. "There are things we can help the students with to position themselves very favorably so that they can be offered positions."
Dr. Ferdinandi is a strong believer in internship programs. Internships can help students feel more comfortable in a business environment, he said. "The right kinds of internships can be very valuable in giving them an edge," he said.
With that in mind, Dr. Ferdinandi’s expected duties will include coordinating with the University's Career Development Office to help students understand the importance of career-related activities. He'll also help students brush up on interviewing skills.
He also hopes that his position will allow him to assist students in the University's other schools, such as the Gregory School of Pharmacy.
"God placed him in the Rinker School of Business," said Dr. Leslie Turner, interim dean of the business school. "I see him as a resource to all PBA students."