Alumni Profile: John Petraglia

B.S. ’69

No Problem

“Find something you enjoy doing. But also find a problem and solve it.” John Petraglia’s advice is based on experience. As an undergraduate, he struggled to find the right path. “My aha moment was in a computer science course at NYIT,” he says. He ultimately graduated with honors and launched a successful career. Petraglia was the leader of the team that created the first real-time, multitasking, multi-processor operating system for the 8086 CPU (the same processor used in early IBM PCs); worked on secret projects for the Department of Defense; and served in high-level jobs, including as president of SPD Control System Corporation. Looking back on his career, he sees a pattern: “I said ‘yes’ when others said ‘no,’ and I hired a team of problem solvers who knew what ‘yes’ meant.” Petraglia has since retired and moved to Hilton Head, S.C., but he hasn’t slowed down. He recently wrote a grant proposal for an electric shuttle that provides free tours of Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge to visitors interested in ecotourism (including those with accessibility challenges). Even in retirement, Petraglia is solving problems.