Robert M. Tuniewicz (B.S. ’71) is president of Tri-Tech Sales Associates, which provides engineering sales and service for more than 20 major electrical manufacturers; and president and CEO of ACD Inc., global manufacturer of air conditioning disconnects, electrical panels, and pump controls for spas and pools.
Tuniewicz’s rise to the forefront of the engineering sales field began with a childhood passion for model trains. “I was fascinated by switches, control panels, and gizmos,” he says. “Even then I knew I wanted to be on the electrical side of engineering. It’s in my blood.” Today, as president of Tri-Tech Sales Associates, he oversees work that helps power the new World Trade Center and provide aid to the New York area following the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy.
At New York Tech, Tuniewicz found an influential mentor in electrical engineering professor Edward Kafrissen, Ph.D., and a lifelong best friend in fellow student Frank McKasty (B.S. ’71), with whom he completed four years of college coursework in three years. When he graduated in 1971, jobs for electrical engineers were scarce, but Tuniewicz felt prepared to seize the right opportunity or create his own. “The important thing I learned at NYIT was organization,” he says. “To focus on something and see it through to a final result.”
Tuniewicz applied his organizational abilities as a project manager on massive construction projects for Zwicker Electric Co., a major New York City electrical contractor. His work ethic, business acumen, and inherent people skills caught the attention of the Bussmann Fuse division of Cooper Industries, which offered him a position as district sales engineer. Within five years, he had generated more than $3 million in sales, earned Bussmann’s first National Sales Award, and was ready to launch his own business.
Like many New York Tech graduates, Tuniewicz understands the value of taking a risk. When he co-founded Tri-Tech with two partners in 1981, they represented only one product line and knew they would have to build the business one relationship at a time. “Tri-Tech has survived economic up and downs because we relate to the customer,” he says. “We offer one-on-one guidance, answer questions, and listen.” Tri-Tech now works with more than 20 manufacturers and more than 220 electrical distributors. As president and CEO of ACD Inc., Tuniewicz runs a thriving global manufacturer that produces high-end electrical controls and holds nine U.S. patents.
Tuniewicz’s path to success was influenced greatly by industry leaders who guided him along the way. That’s why he wants to give back to New York Tech. “So many people don't realize how many avenues are open to them,” he says. “I didn’t plan on owning a sales company and being a manufacturer, but the skills I learned at New York Tech and my natural ability to listen and bring people together helped me thrive in both fields. I want to help young people realize their potential.”