Alumnus and Trump VP speaks at networking event
By Steve Seepersaud
"I didn't even appear on The Apprentice to get my job, and I haven't heard the words 'you're fired' in the seven years [I've been there]," said Ron Lieberman '87 about his position as executive vice president for The Trump Organization.
Lieberman discussed his career path, including how he got to work with Donald Trump, before a group of nearly 80 alumni at a Jan. 24 networking event in Manhattan sponsored by the Alumni Association and its Metro New York Chapter.
"For me, that path started at this great institution Binghamton, and I'm forever grateful for that. We're all very lucky to have the opportunity to go to such a great institution," he said.
Prior to working in Trump Tower, Lieberman was head of the revenue division of New York City's Parks Department. He negotiated a contract to give Trump the operation of the ice rink within Central Park. Through the brokering of the deal, they became friends and Trump eventually offered Lieberman an opportunity to work for him. Lieberman oversees a number of businesses such as real estate holdings, a modeling agency and golf courses. Currently, he is involved in the project to build the Ferry Point golf course in The Bronx underneath the Whitestone Bridge.
"Golf courses are not an easy business or a great financial model," Lieberman said. "We cherry pick the best properties with terrific bones. We buy them cheap and then Donald spends his money fixing them up. He puts his name and his brand on them, and this has been a terrific formula for success for us."
Lieberman shared a few anecdotes about his boss, showing the tough and human sides of "The Donald," such as Trump's threatening to take out a newspaper ad to shame a vendor that owed him money, or paying off the mortgage of a young couple that helped him fix a flat tire on a busy Los Angeles freeway.
"I work on the same floor as [Donald] and I'm in and out of his office at least 10 times a day," Lieberman says. "I talk to people all the time and they ask me what it's like. People who hate him don't know him the way I know him. He's very personable, a warm guy, very philanthropic. And, he's incredibly funny."
At the event, President Harvey Stenger shared that the University's enrollment is growing and he would like it to reach 20,000 students by 2020.
"Things have changed significantly, and some alumni say 'Is this really my Binghamton University?'" Stenger said. "I tell them it is. Bigger is better and Binghamton University should be bigger because we are good. Why should we let students be educated at other universities when we can do it better?"
Anne McCall, dean of Harpur College of Arts and Sciences, said she came to Binghamton University for the same reason as the alumni who attended the reception; she was attracted by the caliber of students and the University's academic profile.
"We are a University of accomplishment and opportunity," McCall said. "We have students who can go to extremely affluent universities but they come to Binghamton because they know they can get the same kinds of opportunities in a more real setting."
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