Alumni Achievement Award
James (66) and Angelo (56)
IBM, Husky, St. Michaels College, Church Street Marketplace. Hospitals,
schools, office buildings, industrial parks, condos. Its nearly
impossible to go anywhere in Chittenden County without seeing the work
of the Pizzagalli Construction Company. Pizzagalli-built UVM projects
alone include the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Center, Gucciardi Recreation
and Fitness Center, Kalkin Hall, and the Cook Building, among others.
Brothers Angelo, James, and Remo Pizzagalli have been key to the more
than three-decade run of growth for the company. UVM honored alumni Angelo
56 and James 66 with its 2002 Alumni Achievement Award this
One of the great successes among Vermont businesses, the Pizzagalli story
starts with family patriarch Angelo, Sr., an Italian immigrant stonecutter.
The family business focus would shift from pre-cast stone to general construction
in the late 1950s, one of the first projects a simple flagpole foundation
at the U.S. Post Office in Middlebury.
From those humble beginnings, Pizzagalli Construction has grown into one
of the nations largest privately owned building contractors, with
nearly 800 employees nationwide and annual volume of some $260 million.
Though a great deal of their work is in Vermont, Pizzagalli projects are
spread across the nation and internationally.
The companys diverse projects include advanced manufacturing facilities,
commercial and institutional buildings, industrial and manufacturing facilities,
and water and wastewater treatment plants throughout the U.S. and in the
Pizzagalli brothers have also made the time to serve as volunteers on
behalf of the full range of Vermont's business and community organizations.
Through work on the Board of Trustees (which Angelo chaired from 1986-88),
school and college advisory boards, and generous financial gifts to the
university, Angelo and James alma mater has been a key recipient
of Pizzagalli family support.
Bill Allard '71
it comes to unfettered verbal flow, Bill Allard 71 is a lord of
the larynx, a titan of the tongue. It must be said: The man can gab.
Nothing unexpected about that a powerful line of patter is expected
equipment for a comedian, actor, filmmaker, and co-founder of San Franciscos
beloved Ducks Breath Mystery Theater. But Allard is a novelist,
too, so the fact that he harnessed his manic verbal gifts to produce a
charming, humane book on San Franciscos dot-com insanity is pure
Im not an author, he says. Im a video producer,
But the zaniness of late 1990s San Francisco piqued his love of
the absurd. That period will go down like the Summer of Love,
he says. Money didnt make any sense. And from the insanity,
another vocation and Splurch.com was born.
Allard had morphed careers before. He left UVM to attend medical school,
but soon found himself drawn to theater. The rush of the stage trumped
the prestige of a white coat. The challenge compelled him as well. Allard
was sure he could eventually become a good doctor, but was completely
terrified of his prospects as an actor. A similar lurch, well, splurch,
into the unknown drove his writing. The nascent novelist dreamed up six
characters and a spectacularly ill-conceived company for a newspaper serial,
and the story grew and grew as he traced their lives, loves and IPO prospects.
Writing the book was compelling, even addictive for Allard, but he still
loves film. He recently played a chili-crazed cook in a martial arts western
(photo), and he is working on a screenplay with the executive producer
of Ali. But the splurch set is still churning in his subconscious. Another
novel, perhaps, Bill?
I have pages of outlines. I can follow those characters until the
end of time, Allard says.
Or at least until the NASDAQs next bomb.
Splurch.com is available on Amazon.com.
Short Journey from Damn! to Eureka!
Annie Keller 00
at times springs from the ashes of failure. Its something that might
also be said for Annie Kellers research career, which essentially
began when she flunked her first exam in Professor Joseph Schalls
Evolutionary Biology course. She can tell you the score (42)
and her rank in the class (last) with a smile these days. I kind
of panicked on the test, Keller says
Better prepared mentally for the second exam, she notched the highest
grade in the class. A little too high, Schall suspected, and kept an eye
on Keller as she took the third. Eyes firmly on her own paper, Keller
proved she was neither cheat nor fluke and soon had an invitation from
Schall to do research work in his lab. Keller was immediately drawn to
the research life. When I saw some of my first results, it was such
a fulfilling feeling of accomplishment, she says. An unfocused student
previously, she homed in on molecular biology.
It wouldnt be long until Keller would make her first mark as a researcher.
Keller, graduate student Susan Perkins G00, and fellow undergrad
Jennifer Martin 99 were studying haemogregarines blood parasites
common in reptiles, amphibians, and birds when they became the
first people to successfully pick out the parasites gene from the
blood of its host lizard, and to discover that multiple copies of the
gene exist. They would publish their work in the Journal of Parasitology.
Days after graduating from UVM in May 2000 with her bachelors in
biology, Annie Keller landed a job that would be a career-long dream for
many scientists she works in the gene-sequencing facility at the
American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
Keller teams with other scientists on a NASA-funded project to study the
evolution and sequence the DNA of invertebrates such as scorpions, spiders,
and cockroaches from throughout the world. We hope and expect that
the genetic information we compile will be beneficial to future NASA discoveries,
The next stop planned for Kellers scientific career is graduate
school for a masters and likely a doctorate in forensic science,
which she plans to pursue while continuing her work at the museum. Kellers
not exactly sure where her path will lead after that, but it is doubtful
her focus will waver. She says, I just really like the idea of using
science to change lives.