Today’s class: December 5, 2014


John Sinnott (left) and Hafzat Akanni. Hafzat served as today’s host welcoming her fellow Irishman, John Sinnott, to Hope High and introducing him to today’s Life Skills class.

It began with two people from the same place, albeit different times, meeting for the first time.

An engineer and former NFL football player and an outstanding student athlete.  One from Gilbane Building Company, the other from Hope High School.

Both from Ireland.

Hafzat introphoto

Hafzat introducing John Sinnott to her Life Skills classmates at the beginning of today’s class.

John Sinnott, the engineer and former football player.   Hafzat Akanni, the outstanding student athlete.

John’s comments to ‘Life Skills’ teacher Stephen Cronin after the class about Hafzat’s introduction – “Stephen, I was immediately impressed with Hafzat.  You can tell she’ ll be successful.  Her poise, the confidence and humility she expressed during her introduction with me;  great eye contact, a genuine smile and good handshake made me feel welcome to your class.  And the respect she gave me during the class introduction, she has a great personal brand!   By the way, it seems all the students present themselves well.  

What great brands, not only for this class


Manny Rivas introducing himself to John Sinnott while Alyssa Korol-Korolevskiy awaits her turn to network with John Sinnott during the networking period of today’s class.

but for Hope High. I’m impressed.

John Sinnott began his conversation with an explanation of what an engineer is, the types of engineering work he does at Gilbane, the fact there are many women in engineering and management positions at the company and how he became an engineer.  He also went on to explain Gilbane’s LAB program.

The LAB (Learn, Apply, Build) program is based on the concept that if high school seniors are given the opportunity to utilize their creative, technical and business skills within the construction environment, then the industry becomes much more appealing. The program reaches out to students while they’re still in high school to spark their interest and increase the chance of them going on to college and obtaining a degree in engineering or construction management. Students in the LAB program LEARN to identify and pursue their passions, which fuels their education.  Students APPLY their knowledge and gain skills from on-the-job opportunities; Gilbane helps LAB students BUILD their careers for a successful future in the construction industry.  Once LAB students graduate from high school, they begin a full-time job with Gilbane as an engineering clerk, averaging around 30 hours a week. In that capacity, they learn about Gilbane and its operations and are assigned to a project site where they are paired with a mentor who provides guidance and acts as a resource while students assist the team in the construction delivery process. While working full-time, the LAB students attend the Community College of Rhode Island part-time with tuition support from Gilbane.  If a 3.0 grade-point average is maintained at CCRI, Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island will then provide unconditional acceptance into its Construction Management program.  Students typically complete their associate degree in business management or a related field in four years or less while continuing their work at Gilbane 24 hours per week. Graduates are typically promoted to office engineers or another function where they can then begin to build their professional careers.  Now that Mr Sinnott is part of each ‘Life Skills’ students network, they may reach out to him for additional information.
Mr Sinnott then shared a personal story about his family emigrating to America from Ireland when he was a young boy and his challenges trying to fit into a new school.  He spoke about the bullying he encountered and how he joined extra curricular high school activities in an attempt to be accepted by his classmates.    It worked.  John Sinnott became an outstanding high school football and track athlete.  After high school graduation, Mr Sinnott matriculated and played football at Brown University.  After graduating from Brown, he was drafted in the 3rd round of the NFL (National Football League) playing for the Cardinals and Colts before retiring after 4 seasons.
The class concluded with personal networking time for ‘Life Skills’ students to offer personal introductions, exchange business cards and bringing John Sinnott into their personal network.Sinnott5photo









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