Jeff received his BS in Organic Chemistry from the University of Connecticut and a PhD in Polymer Science from the Institute of Materials Science located at the University of Connecticut. After earning his PhD, he completed a post-doctoral study at Montedison’s Research Center in Novara, Italy. After working in industry for several years he then earned his MBA from the Yale School of Management where he concentrated on Operations Science and Finance. He has over twenty years of experience as a technology start-up operator and investor. He was instrumental in driving the formation and operation of Everest Broadband Networks (aka EveresTV) and has run the firm as President & CEO since 2000. Prior to launching Everest, he was a Senior Vice President at Pequot Capital Management and a member of the General Partner in Pequot’s initial venture fund.

He recently took the time to discuss his appreciation for the collegiate community at SOM, fondness of the Sterling Library stacks, and his special connection to Charles Reynolds Brown, Dean of the Divinity School (1911-1928).

Why Yale?
I grew up in Milford, CT so New Haven was the main grounds for exposure to the world at large. Yale was the very top to me. I remember even as a kid, on school trips to the Peabody Museum, that Yale was a very special place and a place I knew I wanted to be a part of. The question really became "How?" more so than "Why?"

What is your most enduring memory of your time at Yale? 
So many! At its core, it was coming back to academia. I loved being in the university mindset with all the challenges and opportunities it entailed. My classmates were amazing, and I loved the professors (especially a couple of adjunct professors), a few key ones became lifelong relationships.

If you could relive your time at Yale, what would you do differently?
I'm a highly focused person. During my time at Yale that translated into taking a lot of courses at SOM. The trade-off was I didn't take courses outside of SOM, I wish I had done more of that. Today it's much more encouraged, back then it was a bit more of an anomaly. Also, I wish I had more bandwidth to do a few more extracurricular activities. I had twin infants when I was at SOM so my hands were quite full.

What is your favorite place in New Haven, past or present? 
Clark's was the best place to eat in New Haven. Old school all the way. Always loved the "tink..tink" of the spoon chasing the last bit of hot fudge at the base of the chalice-sized glass when my daughters would eat their ice cream sundae.

What is your favorite spot on campus?
The stacks in Sterling Library. I would take a break from studying and go up the elevator. It didn't matter what floor I chose, there was always some fascinating heritage to encounter. I recall one time I was up there and walked into a lab with Babylonian stones with hieroglyphics to decipher.

What's your favorite pizza place in New Haven?
Modern. Easy one.

Who is another Yalie who inspires you? Why?
A Yalie I've only met on paper, Charles Reynolds Brown, the Dean of the Divinity School from 1911-1928. Here's why:

Research shows that Charles R. Brown (Dean of the Divinity School from 1911-1928) ended up with the property mortgage for 169-171 Thomas Blvd in the early 1930's after several cycles of foreclosure procedures. In 1935, as the family faced eviction, there seemed to be a breakthrough whereby he supported my grandmother (really my Aunt Rhea as she was the only money earner in the family – who would have been 19 years old then) in garnering a Home Owner’s Loan Corporation (the federal home mortgage support entity created by President Roosevelt in the Great Depression) loan to keep the family in the house. Seems he accessed the proceeds from this loan and kept a modest 2nd mortgage on the property.

What have you gained from your alumni engagement with Yale?
I have gained more than I could have imagined from my alumni engagement with Yale. I think of all the relationships I've been fortunate to make... all the friends on the boards I've served on, all the good work I've participated in for the various committees I've worked on, all the students I've mentored, and all the interactions with the staff members and senior leaders of the university.

How did your time at Yale shape the person you are today?
Simply put, my experiences with Yale have shaped my approach to the world and the people in it. I've attained a much broader viewpoint on interacting with people and issues.

What advice would you give to current students?
I hope current students are able to understand the Yale blue layer they all have. It's there, it just needs to be used and it strengthens itself, like a muscle. And it's simple to do by having as many Yale experiences as they can... volunteering time, donating a few dollars, helping other Yalies, and getting help from other Yalies.

How would you answer? Share your responses with the YAA and they might be featured in an upcoming edition of "Getting to Know You." 

And be sure to check out all the Q&As in the series by visiting our Getting to Know You page.

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