From Co-op Student to Co-op Sponsor—and Cheerleader
Alum David Sequino is committed to sponsoring and hiring Northeastern students
David Sequino, E’90, electrical engineering, is proud to say that every employee in the Boston office of his company, INTEGRITY Security Services (ISS), is not only a Northeastern graduate—but almost all were also former co-op students. As co-founder and chief executive officer of ISS, Sequino has been an enthusiastic supporter of Northeastern’s co-op program since the company was created in 2010. Every semester, ISS sponsors up to five Northeastern co-op students—and it hires many of them.
Why is Sequino such a firm believer in Northeastern and its co-op program? Because he experienced the inherent value of co-op firsthand while earning his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
“Co-op is the primary reason I came to Northeastern,” says Sequino. “I loved the practical nature of it, the fact that I could gain hands-on experience while also paying for my education. But my three co-op experiences also taught me that I had a real passion for the ‘front end’, or the business aspect, of product engineering—as opposed to playing a more technical role. That saved me years of post-graduate trial and error while I figured that out. Instead, I was able to move right into sales and marketing positions, which led to starting my own company.”
But Sequino’s passion for Northeastern’s co-op program extends beyond his own undergraduate experience. As he began to recruit engineering talent for his start-up company, he struggled to find the right candidates in his California office. “ISS develops encryption systems for embedded devices, and our customers include the world’s leading automotive, aerospace and defense, industrial, and semiconductor companies,” explains Sequino. “We secure and manage billions of customers’ safety-critical devices and applications, each of which must be secure and perform flawlessly. The stakes are high.”
“Developing reliable security systems is exciting, but challenging, work,” he continues. “It demands a certain skillset, work ethic, and commitment to problem-solving. We have a core team in California with exceptional skills, but we needed to hire and train the next generation of embedded security experts. Embedded security is the ‘high end’ of ‘high tech’ so we needed smart, hungry engineers—and NU is the place we’ve found the best candidates.”
Sequino suggested to his colleagues that they start interviewing Northeastern graduates, as well as sponsoring undergraduates through the co-op program. “When I told my executive team about the amazing level of talent that was coming out of Northeastern, they couldn’t believe it,” he recalls. “They thought I was over-selling. But they were blown away once we started bringing Northeastern students and alums on board. And now here we are, 12 years later, with our entire Boston office made up of Huskies. And a steady stream of co-op students every semester.”
Ask Sequino what makes Northeastern students so special, and he doesn’t hesitate for a second before answering, “They’re incredibly intelligent. They’re exceptional engineers. They’re driven. They work hard. They’re loyal. They’re honest. They’re absolute warriors who love solving problems. Over the course of 12 years, we’ve learned to just give them a challenge and get out of their way. ISS appeals to new engineers because they have the opportunity to attack real problems from day one on the job,” he notes.
Based on Sequino’s experience as both a co-op student and a co-op sponsor, the key to a successful experience can be summed up in one word: applied. “A co-op experience shouldn’t be theoretical, and it shouldn’t involve watching other people work. It needs to be applied. It needs to be practical. And it needs to be hands-on. Writing good code requires a team approach, and ISS gives NU co-ops and alums a balanced workplace of senior experts and tough security problems to learn from.” he emphasizes.
“ISS gives our co-op students a unique opportunity to do real work, for real customers. They’re engineering actual product solutions,” Sequino states. “We’ve found that, when you do that, the results are amazing. The quality of their solutions and their level of productivity are nothing short of incredible. That’s why we keep bringing them onboard.”
“My own co-op experiences at Northeastern were very applied and very practical, which put me on my own path to success,” notes Sequino. “I’m grateful for that, and I’m happy to support the success of other engineering students. It’s a rewarding feeling. I’m so proud of our Boston office, which is genuinely like a family.”
Sequino encourages other alums to consider giving back to the next generation of engineers by becoming a co-op sponsor. “The co-op administration team in the College of Engineering is really great to work with, and they excel at matching companies with the right students. It’s a very simple and very straightforward process that, I promise, will generate enormous rewards for your business,” he concludes.