New York Institute of Technology Fall 2020

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AlumniSpotlights

REINVENTORS OF THE FUTURE

CO U RTE SY O F J O H N EICH H O R N; CO U RTE SY O F RO B ERT GAR L AN D; CO U RTE SY O F M ICHAEL L ALU NA

INNOVATORS

John Eichhorn (B.S. ’09), Robert Garland (B.S. ’08), Michael LaLuna (B.S. ’08)

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n 2005, John Eichhorn and Robert Garland met on the first day of baseball practice and became fast friends. “We were inseparable,” says Eichhorn. “We worked out together, hung out together, attended the same classes, and trained together.” Eichhorn and Michael LaLuna, an accounting major, had met the year before and became roommates in 2006. The three men would go on to create many memories and a lifelong bond. But their time at New York Institute of Technology didn’t only foster a friendship, it also gave them the foundation to jump-start their careers—Eichhorn, a criminal justice major, and Garland, a behavioral sciences major, pursued careers in law enforcement and LaLuna became a certified public accountant. “The School of Management has some fantastic professors that really helped me understand the inner workings of a business,” says LaLuna. “Most of that education is certainly paying off today.” About one year ago, Eichhorn, Garland, and LaLuna came together to start a new venture, and

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on July 22, 2020, they launched FundtheFirst.com, an on online-verified crowdfunding contribution platform that enables anyone to host a campaign for first responders in need, including fire, emergency medical services, law enforcement, military, and medical. Garland got the idea for the platform after his New York Police Department (NYPD) colleague needed assistance to help pay for his daughter’s rising health-care costs as she battled a rare neurodegenerative disease. Garland, an NYPD detective, created an online contribution campaign that raised $14,000. “I came up with the idea three years ago and thought this could change the lives of thousands of people,” says Garland. When he was thinking about who he could partner with on this venture, he went back to his baseball days and reached out to his good friends Eichhorn and LaLuna. The three alumni developed FundtheFirst.com with the goal of helping those in need and putting an end to scammers and criminals who use first


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