John Catalano ’14 VSB, ’20 MBA embodies the VSB motto of fostering “business leaders for a better world.” He serves as the newly crowned ESG (environmental, social, and governance) Manager for Essential Utilities, a water and gas utility company serving 10 states including Pennsylvania. 

Catalano, a licensed CPA, received his undergraduate and MBA degrees from VSB and gained experience at PwC and QVC before joining Essential Utilities. His new role was recently created and highlighted in the company’s most recent investor presentation. He works to help the company align itself with the best practices surrounding sustainability, social responsibility and inclusion. 

Catalano is a strong believer in the power of business to address critical issues in the world, and this passion was developed at Villanova. 

As a sophomore, Catalano explored different clubs and activities in hopes of finding a subject he was passionate about. A speaker at a Business without Borders meeting sparked his interest in socially responsible business. The speaker was from B Lab, a non-profit that scores and certifies companies with a high level of social and environmental engagement, transparency and accountability. 

During his time at Villanova, Catalano had opportunities to learn more about socially responsible business ethos through a speech from Jerry Greenfield, founder of Ben and Jerry’s, and a lunch with James Sinegal, Costco's founder. The founders of the two companies, which are known for their commitment to business ethics, emphasized the importance of conducting business in a way that benefits suppliers, customers, employees and the earth.   

While developing his business skills as an undergrad at VSB, Catalano also earned a Peace and Justice minor. As an MBA student, he took classes in Sustainable Engineering to learn more about how systems can be designed without a negative impact to the planet. He reflects that his business education gave him the tools he needs to manage projects and present ideas whether he is talking to management or engineers. 

He advises students to keep an open mind when it comes to finding their path. Catalano let his varied interests guide him to a position that combined his passion for sustainability, peace and justice, and business. He looks forward to watching VSB continue to develop curriculum around sustainability and ESG themes. 

John Catalano ’14 VSB, ’20 MBA

John Catalano ’14 VSB, ’20 MBA

“There is a need for individuals with a business background to step into roles involving social responsibility.”