Alumni Spotlight

Steven Abbatello, Class of 1980

Steve Abbatello, Class of 1980, is the retired senior vice president and general manager of Global Mining and Colloidal Technologies at Ecolab, a global leader in water, hygiene, and energy technologies and services that protect people and vital resources.

Starting in 1980, Steve worked with Nalco in a variety of positions including field engineer, district manager (Virginia, Texas, Australia), regional manager (Asia Pacific), strategic business leader for heavy industry (Asia Pacific-Singapore based), global marketing manager, general manager global mining, and strategic business leader mining and metals.

He joined Ecolab in 2011(via acquisition of Nalco) and while there oversaw the Global delivery of world-class service, technology, and expertise to make water systems, manufacturing processes, and end products more efficient, profitable, and sustainable. He was responsible for the growth and development of the people, who make growing the business profitability possible. Commercializing innovative technology was key to customer and business success, and his team deployed flotation and dewatering technology developed by Dr. Roe-Hoan Yoon and his team at Virginia Tech. Steve attributes his successful career to important relationships: “I had the ultimate fortune of having a very strong management team as well as being surrounded by great people—with many being Hokies!”

Steve earned a bachelor’s degree in mining and mineral engineering from Virginia Tech in 1980 and also has taken an array of executive education courses. He continues to serve Virginia Tech as a member of the College of Engineering Advisory Board, and he is an emeritus board member for the mining and minerals engineering department. Currently, Steve does independent consulting, leads church mission (home construction) teams, volunteers for veteran’s causes, and is a charter fishing Captain on the Texas coast. Steve currently resides in Aransas Pass, Texas, and Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia.