CCAC Alum Focuses on Helping Others
Before graduating from Perry Traditional Academy in 1989, Carlos Carter received acceptance letters from several local colleges, and eventually committed to Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). However, Carlos never made it to IUP for the fall semester. "I didn’t want to get into debt with loans," he says. "My mom even lost some money in the whole process.
Rather than matriculating to college, Carlos accepted a job at McDonald’s and diligently worked to earn enough money to pay for his education.
Even though he had decided against attending IUP, Carlos knew he wanted to obtain an education and looked at the Community College of Allegheny County. "The community college was widely known for saving people money," he says. "It was purely economical for me."
Carlos said some of his friends teased him about attending the "13th grade" at CCAC. But the teasing didn’t keep him from enrolling at Allegheny Campus in the spring of 1990. "I was a little uncertain, but financially it was the way to go," he says.
Carlos spent two years at CCAC and obtained an AS in general studies. During his first three years of high school, Carlos said he was not much of a student, but worked hard to make the honor roll in his senior year. "I came to CCAC and was determined to work hard," he says. "Just because I didn’t do well in high school, didn’t mean I couldn’t do well in college. It was an opportunity to redeem myself, and I think I did very well."
Not only did he excel in the classroom, but he met Marcia Berry, whom he married in 1995. Carlos said he was introduced to Marcia through his cousins, who also attended CCAC.
After graduating from CCAC in 1992, Carlos transferred to the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt). While taking a full course load, Carlos also worked for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to provide for his son. "Pitt was a lot bigger, but I was very comfortable there," he says. "I had to balance many things, but I was really determined to be successful and get my education. I wasn’t letting anything get in my way. I was very proactive."
Once he completed his BS in business administration from Pitt in 1994, Carlos returned to CCAC where he took several GMAT Prep courses.
In 1995, he left UPMC and accepted a job with Mellon Financial Corporation in the trust department. While working at Mellon, Carlos began working toward an MBA with a concentration in finance at Robert Morris University. He held several positions at Mellon, and was a portfolio administrator when he graduated with his MBA in 2000.
Shortly after receiving his MBA, Carlos was accepted into Mellon’s renowned Credit Training Program, and was soon hired as a commercial credit analyst. When Mellon sold its middle-market banking business to Citizens Bank in 2001, Carlos became a commercial credit analyst for Citizens and a lender shortly thereafter.
Carlos worked for Citizens until April 2005 when he accepted a position as vice president and medical and dental lender at PNC Bank. A year later, he received a call from Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank. The company, which operated an office in Greentree, was planning to expand and open an office in downtown Pittsburgh. Carlos was offered a job as vice president of commercial lending. "It was a difficult decision for me," he says. "I was doing something that was completely new at PNC. I had to build-up from the grassroots, and I was becoming very successful."
After much deliberation, Carlos left PNC and started at Fifth Third Bank in June 2006. The Bank now operates 10 locations in Pittsburgh and is ranked 299 on the Fortune 500 list. As vice president of commercial lending, Carlos is responsible for managing relationships with middle-market companies—those that have $10 to $500 million in annual revenues.
Outside of work, Carlos has a very active life with his family and within the community. He is currently a member of Leadership Pittsburgh’s 2007-08 Leadership Development Initiative, a nine-month program that brings leaders together and provides them with the necessary tools to affect positive change in the Pittsburgh region. Carlos also serves as a trustee/treasurer for Holy Family Social Services and is also on the Finance Committee for Holy Family Institute. He serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees for Triumph Baptist Church in Sewickley, and is a member of the Building Committee. Carlos says he and his wife occasionally teach Sunday school classes at their church. "I don’t like to be on boards just in name," he says. "I like to be active, but I also like to be accessible to my family. I was raised in a single-family home, and I didn’t even meet my dad until I was 24-years-old. If I’m not there when my kids need me, I can’t sleep at night."
Carlos and Marcia have three sons: Elijah, 16, Daylon, 10 and Isaiah, 5, who are very active in sports. Carlos volunteers with the Ambridge Basketball Boosters. In the past, the Carter family has worked with Holy Family Institute to host children in need. "We just do what we can," he says. "I believe we have a heart for helping people. Success is realizing your potential, and helping others realize their potential and making a difference are the things that are important to me. It’s what motivates me."
Carlos encourages current and potential CCAC students to be proactive with their education: "Take ownership of your education. You have to participate in your learning. Most importantly, believe in yourself."
"The quality and caliber of the education at CCAC was comparable to my education at Pitt and Robert Morris. I would put CCAC up against any university. CCAC got me started. After that, I just took off."
Editor’s note: Carlos currently serves as the alumni advisor to the CCAC Office of Equity and Diversity’s External Diversity Committee. He graduated from Leadership Pittsburgh’s Leadership Development Initiative in 2008. Carlos sang the national anthem at CCAC’s Commencement Ceremony in 2008, and was recently honored as a distinguished alumnus by Allegheny County Council.