It’s safe to say that most people dream of achieving something, longing for a dream they feel is unique to themselves alone. On occasion, that dream of success glosses over the diligent effort needed to achieve such imagination. What was once a conceptualized dream thought up by the founders of FSG has now become a $700 million company because of the continued drive and efforts of every employee present. Heath Saraceno, FSG’s ESCO Project Manager, is definitely no exception.
“The unwise man sees being diligent as hard work and not worth the effort. The wise man smiles because he knows better. Be diligent to acquire organizational skills. The skilled worker is always organized allowing him to accomplish more.”FSG Constitution
Moving frequently as a child, the Saraceno family landed in Somerville, New Jersey when he was in eighth grade. The constant relocating, coupled with Heath being a generally reserved child made it challenging to find friends. So, he found himself tooling around with his father’s old guitar. He continued to practice every day after school, eventually becoming a dexterous young guitar player.
“I wanted to be Slash,” Heath confessed. “But then I realized I wasn’t good enough, so I found punk rock.”
In what was once a hobby, he now found solace. This led him to join his first band, which stayed together long enough to play just one live show.
Following this breakup, Heath played with Nowhere Fast for two months before forming Midtown in late 1998 at Rutgers University. With three studio albums and two Billboard Top 200 hits, Midtown rose to popularity, touring the country with Blink-182 and My Chemical Romance, but in 2005, the band broke up and Heath found himself wondering what was next.
That was until he received a call from the bassist of the alt/indie group, Senses Fail, asking if he’d be interested in playing an MTV Live show with them. Heath knew the band was searching for a new guitarist, so he approached this opportunity as if it were his audition.
He bought Senses Fail’s entire discography and learned every one of their songs over the course of a single weekend. It must have gone well, because Heath continued playing with the band for four years, releasing two studio albums and touring worldwide in the process.
In 2010, after his 30th birthday, Heath began thinking of the future and knew he needed to find a career that would sustain life for himself and his family. One day while tinkering with his pedalboard, he thought about how satisfying it must be to understand the engineering that goes into a larger-scale project.
Heath met with Bernie Erickson, FSG’s current Chief Marketing Officer and Director of Innovation, and became an Electrical Helper at FSG’s New Jersey branch, located in Perth Amboy. He was excited to learn how to become an electrician directly while shadowing experts in the field.
“In both music and electrical industries, you come across people that lack preparedness where they shouldn’t. I may not be the most knowledgeable person or the best at performing the task, but I always aim to be prepared for the task I’m about to deal with,” Heath said of the importance of thinking ahead and always being ready to adjust.
From the beginning, Heath has always been shown grace and guidance. On his first day, he arrived eager to learn, dressed in a sweater and jeans. He recalls his coworkers joking with him and advising him to make sure this was the last day he wore that to work.
Right off the bat, he was assigned to a job with Kevin Grella, now New Jersey’s Service Manager. Kevin, being an experienced electrician, was the perfect mentor for Heath, who recalled, “Maybe at first [Kevin] wasn’t thrilled that I was there, but he ended up taking me under his wing. By the end of the project, we figured out how to condense the job from two nights down to one. Every motion was calculated, and there was no wasted movement or time. It was the height of efficiency and I loved every minute of it.”
Heath touched on a mantra of his, which is approaching situations with an open mind.
”I think it’s really important to never close yourself off from receiving new information.”
Beginning as a Helper, completing his apprenticeship, moving up the ranks, and living that mantra has led Heath to become the knowledgeable and trustworthy Project Manager within ESCO he is today.
To Heath, being a member of a band parallels being a member of a crew. Both require the art of understanding people.
“In a band, if someone brings an idea you don’t like and you shoot it down, that guy will never bring another idea to the table.” He believes the same happens within a team, so he makes sure respect is at the forefront of every interaction he has.
Today, Heath manages projects with the Port Authority, Boeing, Amtrak, NJ Transit, and local customers in New Jersey. His team’s scope of work includes lighting retrofits, ESCO projects, high bay lighting, and more. Lately, he and his team have been working with the direction of Mauro Cortina to light the pivotal Holland Tunnel, which connects Jersey City and Lower Manhattan.
“Everyone on our team is looking out for you and helping you along the way. Over the past couple of years, I’ve learned so much working for my team and I’m really happy to be where I am with FSG.”
This past September, Heath and Midtown joined My Chemical Romance on their reunion tour. The assemblage was sentimental, bringing an early aughts nostalgia to the stage. Both bands got their start in New Jersey and the camaraderie between the two was felt when they mentioned each other during sets. The sold-out crowd at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas enveloped the bands’ energy, dancing, hugging, and belting lyrics from start to finish.
“There’s nothing like live music at all,” Heath iterates. “Getting into a room, turning an amp up, and hitting a huge chord, there’s just nothing like it.”
Listen to Midtown below!
Check out Heath’s feature in Alternative Press.