Troy Graziani '08: In the driver's seat

Troy Graziani '08 says it seems like just yesterday that he lived in a small apartment on Hughes Avenue and attended classes at Canisius College. Today he can be found sitting in Toyota’s corporate offices, in downtown Nagoya-Shi, Japan, where he works as a senior business analyst, project manager and regional coordinator for the multinational car company. Graziani is a liaison between Japan and North America operations, responsible for communication on key developments and projects.

An ambitious student, Graziani was fueled by his drive to succeed and perhaps a bit of parental influence. (His mother, Lynne (Walker) ’78 and father, John P. ’78 are also Canisius alumni). The marketing and business management major collaborated with students at the University de Chile to launch the Travel USA tourism company. Graziani also participated in a project on how to launch a hybrid electric car company, CC Electric. He was active in the Business Honors Society and received both the college’s Marketing Excellence and Management Excellence awards during his senior year. Graziani credits his Canisius professors for fine-tuning his business interests.

"The teachers in the business program were great -- they knew you by name in a small classroom setting, which helped in learning," he recalls. "On the whole, my Canisius experience and the Jesuit tradition of teaching gave me a more-worldly point of view, which comes into play at my job in Japan."

After Canisius, Graziani pursued his MBA from the University of Rochester, where he concentrated on finance and corporate accounting. An internship with Toyota Industries North America, outside of Binghamton, NY, ultimately led to a full-time financial analyst position with a division of the company that manufactures electric forklift trucks.

Graziani’s experience, education and enthusiasm earned him his current three-year assignment in Japan. The goal, he says, is to learn Toyota’s company culture firsthand. Upon completion, Graziani will return to North America in a management role. The assignment, he notes, leaves him little time to explore Nagoya-Shi, a city of nearly nine million, but the people and his co-workers are very welcoming.

"My assignment with Toyota is going well and I am confident it can grow into a senior level management position," Graziani concludes. "Looking back, Canisius College is an exceptional institution that gave me some great opportunities to start this career."