Before he co-founded Univers Workplace Solutions, Hammonton’s Lou Pantalone, 57, was a professional firefighter. On his “off days” he also worked as a mason, chimney sweep and bass player in a band, he said.

While driving his chimney-sweep truck in Winslow Township one day, he noticed a  burning building. He pulled the ladders off his truck and rescued a man from the third floor, as well as several others on a porch roof, he said. He got a governor’s heroism award for that feat.

The 1973 graduate of St. Joseph High School in Hammonton earned his associate’s degree at Harford Community College in Maryland, then got a football scholarship to Towson State College (now University) near Baltimore. After an injury sidelined him, he went to the University of Maryland’s Fire and Rescue Institute.

Pantalone was a Baltimore firefighter, then assistant fire chief for 10 years at Ancora Psychiatric Hospital in Hammonton, and director of safety for the state Department of Human Services.

“I couldn’t advance myself any further,” he said. “I wanted to do more.”

He and Greg Morano, of Hammonton, were working for Prudential, helping casino executives administer group benefits, and saw a need to improve communications with employees.

They started Univers in 1992. Today it has 1,300 full-time and part-time workers, a headquarters in Hammonton and offices in California, Florida and Georgia.

Pantalone is married to Joanne (Monzo), has two daughters and is the Hammonton Lions Club’s 2013 Citizen of the Year. A luncheon in his honor is sold out, organizers said.

ACCC alumni

Past recipients of the Atlantic Cape Community College President’s Distinguished Alumni Award include Katherine M. Morris, Esq., partner, Cooper Levenson, Attorneys at Law; Michael R. Rann, Esq., Michael R. Rann Law Offices, LLC; and Janice DeCicco, Ed.D., superintendent, Northfield School District.

Atlantic Cape is seeking nominations for this year’s award to recognize one of its alumni at graduation, May 23, for professional, personal or community-based accomplishments. Submit nominations at

atlantic.edu/alumni  by March 22.

Artistic salute

Producing Artistic Director Steve Steiner, of the Ocean Professional Theatre Company in Manahawkin and Barnegat, will be honored at “Salute to Ocean County: A Celebration of Arts and Heritage,” 6:30 p.m. April 10 at the Arts and Community Center at Ocean County College in Toms River. Contact Timothy Hart, 732-929-4779 or thart@co.ocean.nj.us.