John Cerqueira – A Man of Many Talents
John Cerqueira has a rich background in sales. He’s also a writer.
He’s also one of the people who helped carry a woman from the World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks.
He was a strategic sales professional at the time. He says 9/11 still haunts him and it’s something that affects him in small ways.
Early Life and Education
When john cerqueira ’01 was 22 years old and fresh out of NC State, he was living in New York City and working as a telecommunications sales executive. He remembers the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks vividly and was one of the first to help people out.
In the days following 9/11, he and his boss helped carry a disabled woman from the 68th floor of the North Tower to safety. She was in a motorized wheelchair that wasn’t easy to lift, let alone move down the stairs.
Cerqueira is now a regional vice president at ASLAN, a New York-based sales training firm. He recently spoke at the NC State Crafts Center’s Art of Remembrance event, which recognized the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It was a chance for NC State students and faculty to celebrate the impact of that day, as well as to honor those who were injured or killed that day.
Fresh out of North Carolina State at age 22, John Cerqueira was working in a New York City telecommunications job when the September 11th terrorist attacks hit. As the story goes, he and his coworkers helped a disabled woman scramble down the 68th floor of Tower One.
After reading about the heroics of that day in news media, Cerqueira decided to share his story with Corning. He was a bit reluctant to provide details for the first few days of the investigation, but eventually agreed to speak with Jonathan Sipin, shift technician in charge of employee complaints.
During the next twelve days, Corning’s supervisors met with Cerqueira, his wife, and others to gather more information about his claims of harassment. They also conducted interviews with witnesses and reviewed email records. The investigation was prompt and well-coordinated. The record reveals a good faith effort by Corning to resolve the complaint quickly and prevent the harassment from occurring in the future.
Achievements and Honors
John Cerqueira, who had recently graduated from NC State, was working on the 81st floor of Tower 1 when the terrorist attack happened. He and his boss helped carry a wheelchair-bound woman down 68 flights of stairs, and that moment changed him forever.
Now a strategic sales professional, Cerqueira helps people work through adversity and build more meaningful, satisfying lives. He also helps people deal with grief.
In addition, he has been involved in research to improve the survival of transplanted Schwann cells and to lure regenerating axons to extend and reconnect with the spared tissue. This work has received the WiNTR-VISA award and will allow him to travel to Bonn, Germany, for a research collaboration with Dr. Frank Bradke.
On Saturday, September 11, the Crafts Center, along with Arts NC State, the music and dance departments, Military and Veteran Services and others hosted the Art of Remembrance to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the attacks. The event included presentations from esteemed artists, including Charles Moretz ’72.
John Cerqueira is a man of many talents, but his most important gift is selflessness. He believes this is the key to happiness and fulfillment in life.
In 2001, he had just graduated from North Carolina State and was working for a New York City telecommunications company when the World Trade Center bombing occurred. He and his coworkers were unsure what to do as the plane hit, but they were able to get their colleagues out of the building through an open stairwell.
They encountered a woman in a wheelchair who needed help. She was unable to move her own wheelchair, so Benfante and one of his sales reps, John Cerqueira, stowed her in a light-weight evacuation chair and began helping her to the ground floor. They carried her down 68 flights of stairs, exiting five minutes before the towers collapsed.
Cerqueira has an estimated net worth of $1.5 million as of 2021. She has accumulated her fortune through various sources of income, including her acting career. She is a popular actress in Brazil. She has appeared in a number of TV shows. Her most famous works include Flaviana in the twenty-first season of teen soap Malhacao and Clara in Rede Globo’s Eterna Magia.
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Cerqueira was a hero among the chaos. He was 22 years old at the time and spent the early morning of September 11th carrying a disabled woman from the 68th floor of World Trade Center to safety. He was later recognized for his act by Bethphage, an affiliate of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.