This Alum Says His Time at RIC Laid the Foundation for His Business

Inside of gym with gym equipment
Rhode Island College Impact

Nigel Evangelista ’09 is owner of GET STRONG, a strength-training facility that caters to people over 50.

Nigel Evangelista in gym smiling

Nigel Evangelista ’09, who earned a B.A. in communication from Rhode Island College, became a personal trainer in 2012. By 2016, he opened GET STRONG, his own strength-training facility. 

What prepared Evangelista to start his own business, he says, were the skills he gained through his major and through his extracurricular activities at RIC.

From 2006-2008 Evangelista was production manager for RIC radio – WXIN, producing content and hosting his own morning show; and in his final year at RIC, he was elected vice president of Student Community Government (SCG). 

“My communication degree at RIC helped me market my business,” he says, “but my extracurricular activities had a strong impact on my career, as well. As a member of SCG, I was 20-something years old learning how the corporate structure works and how to build interpersonal connections. I learned who you need to talk to and how local government works. These are things you need to know when starting a business.”

Evangelista’s radio show, on the other hand, taught him how to infuse the entertainment aspect into his business. 

“My job as a physical trainer is all about having people entertained while making sure they get results. If they’re not enjoying their time here, they’re not going to come back,” he says.

GET STRONG has more than 80 members, mostly over the age of 50. “I never intended to attract people in their 50s or older,” he says. “They found me and I couldn’t be more grateful to work with them.”

Kim Calcagno pushing a 245lbs sled.
 Kim Calcagno pushing a 245lbs sled.

One of his clients is 51-year-old Kim Calcagno, who has been training with Evangelista for over 10 years. 

“I try to come and workout at least twice a week for 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes, depending on how energetic I feel,” she says. “Strength training has absolutely helped in my work life. Before starting here, I was getting to a point where I had gained a lot of weight and I had lost a lot of movement ability and strength. Just coming here and working out regularly has made an enormous difference.”    

Elderly woman lifts barbells in gym
Ann Saccoccio performing the Romanian Deadlift.

Ann Saccoccio ’96 M.A.T. is 63 years old and has been a member of GET STRONG for four and a half years. “I think training has made me stronger,” she says. “I’m able to do more chores around the house and I do gardening more easily without getting tired. A year ago, I broke my ankle and I was able to come back much more quickly because I was stronger overall.”

One of the oldest members of Evangelista’s gym is Nancy Beausoleil, a 71-year-old woman who has been working with him for a year and a half. “I always tell Nigel that it’s not about what you do in here but how you take what you learn and bring it outside with you. At my age, being able to move faster and feel stronger is what’s most important to me and that’s what I take from my training.”

Evangelista says he couldn’t feel prouder of all the lives he has helped change and all that he has accomplished after graduating from RIC.

Student organizations at Rhode Island College, such as Student Community Government, provide endless leadership and networking opportunities to create a more well-rounded co-curricular experience. Each semester, student organizations host an Involvement Fair/Activities Day during Free Period (12:30-2 p.m.), where students can meet with members of student organizations, get information and collect free giveaways. 

Also visit RIC’s Department of Communication for information about the major.