Q: So how does somebody wind up becoming a controller?
A: I originally wanted to become a math teacher, but I remember moving toward accounting after doing a high-school project on a complicated tax return. I think that’s when I seriously began considering a career as an accountant.
Q: Is there some special skill you have that leads you toward becoming a CPA and a Controller?
A: The skill you need, I suppose, is to be aware of things. You almost need to be like a detective in having a talent for observation. When you look at something, you need to have a passion for comparing numbers and ultimately recognizing when something’s off.
Q: You sound like someone who likes doing audits.
A: I do. Audits are important and are necessary for an institution such as ours, which needs to take care and take every precaution to ensure that every dime of the public’s funds is guarded and expended appropriately. Audits are conducted with respect to the Foundation as well as the federal and State funds that the College receives. We review our enrollment to ensure that we are accurately calculating student credit hours.
Q: So how did you wind up working for Union?
A: Being a Cranford resident and a parent of two, I understood the value of the College to the community and thought that coming to work for Union would be a good fit for me. I appreciate the opportunity of helping students, giving them an opportunity to go on in life.
Q: I see you’re involved with the Middle States core committee.
A: Yes, I’m on the core committee and I’m co-chair of the Governance, Leadership, and Administration Committee along with Michele Cislo and Tom Truchan.
Q: And Middle States has assigned you to a visiting team to assess other institutions seeking accreditation?
A: Yes I have. Next March, I’ll be participating on a Middle States visiting team for (a community college in the State University of New York System). I’ll be receiving some training in September and will participate in the annual Middle States convention in December in Washington, D.C.
Q: So what would you say was the toughest job you’ve had over the last 14 years?
A: I’d definitely say my involvement in the implementation of Colleague (integrated information) system proved to be extremely difficult but also extremely important work. When Finance ‘went live’ with Colleague in fiscal year 2011, we were able to bring a new, improved, and fully integrated service to support key College operations.
Q: So was Colleague your greatest achievement at the College, would you say?
A: There are a number of new and improved processes we’ve implemented over the years.
Q: Like what?
A: The most recent one would be in Student Accounts in implementing a new payment plan that affords students better flexibility for paying their bill. But I would also say we have participated in other important initiatives over the years, such as the expansion of facilities. The Finance Department plays a key role in helping improve facilities. Five years ago we opened the Kellogg Building in Elizabeth. And in the next year or so, the Cranford Campus will benefit from a new student-service building.
Q: So Finance is helping students, but behind the scenes.
A: Definitely. When we find ways to streamline operations and cut costs in some areas, we are able to identify funding to help our students in other ways. As you know, especially for those of us in Finance, it’s all about the students.