Making It Count

As a partner with the Lohman Company, a Mesa-based accounting firm, Northern Arizona University alumnus Seth Marty, Jr., is committed to his company and clients. He is also committed to his alma mater as a member of the university’s Accounting Advisory Council. He participates in career panels and other volunteer work with the accounting fraternity Beta Alpha Psi, and also coordinates his company's university recruiting efforts. During his time in the role, he has often hired Northern Arizona University graduates.

"Our firm has about 20 people. It's a local firm, with more of a family atmosphere, and you obviously get to know people pretty well when you are working that close," Marty says. "The skills that NAU students are learning translate to being successful with us. The skill level that they're learning, and the environment they're coming from are a good match. It seems to be a good fit."

As a undergraduate student, Marty earned two scholarships, participated in intramural soccer, worked as a manager on campus, and was the treasurer of Beta Alpha Psi. Through his participation in university life, Marty says he formed lifelong bonds. During his time as an intramurals player, for instance, Marty built friendships that last to this day. He also found mentors in some of his professors and advisors. Marty says he formed an extremely meaningful bond with Dr. Ronald Pitt, formerly the Associate Provost for Academic Administration, who also served as a business professor and the faculty advisor for Beta Alpha Psi during Marty's university tenure.

"Dr. Pitt and I established a relationship where I could feel comfortable and he felt comfortable telling me what his thoughts and opinions were," says Marty. "He was helpful in assisting me with my employment decisions. Doing that was a big deal and really helped me."

A solid foundation

His university mentors were just one block of the foundation that helped Marty build his career. Marty has worked in public accounting since 1995, first working with one of the largest public accounting firms in the U.S. before joining the Lohman Company in 2002. Marty says that although he's learned a lot in his profession since graduating, he is where he is today because of the groundwork laid at Northern Arizona University.

"After graduating, I always felt like the university had given me a good foundation," says Marty. "I had a pretty good tool box of skills to build from. The things I learned—in the accounting curriculum, research, and writing—had a direct correlation to what I was going to do at a CPA firm."

Marty advises students to visit university campuses before deciding where to attend, and to look for the environment that will best fit their needs. Having been involved extensively with universities as both a student and professional, Marty says that "fit" is key, and that understanding the difference between how a place looks on paper and what it is actually like is critical to future success.

"Go visit the campus. Find out what you are interested in—whether it is a big campus where you're a number or a small one where you're not," he says. "Talk to people there, sit in on a class—really see what it's like—and you'll be able to make the best decision for you to succeed."