With an Associate’s degree from Asnuntuck Community College, you can work right after graduation. Just ask four Asnuntuck Community College alumnae who work for Turgeon & Associates, a Certified Public Accounting firm in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. It is not just a job for the four. They each now have a career. Asnuntuck Professor Cheryl Turgeon has had each of the four as students. She said she was easily able to recommend each of the alumnae with confidence, when her husband John was looking to fill positions at his growing business.
John Turgeon, a CPA, has more than 21 years of experience in the audit, review and tax areas of public accounting and in recent years has begun doing business in financial services, business consulting and insurance. As his business has continued to grow, he has been expanding his employee base as well. Professor Turgeon said that her interaction with students at the college has allowed her to discuss career possibilities with students and share candidates with her husband. Both John and the students agree that their course work at Asnuntuck has prepared them well for the workplace. Professor Turgeon taught CSA 105 Introduction to Software Applications to Marisa McCain, Nancy Gegesky, Barbara Kaczor and Danuta Bartoszewicz. “They all exhibited a strong work ethic,” explained Turgeon. She said she followed all of them through their degree completion at Asnuntuck.
Professor Turgeon said it was in 2014 when her husband moved his office from Holyoke to East Longmeadow. She said he needed someone to do QuickBooks and she knew the person to do it. Marissa had been in her class and had tutored students on QuickBooks for a year and a half at Asnuntuck’s Academic Skills center. Next John needed payroll assistance and that is when Marisa’s mother Nancy, also an Asnuntuck graduate was then hired. Danuta and Barbara both joined the company last year. “They have all grown tremendously,” says Professor Turgeon.
Originally hired for two days she laughs when she shares what happened at the end of day one. Impressed with her skills John asked her to come on full-time. The accountant is now the acting Chief Financial Officer for one of Turgeon & Associates international corporate clients, worth half a billion dollars with offices in Switzerland and New York. She is responsible for invoices, accounts receivables and payables. She also is responsible for international-based reports. Marisa’s path to Asnuntuck was not any different from that of many of ACC’s students. She had been employed by GE Financial Services for 11 years and when they were bought out, jobs were eliminated and therefore she had to file for unemployment. When at unemployment she was told her best bet for a job was bank teller. Instead, she made the decision to go to Asnuntuck, upgrade her skills and increase her opportunities. She received a scholarship from Asnuntuck Community College’s Foundation and worked as a tutor. She was on her way. She said it was very satisfying to help students, including her mother, improve their computer skills when she worked as a tutor. “I think more computer classes should be encouraged.” She earned her Associate’s degree in Accounting at Asnuntuck. She is very happy to be at Turgeon & Associates. “For me it’s the perfect job.”
Marisa’s mother Nancy, began at Asnuntuck 15 years ago when she had been laid-off at her call center job.. When she was called back to work, college was put on the back burner. Now a payroll specialist at Turgeon & Associates, she returned to Asnuntuck five years ago and earned an Associate’s degree in Accounting in 2015. She appreciated the attention she was able to receive at Asnuntuck. “Teachers there were willing to talk to you about what you wanted to do.” She said being over the age of 50 she found the career track at Asnuntuck more appealing than a transfer to a four year institution. She said she was also appreciative of the Asnuntuck Community College Foundation scholarship she received. She said she is not sure she would have gone back to college without it. “I would not have given myself permission to go back to college.”
Barbara Kaczor is the company’s staff accountant. She is the newest Turgeon & Associates employees. Barbara earned a Master’s degree in economics, from Krakow University of Economics in Poland. She is completing her general education requirements to fulfill her Associate’s degree in accounting. She learned about Asnuntuck when her employer, Hallmark Cards in Enfield, was closing their doors. She and her colleagues learned about retraining opportunities. The courses she completed at Asnuntuck allowed her to learn practical job skills including Quickbooks and working with Excel spreadsheets. She is now responsible for updating files and working with QuickBooks for a multitude of companies. Professor Turgeon said that Barbara has transitioned well into her position. “You don’t have to tell Barbara anything twice.” Barbara said that her experience with CSA 105 proved to be very helpful.
John refers to Danuta as the General. “She is on the front line,” says Turgeon. Professor Turgeon agrees, “She is a breath of fresh air to walk into.” Danuta serves as the Office Manager for the business. She has a Bachelor’s degree Business Administration from Bay Path University. Working originally as a Certified Nursing Assistant, she came to Asnuntuck before transferring to Bay Path. After graduating, she did work as a property manager, which she explains required many of the skills she uses now as an office manager. She is the first interaction customers have when entering the office and she serves as the back-up for payroll and also provides QuickBooks support to the office.
John said he couldn’t be happier with his employees, who started their educational journey at Asnuntuck. “I am thrilled to have Asnuntuck graduates.” He continued, “They came with a lot of skills.”
For more information on how Asnuntuck can help you take the next step in your career, visit Asnuntuck.edu or call 860-253- 3000.