Inspired by Athletic Connections
While the several alumni who work at Simon Lever LLC were similarly affected by outstanding faculty, most in their own way arrived at LVC because of the strong academic and athletic opportunities it offered, including Adam Wenger, CPA, ’12, who attended LVC with his high school girlfriend and future wife, Kirsten Martzall Wenger ’13, M’17, who played field hockey at The Valley.
“I was looking at larger schools farther from home and, if I ended up playing a sport, was considering ice hockey,” said Wenger. “However, my high school football coach, Mark Evans, encouraged me to visit LVC. My cousin, Corey Wenger, coaches the football secondary, so I was familiar with the school.
“The opportunity ultimately came through the potential to play football,” added Wenger. “Once I dug deeper into the academic programs and realized that I could earn a quality education, play football, and be close to home, I became more interested. My campus visit and meeting with faculty and coaches made my decision. The facilities were beautiful, and the people we met genuinely expressed care for my education and well-being.”
Wenger, who double majored in accounting and business, launched his connection to Simon Lever by missing football practice to attend what may have been the College’s first Accounting Night in 2010. It was one of the only two football practices he missed during his four years.
“I did a Day of Observation project with Trevor Williams, CPA, ’07, who, at the time, was working for PricewaterhouseCoopers,” said Wenger. “Then, I did three internships with Simon Lever, which led to me being offered a full-time staff accountant position 14 months before graduating.” He’s had five promotions since starting at the company a decade ago and is currently a director.
Since, Wenger regularly represents Simon Lever at Accounting Night and works closely with The Breen Center for Career and Professional Development staff and his former faculty to identify talented internship and employment candidates. He’s also spoken to the Accounting Club, answered questions for class projects, and attended Intermediate Accounting classes to help judge project presentations. Wenger and his fellow Simon Lever/LVC colleagues also play in the Annual Blue & White Club Golf Classics, for which the firm is an MVP Sponsor.
Why such a strong connection to his alma mater?
“Simon Lever’s core purpose is to maximize the success of those we partner with,” said Wenger. “We are committed to our clients, employees, and the community, just like LVC is dedicated to its students, faculty, and alumni. We share many of the same values.”
Colin Albright, CPA, ’18, a supervisor at Simon Lever, originally arrived at LVC as an economics major but was convinced by Tami Barton, CPA, CVA, MBA, associate professor of accounting, to try an accounting class during New Student Advising Day. “She kept encouraging me to take another accounting class, and eventually I decided to add it as a second major in my sophomore year.
“Professor Barton pushed me to be the best student and accountant I could be,” said Albright. “She uses tough love to help you succeed. Andrew Hildebrand, Esq., ’91, P’20, P’22, P’24, P’26 [associate professor of accounting], was another of my favorite professors. His passion for education and the course material were captivating. I could sense that he loves what he teaches, so it made his classes enjoyable.”
Albright interned at Simon Lever the summer after his junior year after hearing about the great experience his baseball teammate, Zach Edwards ’17, had interning there. He, like Wenger, received a job offer well before graduation, as have two current students, Jay Sisko ’23 and Hayley Smith ’23, the latter who accepted a job offer two years before her graduation next spring. Albright has come full circle, advising Adam Reed ’20, M’21 during his 2019 internship.
Additionally, Albright had another LVC-related connection through Stacey Hollinger, associate director of athletics and senior women’s athletics administrator. Albright interned with Hollinger during his senior year, and she was so impressed she recommended him to Wenger. The duo has worked with many LVC alumni, including current colleagues Jason Sneeringer ’11, Olivia Ward ’20, and Tyler Lutz ’20, M’21, one of the first graduates of the College’s new 3+1 Accounting/MBA Program. Lutz, an overachiever, played football for the Dutchmen his senior year while working full-time at Simon Lever.
And, like Wenger, Albright’s future wife, Theresa Messenger Albright ’18, attended LVC. Today, she is the College’s director of annual giving.
Wenger offers some closing advice for current accounting majors.
“Get involved in your future career early and often. Get to know people in the field, attend Accounting Night, job shadow, and intern. For example, Simon Lever offers a LEAP (Learn, Explore, Achieve, Pursue) Day for students from various colleges who are going into their sophomore or junior year and may not yet be ready for an internship. The students, primarily selected from among those recommended by faculty, spend the day learning about the firm, public accounting, and preparing for the CPA exam.”