Driving Success at Berger Chevrolet
Mike Ohlman, ’89, combined two of his favorite passions, cars and accounting, to create a path to his dream job as the CFO at Berger Chevrolet in Grand Rapids. During college at Davenport, Mike worked in the parts department at Berger and used his hands-on accounting experience to earn a spot on the accounting team. Working his way up, Mike landed the CFO role a little over 18 years ago. Now, Mike is proud to say his son, Lucas, is following in his dad’s footsteps at Davenport. We are honored to feature Mike Ohlman as the alumni success story this week. Read Mike’s full interview below.
Tell us about yourself, Mike!
I graduated from Davenport University in 1989 with my Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. I have been working at Berger Chevrolet since college and started in the parts department. I was a parts manager for a few years, then worked my way up to be an accountant and I was promoted to CFO in 1998. I have been married for 30 years to my lovely wife, Deb. We have three kids and four grandkids. Our son Lucas plays soccer at DU. I also enjoy volunteering my time at the Michigan Fire Soccer Club affiliate as the Club President.
In a nutshell, what do you do?
As the CFO of Berger Chevrolet, I wear multiple hats. I focus the majority of my time on accounting and finance, but I am also responsible for the administrative, financial, and risk management operations of the Berger. My team and I develop strategies, create and measure metrics, develop and maintain accurate reports. I also manage the relationships with many of our partners and suppliers. I get to do fun things, like go to “driving school” to test out new cars and products.
How did Davenport help you get there?
Davenport set me up for success. As a full-time student and full-time worker, I really had to balance my time as a young man. Most of my classes were early in the morning (6-9 a.m.) or late at night (6-9 p.m.), so I loved the flexibility. The real-life, hands-on experiences were beneficial as well. I really enjoyed my experience at Davenport.
What motivates you?
My team motivates me. I enjoy working with the staff to make their job easier and more fun. Berger has 235 staff members in five departments, so things are constantly changing and growing. It is a great place to be!
What is your dream job?
I am in my dream job now. As a numbers guy who loves cars, it doesn’t get much better than this!
What do you do when you are not working?
I spend a lot of time with my family. We always find ourselves near water. We enjoy traveling to Florida and Mexico during the winter months and Gun Lake in the summer. I also spend a lot of time at Davenport watching my son, Lucas, play soccer.