Alumni Success Story: Ellen Garrison ’00 ‘05

As the CFO of Accroseal, Ellen Garrison ‘05 is responsible for all aspects of accounting, human resources and operations. Ellen credits her human resources certificate from DU as the foundation for her success. “More doors have been opened for me thanks to the technical skills and knowledge I received while earning my HR certificate at DU.” Learn more about Ellen and her success in the manufacturing industry below.

Tell us about yourself, Ellen!

I am from upstate New York. I earned my bachelor’s degree at Siena College in 1985 in marketing and management. I moved to Michigan to work at Richard Allen Medical. At the time, my boss was the manager of the human resources department. She suggested that I look into a human resources seminar to hone my skills. When I arrived home that evening and checked the mail, there was a well-timed postcard from Davenport offering a human resource technical degree. I thought ‘Why not?’ and brought it to my boss. I enrolled in the program and earned my certificate in 2000. I continued to pursue my MBA slowly while working full-time and graduated in 2005. I gained experience by serving as an office manager at River City Plastics, a controller at Adams Outdoors and as a division controller at Schupan & Sons.  Each role built on the foundations of human resources I’d studied at DU. Now, I am the CFO at Accroseal, a plastic compression molding company. I am responsible for accounting, human resources and operations. Every day is fun for me, and, while it’s not a ‘romantic’ job, I love it!

Why did you pick Davenport?

I picked Davenport because of the post card. I liked how the MBA program was geared towards working adults. It was easy to take classes and the online master’s program was awesome. I enjoyed my masters most because I was in the business world and I could apply what I was experiencing and learning in the classroom to real life. In this position that I am in now, I think I embraced what I learned so much that now I apply it and don’t even realize it. My capstone was the class that drove it all home.

In a nutshell, what do you do?

As the Chief Financial Officer for Accroseal, I am responsible for all the financial aspects, human resources, information technology and operations. I have one person on my staff, Breanna Klaassen ’12, who is also a graduate from Davenport University. My goal is to train her so she can fill my role.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

I worked on my Master’s degree for a long time, so when I finally earned it, it was an awesome accomplishment.

What is your dream job?

I am in my dream job! I drive to work every day and I can’t wait to get there. I have wonderful bosses. The company is goal-oriented and it is important for us to reach our goals. If the company reaches 18% growth the owners take the entire company and spouses to Key West for a long weekend in January. We have gone twice now.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

If someone is going into business or thinking about earning a second degree, considering learning more about human resources. That has really been a door opener for me.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about my work. When I am not at work, I am thinking of ways to improve it.

What do you do when you are not working?

My husband and I enjoy traveling, spending time with our children and grandchildren and good friends.


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