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Counting on Success

Seth Marty, Jr.

Partner and Certified Public Accountant, Lowman Company

1994 BS in Accounting

A partner with the Mesa-based accounting firm Lowman Company, Northern Arizona University alumnus Seth Marty, Jr., is committed to his company and clients. He is also committed to his alma matter. Marty is a member of the Northern Arizona University Accounting Advisory Council, and participates in career panels and other volunteer work with the accounting fraternity Beta Alpha Si. He also coordinates his company's college recruiting efforts—in five years in this role, Marty has tapped five NAU graduates to join the small firm.

"Our firm has about 25 people. It's a smaller 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."

While a student the university, Marty earned two scholarships, participated in intramural soccer, and worked as a manager on campus and in Beta Alpha Si. 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 have carried forward to this day. He also found mentors in some of his professors and advisors. For example, Marty says he formed an extremely meaningful bond with Dr. Ronald Pitt, who recently retired as Associate Provost for Academic Administration, but who served as a business professor and the faculty advisor for Beta Alpha Si during Marty's university tenure.

"Dr. Pitt and I got to establish 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."

His university mentors were just one block of the foundation that helped Marty build his career, however. Marty has worked in public accounting since 1995, first working with the seventh largest public accounting firm in the US before joining Lowman in 2002. Marty says that though he's learned a lot about his profession since graduating, and got where he is today thanks to the groundwork laid at NAU.

"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—like 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 college 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."