Featured Alumni

Tonda Nord, Joe & Chris Fieber

Chris Filsinger
Pictured from left to right: Chris Fieber, Tonda Nord, and Joe Fieber.

This month's issue is special in that we are spotlighting three individuals, two who are alums of Mount Marty College-Watertown, and one who is currently a student there and a soon to be alum. Tonda Nord, who started her business, Accurate Income Tax and Bookkeeping in December of 2001, (five months before her graduation from MMC) and Joe Fieber, who joined the business after interning (while at MMC) for Tonda at Accurate Income Tax and Bookkeeping. Joe graduated with a major in business and accounting in 2011. Upon a strong recommendation for MMC, Joe's brother Chris is currently attending classes at MMC and also assists preparing tax returns during tax season at Accurate Income Tax and Bookkeeping, which helps him prepare for a future in the business and accounting world like his brother, when he graduates with his double major this December.

As a non-traditional student at MMC-Watertown, Tonda had the flexibility which was important to her being a working wife and mother with limited time on her hands. For Joe, he initially chose MMC-Watertown solely for its location and he didn't have to travel far or move to attend a four-year college. The commute was only 30 minutes from his home and like Tonda, he enjoyed the flexible schedule as well as the ability to have a full-time job, yet, still attend a school on-campus for his degree.

For both Tonda and Joe, their experiences in the classroom with their instructors and the impact they had on their lives, was evidenced by how much they enjoyed their jobs. In Tonda's case, Jackie Sandstrom was her instructor for most of her accounting classes. Jackie always had a lot of real life scenarios to help explain things that were easy to understand. Tonda truly had test anxiety and she would always know the material but would panic when a test was placed in front of her. It seemed all Tonda knew was lost. Jackie was always supportive and patient and she would tell Tonda, I know you know this, just calm down. As Tonda adds, "without her patience and understanding, I probably would have quit. I feel I owe a lot to Jackie." From Joe's perspective, the most influential people for him at MMC-Watertown were Jane Miner (former Assistant Director at Watertown's Campus) and Linda Schurmann (former Campus Director at Watertown's Campus). These two women would drop everything for a person to help them achieve whatever they needed; whether academics, financial aid, a problem with pre-requisites, etc., they would take care of it - making life much easier for Joe.

One of the most interesting aspects regarding Tonda and Joe's introduction experience at MMC was Joe taking his cost accounting class from his former teacher, Tonda, and the confidence she had in Joe asking him to take an internship with her tax and bookkeeping business. As Joe states, "Tonda has become my mentor and has given me the opportunity to do something I enjoy - taxes."

Since leaving MMC in 2011, Joe and his wife Chantelle became parents to a beautiful daughter Madisyn in 2013. He continues to do tax work in the fall and winter as well as work on the family farm and golf course during the spring and summer. Joe and his brother Chris, who also works on the family farm, have both seen the advantages of having a farm background in the accounting field. Chris is also married with 3 children while he goes to MMC full-time. As Chris sees it, "if you have a family or a full time job, a college like MMC will fit perfectly in your schedule. The classes are at various times and it is easy to accommodate to a work schedule with evening and online classes."

Although Joe's future career goals are uncertain, he plans on sitting for the CPA exam, but if not, he at least wants to sit for the EA exam and work in the accounting field. His personal goals are to enjoy time with his family as much as possible. For Chris, he wants to stay local no matter what career he chooses. His biggest goal is to provide for his family, graduate in December, and be happy in whatever is put out in front of him. Chris adds, "I will have to trust in God to help me choose the right path," as Joe chimes in, "graduating from MMC-Watertown I was able to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In the classes or the 'generals', I was able to take some religious classes as well, which helped me personally and spiritually in which I know other schools could not have offered me."

Joe and Chris both had a teacher named Nathan Noeldner(Federal Taxation I and II instructor), and during his lectures he always had an example to relate things to, to make it easier to understand. In times of doubt, Nathan would always remind you that in the real world, it becomes easier - which it has. Joe and Chris both added, "MMC helped us because of the staff and the classes offered. The staff in Watertown helped prepare us for the job world."