Alan Gerofsky joined Finegold Alexander Architects in May of 2000 as comptroller, promoted to Associate in 2005 and Senior Associate in 2016. Nearly 22 years since he first joined the firm, Alan is gearing up for his well-earned retirement this September 2022. A graduate of Bentley College with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Alan’s accomplished career in the financial world has included roles at retail, law and, most recently, architectural firms. Before he starts his next adventure this fall, we sat down with Alan to discuss his career, memories at the firm, pieces of advice and more.
Q: When did you start working at Finegold Alexander Architects? What is the story behind how you got hired here?
A: I responded to a small -- like an 1’’x1 ½’’-- ad for comptroller in The Boston Globe and after many calls with Moe Finegold’s assistant to schedule an interview, I met with Moe. We sat in the very same room as you and I are in today. Moe and I hit it off, from the beginning we just had a good rapport and connection. After I met with Moe, I met with the firm’s CPA, who was in Woburn. The meeting was in April of 2000, unfortunately in the middle of a snowstorm. Driving on 128 was a nightmare, but luckily the person I was meeting also found himself stuck in traffic, and it all worked out. I met with Moe again and was hired. When we were discussing my title, I explained how in the past my title was always controller. I will always remember Moe’s response, “I control things around here. You will be the comp-troller.” And I said, “OK” and the rest is history, and its’ been a great ride...
Q: How has the industry, and your job, evolved since when you started versus today?
A: An obvious difference is the shift with a much more electronic world we live in today. I’m still a paper person -- as you can tell from the photo (below)! But the invoices we receive and send are now almost all digital. In regards to the pandemic, working from home obviously was the biggest challenge but fortunately it all worked out and we found effective ways to collaborate.
Q: What has been your favorite memory or professional achievement while at the firm?
A: One very happy memory that comes to mind is hiring Josie Catino, over 17 years ago (fondly known around the office as the Jelly to the Peanut butter and Jelly duo with Alan). And what a great relationship it has been - both professionally and personally. We’ve become very good friends over the years.
As far as achievements, the annual end of the year meetings with the CPA firm takes A LOT of preparation and is very detailed. The process can last through August, months after the end of the fiscal year. When I made my decision to retire, I promised I would stay through two more year-end cycles. Another technical achievement that I’ll remember is the preparation and application for the PPP loan in the midst of the pandemic, it was a lot of work in just a matter of a few months.
Finally, some proud moments for me were when I was promoted to Associate, then Shareholder, and finally Senior Associate.
Q: You retire later this year, congratulations! What do you hope your career legacy will be when you look back on your professional journey?
A: I hope to be remembered as someone who treated coworkers, clients and vendors with respect and appreciation. Another priority of mine was to be available to management and staff to answer questions and solve problems. And finally, I hope to be remembered in my career as a people person and someone who cares deeply about people.
Q: What are you looking forward to most in your retirement?
A: I look forward to continuing to watch my grandchildren grow up. It is an opportunity to be involved in their activities and being there for them. I love doing that. I also look forward to, of course, traveling with Cheryl, both in the US and abroad. Also, not setting an alarm! Waking up when I want to, not when I have to.
I’ve been to 23 out of the 30 Major League Baseball parks. I look forward to working towards checking off the remaining seven parks I haven’t been to yet. Finally, I will enjoy spending time in my new home overlooking Narragansett Bay.
Q: Looking back, what was the best advice you received over the course of your career?
A: One thing my first boss taught me was that you can’t always reward someone with money for doing something good, but a pat on the back and a ‘thank you’ goes a long way. Ask Josie, her back is probably sore for how many times I’ve said thank you to her over 17 years! The other thing I have lived by, or try to, is a piece of advice I heard in high school. The definition of character is how you act when you think no one is watching you. I’ve always remembered that.
Q: If you were to offer advice to a young professional, what would it be?
A: Ask questions. I can’t begin to say how important it is to speak up and ask when you’re stuck.
Stay tuned for next month’s Staff Spotlight!