Earning his MBA and studying for the CPA exams while captaining Saint Rose’s fledgling lacrosse team gave Joe Pompo G’12 a valuable toolkit in not only accounting but leadership and communications as well. Now, he uses that toolkit every day with Fuccillo Automotive Group.
As a first-year student at West Genesee High School (near Syracuse, New York), Joe Pompo G’12 started up an ebay storefront that bought brand-name designer apparel to sell at wholesale to ebay retailers. When he realized the items were fake, he shut down his profitable business. “But that experience gave me the confidence to be successful in the business world,” he says.
After earning his bachelor’s in accounting at the University at Albany, Pompo earned his MBA at Saint Rose and passed the certified public accountant exam. Notwithstanding his strong credentials, he found the job market tough, receiving only one job offer.
Pompo took that offer, as a public accountant at PwC. “I didn’t enjoy working 70-hour weeks, but the experience I gained there set the table for the position I hold today,” he says. He went home to Syracuse to work for his father’s mid-sized accounting firm, F.J. Pompo & Company.
“It was always a dream of mine to work with my dad,” he says. “It is not hyperbole to say that he is the best man I have ever known.”
Although Pompo had originally hoped to become co-owner of his father’s firm, Fuccillo Automotive Group came calling, and he knew it was the right decision to join. Today, he is director of finance and investment, taxation, reinsurance, and corporate finance for Fuccillo in Syracuse, New York.
“As director of finance and taxation, I’m able to use the skills I acquired at each step of my journey, every day,” he says.
“I often think back to my time at Saint Rose with gratitude – an experience that prepared me for the unique challenges of my job,” adds Pompo. “In addition to working through the MBA curriculum, I was captain of the inaugural men’s lacrosse team, which consisted of 25 first-years and 3 sophomores, plus studying for the 4 tests that comprise the CPA exam. I had to be focused, organized, and flexible. I had to know when it was the right time to be a leader, a follower, a student, or a teacher.”
That was perfect preparation for the auto industry – a traditionally fast-paced and dynamic field that has grown even more so these days. “On a given day, I may have to complete analytics of our reinsurance positions, negotiate contracts with vendors, develop tax strategies, analyze the performance of the F&I department, and develop strategies to drive the department’s performance. I see my ability to pivot among my various responsibilities coming directly from my experience at Saint Rose.”
Under normal circumstances, he commutes 66 miles each way, every week day, from his home in Camillus, New York to Fuccillo’s corporate headquarters (Adams, New York). “I use those two hours in the car to learn as much as I can about the industry, whether that’s through podcasts, audiobooks, or phone calls with smart people who allow me to pick their brain.” During the COVID-19 outbreak, he is working from home three days each week and commuting to Adams the other two, because he’s directing the use of the paycheck-protection program funds.
Pompo remembers his Saint Rose days fondly, adding that his twin goals of earning an MBA while earning lacrosse wins sometimes meant that he required extra consideration or attention from faculty and staff.
“This could take the form of having to make up an exam because the team had a midweek away game, or a professor staying after class to help ensure that I understood a concept to the best of my ability,” says Pompo. “My favorite part about my time at Saint Rose is the overall feeling of family and community.”
By Irene Kim