Distinguished Alumni: Jeff Janzen
April is a busy time for Jeff Janzen. It’s tax season and the certified general accountant is right in the thick of things as the April 30 deadline looms. While he’s busy number crunching, one thing he always has time for is boasting about the College of New Caledonia.
The CNC graduate (accounting and finance diploma, 1988) says his experience at CNC was everything he hoped and expected it would be. It allowed him to follow a path to where he is today, owning a successful accounting firm in Prince George with business partner Ian McInnes.
As a 17-year-old, fresh out of high school in Mackenzie, Janzen was attracted to the low cost of a college education and that CNC was close to home. Coming from a small town, he was apprehensive at first, but found the CNC environment comfortable. Knowing he always wanted to be in business, he first enrolled in the carpentry program. But he quickly realized accounting was more his style as people would always need his skills. He switched to business and excelled, especially in accounting. The bonus being a four-month co-op term included in the two-year program.
“It was hands-on experience,” Janzen recalls. “We had to develop a marketing package for a product – we made a retractable extension cord for a car. We even made a video.” He and his classmates earned an A on the project.
He remembers the “excellent” instructors, even Kirk Gable who’s interim chair of Downtown Prince George, the city’s business improvement association.
“The instructors at CNC all have the job experience. Their teaching style is more practical.”
When Janzen graduated in 1988, he career path led him to obtaining his CGA designation in 1997. His goal was to own his own practice. He returned to Mackenzie, joined a firm and became a partner. In 2000, he and his partners started a firm in Prince George and he spent three days a week in the Spruce Capital. In 2003, he bought another firm and merged them into one, with an office still in Mackenzie. Besides his business partner, Terlesky Braithwaite Janzen includes eight accountants, three students and three support staff.<./p>
CNC prepared him for that and more.
“It was a practical education,” the married father of three said.
“CNC bridged the gap between the work force and high school. It took the fear out of the whole growing up world. It gave me a path to move onto the next level.”
Twenty-one years after he graduated, he has some advice for those just starting their own journey into the work force.
“Education is the base. You’re learning the skills to acquire knowledge. College is just the start. Once you get out of school, that’s where your real learning takes place. It’s only when you quit is it a failure."
Janzen never thought he’d be this successful. He loves his career. He has a great business partner and a great team surrounding them.
“I get to choose my clients and who I work with. The variety is fantastic. You have to choose a career you love. You don’t live to work, you want the work to be the best it can be.”