Clemson #ELGLInspire Speaker: Joel K Seavey

Posted on March 6, 2020

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#ELGLInspire is coming to Clemson University on March 6th! Learn more about our event speakers in these brief profiles, and connect with them before and after the event! To find information about all of the speakers, visit the #ELGLInspire homepage.

Joel K Seavey

Finance Director for the City of Clemson

I have been the Finance Director for the City of Clemson since March 2017.  Before accepting the job in Clemson, I was the Finance Officer at the City of Seneca from 2011 to 2017.  

My first job, at age 15, was at Ryan’s Steakhouse in Rock Hill, SC.  I was promoted to the Salad Bar Chef very quickly after starting there (woohoo, $4.75/hour).  I worked there until I graduated from high school and joined the Navy. I was stationed at Norfolk, Virginia for four years but moved to Clemson in 1996 following an honorable discharge.  I went back to school and made my living delivering pizza for Domino’s. My first degree was an Associates in Business with a Major in Accounting from Tri-County Technical College. After TCTC, I got my first accounting job for a sheet metal manufacturer in Townville, SC.  I did that for a year, then I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to get my first public accounting job in Seneca, SC. (That is a great story I can share in more detail one on one.) While working at my first public accounting job, I learned a lot, but it became obvious that I needed more education.

I attended Southern Wesleyan University’s Adult Graduate Studies program, Called LEAP at that time. This was a challenging time in my life: working full time, going to school in the evenings full time, and having a family. I graduated from Southern Wesleyan University in 2006 with my Bachelor of Science in Business Management.  About this time, I took one year off of public accounting to try accounting for a trucking company in West Union, SC, but I missed public accounting so I took a job here in Clemson at Stancil, Cooley, Estep, & Stamey. This is when I realized I wanted to become a CPA, but needed 12 more education hours to be qualified to sit for the exam with the state.  I took 4 masters of accounting classes at Clemson University then took the CPA exam; to this day, I still have not passed. This experience leads to some strong advice: if you aspire to be a CPA, go straight to the master’s program after you finish your undergraduate program so you can sit for the exam while all of that valuable information is fresh on your mind. Trust me, it is not as easy later.  

In my department at the City of Clemson, we have never had an intern to my knowledge.  However, if you think you want to pursue a career in local government, I would suggest that you job shadow at several different cities.  I have worked for two local governments and audited at several others, and I can assure you that every environment is different.  

I would be glad to give anyone interested more information and of course would offer a day of job shadowing to anyone who would like to see what a day in the life as the Finance Director of the City of Clemson is like. 

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