Mark "Mickey" Segal '80, Accounting
Mickey Segal's client was parking her car in her garage when she accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the brakes. The car crashed through the garage wall. However, when she called for help, she didn't dial an emergency dispatcher.
"Normally when that happens you would call 911, but she picks up her cell phone and calls us," says Segal, a 1980 Cal Poly Pomona accounting graduate and president of Assante Business Management. "We told her you need to call 911 and she said to us 'No, I don't want to call 911. Can you get one of the contractors you do business with to come over here and help?' Sure enough, we had somebody there in about 20 minutes and they got her out of the car."
Segal and Assante Business Management have close relationships with their clientswho also happen to be some of the most prominent names in the entertainment industry and sporting worldand have proven to be indispensable.
"We're not booking dates where they play, but we're involved in every other facet of their lives," Segal says. "We do all their tax planning, estate planning and anything financially related. Sometimes we even go out and hire a nanny or maid for them."
It is no surprise that clients trust Segal. And why shouldn't they? He has been doing outstanding work for more than 20 years.
After working as a paraprofessional for Coopers and Lybrand CPAs in 1977 and 1978, Segal spent his senior year at Cal Poly Pomona holding a part-time audit position with Harold Berlfein and Company. The firm dealt with clients in the entertainment industry, but after a merger with another firm, Segal and two others left to start Nigro, Karlin & Segal, a Los Angeles-based CPA firm that was later acquired by Assante.
"When I was a sophomore in the paraprofessional program, I worked at Coopers and Lybrand. That program basically put me way ahead of all students who were just getting book knowledge," Segal says. "I still credit the school with a lot of my success. The education I received was invaluable. The experience I was able to get earlier in my career while I was in school really gave me a head start as to what to expect about the world."
Cal Poly Pomona is also where Segal became reacquainted with Lee, a girl he grew up with and would eventually marry.
"She transferred to Cal Poly Pomona from San Diego State. Her parents and my parents had known each other," Segal says. "They ran into each other and [her parents] said 'Hey, can you have Mickey show her around?' and I did, and that's how it started."
He and his wife now live in Arcadia and are involved with the community in a variety of ways. He spent a year as Arcadia's mayor and is currently serving on the city council. He is also involved with Arcadia Unified School District and the Jewish Community Foundation.
With all the accomplishments, awards and successes Segal has enjoyed in his professional career, two in particular give him great pride and satisfaction.
"Certainly I am very proud of the business we have built. Three of us started in 1981 and now we employ 170 people," Segal says. "My goal was always to be a CPA. I thought I would be practicing more in a public sector, but we carved out this niche."
Segal was instrumental in bringing Paul Anka to this year’s Founders’ Celebration, the university’s showcase fundraising event, on Feb. 9. Anka, a devoted client of Segal and Assante, performed many of his classic hits for an appreciative and energetic audience of Cal Poly Pomona supporters.
Segal is also proud of his work with the Arcadia Methodist Hospital Foundation as one of the two professional achievements that he finds most gratifying. The Foundation launched a capital campaign to raise money for a new maternal child health care center.
"We raised about $5 million dollars in 14 months for that campaign," he says. "I have this bell in my head. It says, 'You know you have been extremely successful and if you want to stay successful, it's your obligation to give back.' That bell keeps me driven and motivated."