Damin Pilon is an incredibly hard-working, intelligent individual who I’ve had the pleasure of being friends, teammates and a co-workers with. Damin is one of the most driven and talented people that I’ve ever met at GCU.
Damin is originally from Duluth, Minnesota. Moving here was a big adjustment, but he is thankful for the ability to come to GCU and receive an education. He’s majoring in finance and economics with a minor in accounting and is graduating in only 2.5 years, which is an incredible feat for anyone.
Damin has always pushed himself to get involved, and has done so since the moment he came to GCU. When asked how he chose his major, he stated, “My mom is a finance and accounting professor and, for as long as I can remember, she has watched CNBC and talked about investments and the business world. When I was about 13, I was officially intrigued and bought my first stock. Ever since I have loved the finance world and see an opportunity for a great career in the industry.”
When making the decision to come to college, he couldn’t figure out where to go and was originally only looking at schools in the Midwest. However, in April of his senior year in high school he came on a discover trip to GCU and fell in love with the Christian aspect, as well as the location and general vibe of the campus.
Being a part of the Honors College gave him the ability to meet new people, be challenged in the classroom, refine and develop varied professional and personal skills and given him the chance to compete for a scholarship. During his freshman year, Damin was on a team that was tasked with the job to develop a servant leadership program, course or certificate. Over time, Damin and his teammates met with Randy Gibb, Dean of the Colangelo College of Business, as well as the Associate Dean of the Honors College, Breanna Naegeli. The team worked diligently to prepare a program and present at the Honors College Annual Spring Symposium. In the end, the team was awarded a scholarship at the annual Honors College Banquet and during this experience, Damin was able to forge new friendships and learn a lot about public speaking and teamwork.
Over the next year and a half, Damin has gotten involved in many other areas on campus. He serves as the president of the Finance and Economics Club, participates in the Servant Leadership Development Center within the Honors College Project Management Fellowship and was the Director of Finance for Tedx. Damin is also involved in the Accounting Society, and worked for the Honors College under the office of Internships and assisted with certain projects. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, hanging out with friends, road trips, stock trading, playing around with photography and watching Netflix.
In addition to all of these extracurricular activities, Damin is a Resident Assistant and has been able to gain real-world experience through multiple internships. He worked at Price Kong and Company as a tax intern during the spring semester, securing the internship through a campus event, as well as his job at the Office of Internships at GCU. While there, he prepared complex 1040 returns using UltraTax software and learned the tax impact and methodologies of capital gains, partnerships, corporations and deductions on federal, state and multi-state returns. He used QuickBooks to assist with auditing, bookkeeping and write-up projects, and learned the complex functions and procedures of a professional accounting firm.
All of this has provided him an incredible experience and an insightful perspective on how a tax firm operates. Damin said, “It was a great experience learning all about taxes and the different methods of lowering one’s burden using different strategies. The people were amazing and it was a great first experience in a true corporate setting.”
Over the summer and during the semester, Damin has been working as a financial analyst and accountant at Oxygen Hospitality in Phoenix. While at Oxygen, Damin has taken on lots of tasks, such as handling investments documents, preparing financials for the company, preparing budgets and forecasting for future purchases, market research, maintaining bank statements and balances, preparing a data room for investors and more. During his position with Oxygen, he has become a valuable asset for the company.
As Damin looks forward to the future, he shares his plan to stay in the Phoenix area and work full-time. He has received various job offers and is still in the process of making his decision. However, I have full confidence that he will succeed and prosper in his career due to his work ethic and his skills and abilities he’s been able to develop while at GCU. When asked if he had any advice, he said to “get involved, put yourself out there and put effort into connecting with professors.” This is how he was able to be such a superstar here at GCU, and what ultimately set him up for success in his career.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.