MuniCap, Inc., a boutique public financing consulting firm, has repeatedly found that Clarion University students are a good fit for its expanding business. MuniCap is an industry leading firm in tax increment and special tax/assessment financing; creative financing geared toward large-scale, mixed-use development projects.
The company was formed in 1997 and had a national presence but operated out of its single office in Maryland.
According to Keenan Rice, the president and founder of MuniCap, Inc., Clarion University graduates have a strong work ethic and drive that sets them apart from their peers.
In September 2007, MuniCap, Inc., headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, hired its first Clarion University alumni employee, Emily (Sproull) Metzler ('05). Metzler's finance and real estate degree from Clarion provided a perfect match for the new position.
Shortly after Metzler joined the MuniCap, Inc. team, the company started to grow. Given that Clarion University's finance, real estate, and accounting degrees were a good fit for the roles available at MuniCap, Inc., Metzler believed another Clarion graduate would be prepared and qualified for the open position.
Metzler reached out to Dr. Jeffrey Eicher to determine if there were other interested Clarion University graduates seeking employment. In March 2008, Lindsay Banner ('07) joined the firm.
"Clarion University affords you the opportunity to make what you want with your education; you create your own destiny," Banner said. "The opportunities afforded at MuniCap, Inc. are an extension of the experience at Clarion University."
Since that time, with the continued assistance of Career Services and the Finance Department at Clarion University, particularly Eicher, who understands the importance of career readiness and job placement in the College of Business and Information Sciences, the firm has continued to use Clarion as a resource for new candidates.
To date, MuniCap has hired seven other Clarion University graduates and has grown to more than 30 individuals, with satellite offices in Richmond, Virginia, Charleston, South Carolina, Dallas, Texas, and Pittsburgh.
Though a few of the Clarion University MuniCap, Inc. employees have left to pursue personal or career goals, five Clarion University employees consisting of both Metzler and Banner, along with Morgan McElravy ('16), Jaymie Sheehan ('17) and Monica Munsch ('18) have remained and stand out as the leaders in the firm that have provided for the recent growth.
Metzler is currently tasked with operating, managing and growing the firm's headquarters, located in Columbia, Maryland, while also establishing a greater presence in the Northeast.
Banner has relocated to the firm's Dallas, Texas, office to assist in operating, managing and growing the satellite office while establishing additional Texas offices.
McElravy, with the assistance of Munsch, who was originally positioned to lead the Richmond, Virginia, office, recently opened the Pittsburgh office and is focused on operating, managing and growing the firm's presence in the Tri-State area.
Sheehan is leading the firm's administrative services division and will continue to grow in that role.
There have been differing times in which Metzler and Banner have been questioned as to what Ivy League school they attended to be specialists in such a niche and complex field of finance. When each have responded Clarion University, the received look is often surprised.
Banner, however, is not surprised.
"Each of those individuals currently thriving at MuniCap have worked hard and applied the education received to afford them leadership opportunities at a firm that is leading the way for best practice in a growing field for economic development," Banner said.
Both McElravy and Sheehan echoed similar thoughts. "Clarion University taught me that the key to success is paring hard work, integrity and a positive attitude with the education provided at Clarion," McElravy said. "The leadership opportunities provided to me while working at MuniCap are a result of just this. I am fortunate to have gone to a university and now work at company that has provided me with opportunities that have led to my success today."
Sheehan went on to say, "If I had to name the thing I am most grateful to Clarion University for, it would be for teaching me to challenge myself and never give up. Not knowing something was just an opportunity to learn and grow, and Clarion's staff were always there to help me along the way. This outlook has allowed me to create new opportunities for both myself, and the company, during my time at MuniCap.
"When I started at MuniCap, someone told me 'The hardest things you will do are the things most worth doing,' and I've lived by these words ever since. I encourage current and future students to keep this in mind, because many times, your greatest accomplishments will begin as insurmountable challenges."