Daryl Bert, vice president of finance at Eastern Mennonite University, says he’s looking toward a bright future for the university that means a great deal to him. Not only is EMU his source of employment, it’s also his alma mater.
Bert graduated from EMU in 1997 with a degree in accounting, after moving to the area from his hometown of Lancaster, Pa. He worked at a local public accounting firm before relocating to Austin, Texas, in 2000 to complete an MBA at the University of Texas.
He remained in the south, working for Dell Inc. in a variety of financial capacities during his eight years with the Texas-based company.
“A lot of my time there was providing financial support one way, shape or form in the product development area,” Bert explained.
He added that he helped oversee products from “concept to delivery in the marketplace,” as well as providing financial support for companies seeking to invest and grow — among other duties.
Bert said this time working for a large company was rewarding.
“I am somebody who really has an appreciation for technology,” he said. “It’s always been an interest of mine, so I found that really rewarding, to be close to technology and … the next thing that’s going to be released.”
But wanting to be closer to family and a sense of pride in his alma mater brought him back to Harrisonburg in 2010. The former vice president of finance was retiring, and the university was seeking a replacement.
EMU President Loren Swartzendruber contacted Bert, asking if he would be interested in the position. He applied and went through the interview process, and, as Bert says, “the rest is history.”
Now in his fourth year, he said he’s enjoying his job, adding that he’s “encouraged” by EMU’s direction and being a part of the growth of such a valued institution.
“I get a lot of energy out of thinking … about our strategic plan, how we implement [it], how we prioritize the investments we need to make to help grow some of our programs or launch new programs.”
Bert said he enjoys being back on his old stomping grounds and living in the Harrisonburg area with his wife, Carrie, and their children, Evan, 9, Davis, 7, and Maren, 4.
He recently joined the board of The United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, seeking additional community involvement in an area he’s found so rewarding.