An unexpected change in plans prompted Earl Poleski to stay close to home and go to Jackson College after high school. When he found a passion for accounting at the community college, his future was set.
Poleski and his family moved to Jackson between his junior and senior year of high school, and he graduated from Parkside High School in 1974. He first hoped to join the Navy ROTC at Western Michigan University, but when he failed the physical, he had to find a new plan. Enrolling at Jackson College, which was convenient and inexpensive, made the most sense. That turned out to be both a practical and pivotal decision for his future.
Poleski, who has worked as an accountant for his career, found his passion for the field while at JCC. “I hadn’t really thought about being an accountant, but I had a professor, Clay Hallett, and I enjoyed his classes and got a passion and interest in accounting and tax work.”
Working his way through college, Poleski graduated and transferred on to Albion College, where he was well prepared after JCC. He completed his bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree from Walsh College. Over his career as a certified public accountant, he’s worked with public accounting firms, private sector oil and gas companies, and served six years in the Michigan House of Representatives.
“That was a fascinating experience. It was a difficult time for our state, and it took a lot of very difficult roads to make the economy better,” he said. “It’s gratifying to see the economy improve. I think many of the decisions we made were the right ones, but you don’t know that at the time. I was glad to be apt of the process of making our state a better place.”
Today he works as executive director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. The authority helps to provide homes and preserve history for the people of Michigan.
“I remember that Jackson College worked for me. I lived and home, it was inexpensive, and I had great preparation for Albion College and for the rest of my career because of the start that I got here.”