AMA ESD bids farewell to Suszek after 40 years

News Photo by Julie Goldberg Tony Suszek, assistant superintendent of finance and non-instructional services for the Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District, is retiring Friday after 40 years. His coworkers in the business office made a wall board commemorating Suszek’s retirement.

ALPENA — The longest-tenured Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District employee is retiring Friday after 40 years.

Tony Suszek, assistant superintendent of finance and non-instructional services, is retiring Friday after spending his entire career with the district.

Two factors contributed to Suszek retiring this year: the staff in the business office are ready to take over, and new district administrators have a couple of years of experience so they can move forward, Suszek said.

“It just felt like the timing was right,” Suszek said.

While at the ESD, Suszek has been an accountant, coordinator of business, business manager, and assistant superintendent of finance and non-instructional services.

When he started in 1979, Suszek said, staff used typewriters, the district office was on M-32, Pied Piper School was a new building, and the ESD had a fund balance of $158,000.

“I would not want a different occupation,” Suszek said. “I feel like I’m involved in something bigger than like a profitable organization, I’m working to help better-educate kids, so, to me, it’s part job, part community service, and so I’ve always looked at it like that.”

Walking out of the district office for the last time on Friday will be weird for Suszek. He’s the one who usually does the exit interviews and collects keys from employees who leave their jobs, but someone else will do that for him.

“I generally am the last one to leave every night, but, when I leave, I know it will be emotional, because I’ll be the last one to walk out of the building,” Suszek said. “I always realize I work for the taxpayers, so I want to give the best bang for the buck, so I’m here a lot and trying to do a great job, but, when I won’t even have a key for the building, it will be very strange and emotional, but I know it’s a very good thing because it’s on my terms.”

Suszek worked with ESD Coordinator of Business Melissa Cook on the 2019-20 budget throughout the past few months so she’s prepared for future budgets after he leaves. Suszek said he just helped mentor and provide guidance to Cook.

Among the things Suszek will miss most are the people, because he’s come across some dedicated and smart people in his 40 years.

“I’ll miss the problem-solving,” he said. “I love problem-solving, and getting the best bang for the buck or accomplishing things in a very positive way, a more positive way, or a less time-consuming way. Looking back, I wouldn’t have done anything differently, working all the extra hours, what career path I took at the ESD or anything else, I look back and just think it was a great career and I’m just ready to relax a little bit.”

Retirement plans include relaxing, exercise, travel, visiting family, fishing, and hunting. Suszek will still be a part of the Alpena Youth and Recreation Committee and Exchange Club.

AMA ESD Superintendent Scott Reynolds said it’s been an honor and a privilege to work with Suszek. He said Suszek is a passionate man and it’s a rare thing to have someone spend their entire career with one organization.

“He’s a fixture of the AMA ESD,” Reynolds said of Suszek. “He’s always smiling, and well-respected, not just locally, but around the state.”

Julie Goldberg can be reached at 989-358-5688 or jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com. Follow her on Twitter @jkgoldberg12.