Stepping Up to the Challenge - HSNT Board Member Spotlight
Michael Foster is the textbook definition of a native Dentonite. Born and raised here in the county, Michael went to school in Pilot Point, graduated from UNT, got married, built a house in Aubrey, had two daughters, and is now co-owner of an accounting firm. Yet it wasn’t until years later that he learned about HSNT, when his wife became more involved with the medical community as a nurse at Baylor Scott & White in McKinney.
“My sister is a nurse, my aunt is a nurse, and my wife is a nurse, so I’ve had some exposure, but really not until my wife did I have a more broad exposure to the medical field,” Michael says. “So, I had a little bit of a connection with HSNT there.”
Michael knew that accounting was his career path since he took an accounting class in high school. He played sports like many of his friends did at that age, but he knew that he wasn’t going to play in college, so he decided to focus on his academics. Merki & Associates, the accounting firm he now co-owns, is the same firm that he got a job at right after he graduated.
“I started working [at Merki & Associates] the summer after I graduated high school, so I’ve been here for 20 years. I worked here all through college, learned a lot during on-the-job training…We have what’s called a runner who goes to pick up the books [from our clients], drop off paychecks, so that’s where I started.”
This commitment to Merki & Associates paid off, not only because it earned him a career that he could grow in, but because it gave him almost a second family, especially in the founder, Mark Merki.
“Everyone welcomed me in right away,” Michael says. “Mr. Merki really treated me like a son from the get-go. I saw the way he handled things, took care of business, and the way people respected him and the way he took care of them…so I really admired the way he ran the business and conducted himself.”
Merki & Associates has been a longtime community partner of HSNT, which is how Michael ended up joining the board of directors. Initially, he was the Treasurer , but since April of this year Michael has served as the President. For him, no matter what position he is in, it’s all about giving back.
“[At Merki], there’s a very strong culture of giving back. When the opportunity came along it was a no-brainer, but then learning more about HSNT it became more obvious the good that was getting done and the way I could make a difference and help. We have the ability, the position, and the skills to do that, and a lot of people don’t. There’s a lot of people who can’t help themselves, and we try to back them up by getting involved with HSNT or United Way to support the people of Denton County.”