The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Bergseng, Kuhl seek auditor job--Matt Kuhl

 

Diana Zimmerman

Matt Kuhl

Matt Kuhl is running for the position of Wahkiakum County Auditor.

Kuhl graduated from Wahkiakum High School in 2003. He attended community college in Wenatchee and worked for the forest service, but his mind was on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Someone was going to take my place to go, or I was going to join and make sure no one else took my place in this war," he said." I think it has something to do with my upbringing in Cathlamet. I wanted to serve. I was always amazed with veterans and impressed with how they carried themselves and what they'd done for our country."

Kuhl joined the Army and was stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, which included two deployments to Iraq. He was promoted from private to specialist and when they returned home after that first tour, he was promoted to corporal.

"My NCO saw that I had the leadership skills," Kuhl said. "I had the drive, I worked hard, I followed orders. I was able to work with people on delegating the tasks for the mission at hand. I led a team of five at any given time. We did a lot of raids. We were dealing with high pressure and working as a team. The overall sense of accomplishment when we left was amazing. When we got there, there were 130 significant activities a day. When we left there were 30 a day."

"The first deployment was an opportunity to sit back and learn from some great leaders I had," he continued. "The second deployment was my opportunity to lead and to show the guys how things are done. When you're in a stack, a column of guys going into a house, I always wanted to be in front. It was me that was going to take the IED that was set up on a doorway, or take the first shot. I felt confident that I had the ability and the skills to make the right decision at any moment's notice."

Kuhl got out in 2009 and decided to try big city living, so he moved from Colorado Springs to Denver. It turned out that the big city wasn't a good fit, but some classes at a local college made him realize he wanted to be an accountant.

"I've always had a thing with numbers," Kuhl said. "Accounting is a bit of a puzzle, and I enjoy the puzzle of it. There is a balance to it."

Missing family and home, he returned to the northwest and continued his education at Clark College before transferring to Washington State University, Vancouver.

He networked and continued to learn as much as he could before graduating in 2015. After taking the summer off, he began working as an accounting assistant for a private company. Eventually he was promoted to staff accountant and took on more duties.

"I feel I'm a great people person," Kuhl said. "I listen and am able to communicate well. I will make sure your issue is resolved."

(Editor's note: The following portion of this article was accidentally omitted from an earlier online posting and from this week's print edition.)

After seeing a listing on Craigslist for a job at a CPA firm in Kelso, he walked into the office in Kelso and asked about the position. The managing CPA came out to meet him, and they talked about Kuhl’s goals. He was invited to return the next day to meet the other partners, and a day later he had a job offer.

“I wanted to get my CPA, I wanted to study under some great CPAs before I considered opening my own practice,” he said. “I do a little bit of everything.”

Just as Kuhl had begun to study for his CPA exams, he found he was drawn to the opportunity at the auditor’s office.

“It kept with my passion and love for the accounting side of things, and helping decision makers make the proper decisions,” Kuhl said. “I’m really a supporter of people doing what they need to do and to perform their jobs well. I really care about this community. I consider myself a really hard worker, who pushes for new skills and learning. I would love to do that in a capacity that supports the people I have grown up with and want to do well. It would be amazing for me to take on this role and take on this challenge in trying to find ways to improve not only the department but the way the county does some of their accounting reporting.”

“I want to secure the financial future of this county,” he continued. “I want to try to find efficiencies in the courthouse. Budgets change every year. The revenue that is received changes every year. It shouldn’t be a when things are bad we should be looking for ways to do better. It should be a constant goal.”

 

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