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September 11, 2013

After Joe graduated from Mankato State College in 1963, he partnered with Bill Montag, his former accounting instructor, to establish Montag & Abdo. Both Joe and Bill kept their current jobs while as they worked to get their new firm off the ground. Joe worked at Schwickert’s in the morning and at Montag & Abdo in the afternoon. Bill did the opposite: He spent his morning hours at Montag & Abdo and taught classes in the afternoon.

Montag & Abdo began in a small leased space in the old Brett’s annex building in downtown Mankato. During their first year of business, the firm only had one client: Ron Evans. Ron owned a restaurant and paid Montag & Abdo seventy-five dollars each month to do his accounting work. This covered Montag & Abdo’s rent, but nothing more. Needless to say, it was a challenging year.

In 1965, Bill Montag had the opportunity to become CFO for Johnson Reel Co. and decided to leave Montag & Abdo. At this same time, Mack Magrath, owner of Minnesota Automotive, wanted Joe to become the CFO of his growing company—a position that, for Joe, offered the stability of a salary to support his young family.

Although tempting, Joe had worked much too hard to start his own firm and turned Mack’s offer down. He dreamed of opening his own practice, but lacked the funds to capitalize the firm.

To be continued in Chapter 5…

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