NMSU student proves you’re never too young to do good
Written and Photography by Susie Ouderkirk
Financial planner David Hill knows a good thing when he sees it. “It’s my experience when you find individuals who have an ability to engage with others and ask questions, you have a high-quality person that puts others ahead of themselves,” he says.
He is speaking about his employee, Marcel Garza, who, at the tender age of 20, plays an active role at David Hill Financial, monitoring and servicing clients’ investment portfolios. “What I saw in Marcel was an eagerness to learn and he was coachable,” David explains. “You cannot ‘teach’ someone interpersonal skills, but you can coach/teach someone like Marcel how to do the business we are in.”
Marcel spent a recent Saturday morning making friends at the Farmers’ Market, just outside the David Hill Financial office at 545 N. Main Street. David believes the best way to do business is with an old-fashioned handshake and a few minutes getting to know someone on a personal level. He advised Marcel to open the office on Saturday morning and offer coffee and bottled water to the volunteers who walk shelter dogs at the market.
Marcel did just that, introducing himself and offering up refreshments to the mostly senior group who organize and run the off-site adoption event at the Farmers’ Market. Marcel has been working for David’s financial planning business for close to two years, starting as an intern through the Experience-based Career Education Learning (EXCEL) program at Las Cruces High School at age 17.
As Marcel handed out bottles of water and cups of coffee to the volunteers situated across the street from the office, I asked him what he was doing. “We’ve noticed that one of the best ways to expand our business is to get out there, shake hands and make genuine connections with people,” Marcel explains. “We do that by helping out the people who help the community.”
The summer after his internship, the finance company hired Marcel and sponsored him through the process of earning his license for New Mexico Life, Accident and Health Insurance at age 18. “They sponsored me through all of it, covered all the costs,” Marcel remembers. “Now I’m at NMSU, working with them, and getting industry experience.”
As the Business Development Specialist for the company, he has learned “the basics of client correspondence, mailing letters, scheduling, and answering phones. Today, he develops our business by getting out, shaking hands, and introducing himself as well as David Hill Financial, to unfamiliar faces,” David explains.
Marcel adds, “I get to do some big boy stuff, like rebalancing portfolios with David and getting first-hand experience. Other days, I might go get him an oil change. I do a big spread of things.”
Marcel is studying finance through the school of business on the Honor Excel scholarship and is a member of Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity at NMSU where he holds the office of vice president of finance. He plans to graduate in 2020 and perhaps continue for a master’s degree.
With his wife, Jennifer, David Hill offers financial planning and guidance in retirement, investments and insurance as well as tax assistance. A consultation to discuss options is free.