For Jessica Romine, part-owner of Parkinson & Hinton, Inc., P.C. and Board Chair for La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership, helping a city that she has called home for over 20 years thrive has been the core of her professional and personal goals. From the time she was a Purdue University student studying forestry and natural resources to becoming an accountant, Romine has done her part to develop what makes the Region great.
“My first degree from Purdue University is in forestry and natural resources, which was a wonderfully important field,” Romine said. “However, it was very hard to find work and even harder to get paid for that work. Unfortunately, grassroot efforts seldom have strong funding or financial support. After college, I spent three years doing internships and struggling to pay bills, which led to my decision to go back to school for accounting.”
An opportunity to intern with Parkinson & Hinton in La Porte became available during her last semester of her accounting degree. The internship led to a full-time position with the company, one that she feels to this day is the perfect fit for her and her personal and professional skills.
“I love working in a small firm and supporting small businesses in our community,” Romine said. “I pride myself in developing strong relationships with clients. In addition, we see a myriad of various industries and service-related companies, as well as not-for-profit organizations.”
Parkinson & Hinton provides a long list of services, including individual, corporate, and non-profit tax return preparation, estate tax planning, consulting, audits, and reviews. At the beginning of 2019, Romine became part-owner of the firm, 16 years after beginning her career with them.
“I feel very fortunate to love the work I do,” she said.
Along with working closely with the community in her position at Parkinson & Hinton, Romine has been involved with a number of community organizations, like the Greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce and, later, the Chamber and Greater La Porte Economic Development Corporation’s partnership that established La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership.
“I have been involved with the Greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce since 2015,” Romine said. “I was the treasurer from 2015 to 2019 and moved into the Chair position at the start of 2020.”
As Chamber Chair, Romine’s responsibilities include ensuring each meeting is planned effectively, conducting meetings according to the organization’s by-laws, and dealing with matters in an orderly manner. Her time as a CPA, part-owner, and longtime board member of various nonprofits provided her the necessary insight into an accountant’s important role in everyday operations.
“What I have found is that regardless of the vision or mission of a business or an organization, accounting is the backbone that supports all functions. Accounting is an exhaustive assessment of business performance by setting long and short-term targets and comparing them to the actual,” Romine said. “So, while it’s not the sexiest topic at most board meetings (unless you belong to the financial world!), it is crucial to the operations of the organization and its ability to perform, adapt, and sustain itself year after year.”
This is especially true this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic has put many organizations and businesses to the test. Organizations like LEAP and businesses like Parkinson & Hinton have worked hard to strengthen their ties to the community during a time when our normal is being tested.
“This is just a short list of programs that LEAP offered in 2020: Social Media Bootcamp; Marketing Your Business in the Digital World; Community Engagement Series with City Department Heads, Mayor/Code Enforcement/Police Chief; Ask the Experts Event – COVID resources and business support; and the Manufacturing Forum, which is an ongoing partnership with Michigan City Chamber of Commerce that supports local manufacturers,” Romine said. “The LEAP team and Board of Directors is in constant discussion about how to best provide value to members; the dialogue has obviously changed in 2020, but it is an ongoing function in order to best support business members.”
“Parkinson & Hinton is a small business and we cater to small businesses,” Romine continued. “We understand what it means to business owners to have to shut their door, cease operations, or furlough employees, all while waiting for the quarantine to end and not knowing what the future might bring. It was been an honor and privilege to work with business owners to help them apply for the Paycheck Protection Program loan funds or other SBA loans.”
In a more personal way, organizations like LEAP help Romine meet personal goals that have been rooted in her community her entire life.
“I am part owner of a local downtown CPA firm, I live in the city limits of La Porte, and my children attend La Porte Public Schools,” Romine said. “I have every desire, interest and commitment to make La Porte “THE” city people want to live, work, and do business in.”
Born and raised in Michigan City, Romine has made the Region not only her home, but also her family’s. She has an 11-year old son named Luke, a 7-year old daughter named Finley, and an adopted fur baby named Josie.
“They are the reason I want to be involved in the growth and continued success of La Porte – from education and careers, to enjoying the local parks and trails and ‘Loving the Lake Life,’” Romine said. “I want them to be proud of their hometown and feel excited about all the wonderful things that are in store for our community.”
In her free time, Romine can be found enjoying the outdoors, spending time with her family, and gardening.