Jennifer McSwain is a lifelong resident of Shelby - and wouldn’t dream of leaving. “Many clients have mentioned to me, especially during tax season, that they feel like they’ve known me for a long time,” says Jennifer. “They’re so glad to have someone who knows what to do, someone they can always contact with a phone-call or email.”
Ever since November 2010, Jennifer has devoted herself to guiding the people of her hometown and surrounding community through the challenges of investments, taxes, and more. “It goes outside these four walls,” says Jennifer, of the way her service has brought her closer to the Shelby community.
It was a church friend that brought Jennifer to Gragg and Gragg, and when she’s not at work, she is singing in the Bethel Baptist Church choir.
Kathy’s adult life has been all about numbers. Her first job was in the accounting department of a national retail chain. That experience led her to a position in the accounting department in a local full service bank in Toledo, Ohio. Kathy chose to accept a position in a brand-new ‘small town’ bank also based in Northwest Ohio. She brought over two decades of skilled banking experience to this small company and within just a few years and with over $1B in assets, this small bank was consumed by a banking giant, 5/3rd Bank.
In 2006, Kathy’s husband was offered a new position in a company based in Kings Mountain, NC. With Kathy’s blessing, he accepted the position and Kathy, Mark and their daughter, Tara moved to Shelby.
“I always wanted cows for neighbors and now I have them.” Kathy says. Kathy lives on the outskirts of Shelby where she enjoys taking care of her pot belly pigs, chickens and rabbits in her spare time. “You can’t beat the NC climate where you can be outside every day of the year.” Kathy says.
Having a love of numbers and a fondness for small family-centric businesses, Kathy was able to find a new home at Gragg and Gragg in 2007 (celebrating 10 years with the firm). The family environment and unquestionable integrity at Gragg and Gragg has solidified Kathy’s appreciation and fondness for the staff and their stated mission to help others.
Stephen Carico, CPA
“Accounting is the nuts and bolts of business,” says Stephen Carico, who got a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Before moving to Shelby in May 2013, Stephen worked as the staff-accountant for a nonprofit organization. “What I enjoy most is helping people out, helping them to navigate the complicated, and taxes are complicated.”
Stephen's wife had the opportunity to open a business in Shelby, and is now the owner of the Crossfit gym in town. The couple had visited Shelby a few times because they had friends and family already in the area, and were excited to make the move. “It’s kind of neat we ended up here,” says Carico, “We really enjoy the small town.”
Before the move, Stephen “was lucky” to find out about an opening at Gragg and Gragg, where he’s now the newest employee (at four years with the firm). “The biggest satisfaction of the job is being part of the community,” says Carico, who is also a board member of the Uptown Shelby Association.
Client Service Manager
Starting in January 1987, Donna Bowen worked for the firm when there was only one Gragg and stayed at the firm through the various evolutions. In that time, she has done it all, seen it all. “I remember when we upgraded our computer to 40 megabytes and I thought we’d never run out of room,” says Bowen. “Now, I sit here with three screens and electronic file-cabinets!”
Donna, a Shelby native, began working at the firm not long after she was married; three years later, she gave birth to twin girls. To juggle her career and motherhood, Donna had to double-up on work. “Once they were in school, it became even more difficult,” Bowen says, “Because they played every sport there was, and I wanted to see all those games. Family means the world to me, so I had to work a schedule where I’d work late one night to leave a bit early the next so I could go to a game.”
Still, she stuck with it. “It’s always been an excellent place to work, and that made it easier to keep coming back,” says Bowen. “I like interacting with our clients. I’ve got a couple I still deliver payrolls to - I walk in the door and they’re happy to see me, because they know I’m bringing checks!”