Accountant Has Seen a Lot in 32 Years
Jul. 27, 2016
April 16, 1984. Thatâs the first day Lanita Eatman walked through the doors of Concorde Career Colleges, Inc.âs corporate offices.
Only, it wasnât Concorde Career Colleges back then. And, the offices were on the 10th floor of a building at City Center Square in downtown Kansas City, at 10th and Main Streets, not in suburban Mission, Kan., where theyâre located today.
Seen a lot of changes
Eatman, whoâs worked as an accounting coordinator her entire 32 years with Concorde, has seen a lot of changes in that time. But the basic core of who Concorde is and what Concorde does has always remained constant and is what has kept her around all this time.
âIâve always just liked the way Concorde treats its people,â she said. âWeâve seen ups and downs. But even during the lowest points, weâre always a team. Concorde doesnât give up on its students or its people. Itâs always very family oriented.â
When Eatman started with the company, it was called Cencor. It was a parent company that owned career colleges and also started what is now La Petite Academy, the childrensâ day care. In the late 1980s, Concorde spun off from Cencor. At that time, there were 22 campuses across the country, including campuses in Minneapolis, Van Nuys, Calif. and two in the Houston area. And, the company was involved in more than just health care training.
âThey also owned a paralegal school at one time,â Eatman said.
Specializing in health care training with campuses around the country
Campuses closed and opened over the years. One campus was closed in Dallas only to have Concorde acquire and open another. There used to be a campus in southern suburban Kansas City, in Overland Park, Kan. In recent years, campus locations were added in San Antonio
and Southaven, Miss
., all specializing in health care training.
The accounting department also has changed quite a bit over the years, Eatman said. When she started, she said there were between 50-60 working in the department. Today, there are roughly 15.
âBack then, it was not as automated,â she said. âThey had a separate computer team whose job it was to enter all the data weâd documented by hand.â
Eatman said she has three co-workers who have been with Concorde nearly as long, or even longer, than she has â Lisa Henak, senior executive assistant, Mona Armilio, fiscal officer, and Peggy Ciafullo, operations manager.
And now, she will be the first to depart. Eatman is retiring from Concorde on Oct. 28 of this year.
âItâs kind of a strange feeling,â she said. âItâs like Iâll be leaving my family. Concorde is part of my family. If they ever need me to do anything, Iâll be available.â
Looking to the future
Just because she is retiring doesnât mean Eatman will stop working. A native of Warrensburg, Mo. and mother of two grown children, she plans on joining her husband, Luther, to work full-time in the ministry they started in Kansas City 13 years ago â Bridge of Hope Community Church
. It reaches out to people with marginal lives â drug addicts, victims of abuse, homeless.
âWe have to raise support,â she said. âGod gave us this calling, so itâs what we have to do.â
Before that, however, she intends on enjoying some time with her family, which includes five grandchildren. They plan on embarking on a cruise to the Bahamas around Thanksgiving.
âThen, itâs back to work,â she said.