Marquis Evans has been a member of SVSU’s family since the fourth grade. The Saginaw Township man became acquainted with the university sooner than most of his peers when his mother, LaCreta Clark, a professor of educational leadership & services, joined the faculty in 2003. Evans enrolled at SVSU in 2012.
He joined the football team as a redshirt freshman but hung up his cleats before his sophomore year when another opportunity presented itself. The finance major impressed his co-workers at Garber Management Group Inc. during a summer internship at the company’s Nissan dealership two miles from campus. In fact, he was asked to join the company full time more than two years before he earned his bachelor’s degree in 2017. After serving in a number of roles, the 23-year-old was named the dealership’s finance manager this year, making him the youngest at the position at any of Garber’s regional locations.
Evans recently sat down with REFLECTIONS for a Q&A session discussing his experience at SVSU and Garber, and how the transition from student to professional was made smoother thanks to the commonalities between the two organizations.
You were a redshirt tight end with SVSU’s football team in 2012. What was that like?
My whole football experience: I loved it. It taught me a lot about discipline and hard work. It also gave me some of my best connections in life, through friends and mentors. I still go to games when I can — about two each season.
Was it a hard decision not to play your sophomore year?
I loved playing football, but I saw an opportunity in joining Garber full time. In the long run, that would benefit me more than finishing my college football career. Any college sport is a full-time job. There weren’t enough hours in the day to play football, go to class and work at Garber. I had to choose.
Garber Management Group seems to attract a lot of SVSU alumni to its workforce. Why do you think there is such a strong connection between those two organizations?
They have a lot in common. That might be why there are so many SVSU graduates working there. SVSU has a lot to offer Garber in term of candidates, and Garber has a plethora of positions for qualified candidates. Garber and SVSU also have a lot in common in terms of philanthropy. Both are very conscientious of the surrounding community. If that’s something that’s important to you, those are good places to be.
What was your favorite memory at SVSU?
Having my mom hand me my diploma jacket after I walked across the stage at commencement. Ever since I was young, she always told me to work hard for what you want; that an education is the most important asset you can have. It was great to see her there when I earned my degree.
Finance manager is a pretty important position. You have to finalize vehicle purchases for buyers and work with financial institutions to get sales and loans approved. There’s a lot at stake for both the customer and company. How did it feel to take on that responsibility so early?
The best feeling I’ve had at Garber was getting the finance manager spot. I’ve always wanted it. I love working with people and I love working with numbers, so it’s the best of both worlds. The knowledge I gained at SVSU and the experience I had at Garber helped prepare me for it, so I was ready.
Are there any misconceptions about your job?
Yes. We genuinely want to help people. Many consumers are stuck with the mindset that dealers are here to profit as much as possible with no regard for the customer’s financial wellbeing, which is the complete opposite of our end goal. We truly help people improve their lifestyle.
What is your advice for SVSU students reading this today?
I would encourage students getting close to graduation to not become discouraged just because the perfect opportunity hasn’t opened up yet. You have to keep digging and find your niche. There’s a lot of opportunity out there.