Last Friday I helped celebrate Tony Costa’s 40th work anniversary. Tony is a financial control specialist in the accounting department. You would think that is a solitary job — balancing the books, reconciling accounts, ferreting out errors, and so on.
But Tony is well known at the credit union, and quite a few co-workers came by to express their appreciation for him. Tony is a quiet guy who enjoys the routines of life. He’s active in his church, devoted to New England sports teams, and is close to his family. His sister and brother-in-law also had 40-year careers in state government.
I think what it comes down to is caring about your job and understanding that we all have an impact. Tony discovered this long ago, and it has shaped his long career at the credit union.
“In 1975, I had just graduated and was looking for work. The unemployment rate was really high then, about 10%,” he recalled. A position as assistant to the manager opened up at the Mitre Employees Credit Union. Tony hadn’t considered working for a credit union, but the work suited him and he decided to stay.
Tony explained that with just two tellers and manager, and himself, everyone pitched in. “We used a mainframe computer and we balanced member accounts weekly. If I wanted a day off, I would come in early and do the balancing, then I was able to take the rest of the day.”
That’s Tony. Even on a day off, coming in to make sure the job gets done. Did he really intend to stay with the same employer for 40 years? “I grew up in a family that had a routine,” observed Tony. “I’ve always lived that way. I always want to make sure I do my job.”
Over the years, Mitre ECU changed its name to Milestone FCU, and grew considerably. Eventually, Milestone FCU merged with Hanscom FCU. The one constant was Tony. No one else at the credit union has that kind of track record. And it’s not likely anyone will, at least not anytime soon.
Tony has helped the credit union through many changes. “In the ‘80s, we needed to keep members from moving their savings, so we began offering IRAs and certificates. We introduced checking accounts, too, to keep more of our members’ business.”
As he stood next to the tables bearing congratulatory cakes, Tony spoke with characteristic modesty on his career. “I just kept showing up. I never wanted to let anyone down,” he declared. He joked that as long as he keeps getting paid, he’ll keep showing up.
I hope so. We can all benefit from knowing someone like Tony.