By DEVIN WEEKS
Meet Josh Gittel: Husband, father, accounting nerd and proud to be local to Coeur d’Alene.
“Millennial, but I often don’t act like one.”
Career and community involvement:
“I am a senior accountant for North Idaho College, where I have worked the last eight years. Prior to coming to North Idaho College I worked in public accounting for two years. I am currently involved and serve in different capacities for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I also have volunteered with local Boy Scout and Cub Scout troops.”
“I have four children whose ages are 3, 5, 7 and 9.”
1. What was your reaction to being named North Idaho College’s Alumnus of the Year?
“I was quite shocked. I often tell people that it must have been a low nomination year because I know there are so many better options. It is great to be honored by a place where I have made my career, but also a place I hold close to my heart. NIC made a huge impact on my family, including my wife” (who is also an alum of NIC).
2. What role do you think a community college plays in a community like ours?
“There is a reason the word ‘community’ is embedded into community college. NIC is key to providing opportunities to so many different people in our community. We often talk about how we are providing opportunities for people from the cradle to the grave.
“Just to name a few of the many things NIC provides, starting with Head Start, we help to prepare young children and families for school readiness; the academic for-credit programs serve both traditional and non-traditional students; the non-credit programs help those seeking to learn customized training and skills in a variety of subjects; we provide a jump start for many high school students who are concurrently enrolled in high school and college through dual credit; and through the Area Agency on Aging we provide so many services and resources for older adults in our community.
“We are so fortunate to have something in our community that can provide these quality services at an affordable price. Growing up in Coeur d’Alene, I remember from a young age coming to NIC on a regular basis for sporting events, community events, school field trips or just coming to enjoy the beautiful beach in the summer.”
3. What are some of your favorite memories of growing up in North Idaho?
“My best memories of North Idaho revolve around the outdoors. I spent my summers on Lake Coeur d’Alene at my family’s lake cabin. From the time school ended until the beginning of the next school year, we were on the lake and I loved it. As I got older, I spent a lot of time with friends mountain biking, snowboarding, playing ultimate Frisbee and the regular Friday night bonfire.”
4. What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
“If you don’t know me, I am quiet, reserved and borderline socially awkward. It usually surprises people to know that even as shy as I am, I have fallen into different leadership roles that pull me out of my comfort zone. In high school I became a district vice president for the State of Idaho DECA (formerly Distributive Education Clubs of America) and at NIC I became a senator and then president of the student government. With those experiences, I was able to get a lot of leadership training, but also had to do a fair share of public speaking. Over the past five years I have been in leadership roles through my church, which has again pulled me out of my comfort zone.”
5. If you could meet any famous or important person, from now or from history, who would it be and why?
“I feel like a dork for admitting this but I think it would be fun to meet Chip Gaines (from ‘Fixer Upper’). First of all, Chip seems hilarious, fun and often acts like a big kid. I can relate to that since quite often my maturity level is less than my shoe size. At first I thought about all the amazing historical people who accomplished great things, but honestly, I would probably not relate as well or would be intimidated by them. Chip seems like one of those guys that you could meet and easily have a conversation with and relate to. He and his wife have been through a lot to get where they are now and even after all their success, they seem to have their priorities straight with their family, their faith, their town and roots. I have read their books talking about their lives and how they got to where they are now and they just seem like amazing and fun people.”