Marcus Barresi ’76 talks college, career, and the “the Mighty Three”
Photo caption: Sister Joyce Mahany, Marcus Barresi, Sister Mary Kneeland, and Sister Mary George O’Toole.
It’s been 40 years, but Marcus Barresi ’76 still appreciates three “mighty” Sisters.
In 1974, sophomores Marcus Barresi and Danny Bourbeau saw a problem and took it upon themselves to fix it. The problem: no snack bar on campus. The solution: Munchies, a short-order eatery located in the basement of Saint Joseph’s Hall.
“We opened Munchies every night from 7 to 10,” recalls Barresi, “and served a typical snack bar menu: sandwiches, fries, etc. We employed four or five students and we just barely broke even…but it was a learning experience.”
Munchies lasted just one year, but business major Marcus Barresi put that learning experience to good use. “When you want something to happen in a small community,” he said, “you have to make it happen.”
Looking back, he considers his time at Saint Joseph’s the most important years of his life: “I learned about personal responsibility and how to make decisions in an ethical manner. All the values my parents taught me were validated.”
“The presence of the Sisters on campus was huge!” he says. “I was so impressed by their dedication, intellect, and commitment to the mission. These were tough times in the mid-seventies. The Sisters had to be creative to keep things going—and they figured it out.”
After graduation, Barresi worked briefly in the food service industry and then decided on a career in financial services. A native of Fort Kent, he gravitated back to Aroostook County, where he founded Barresi Financial, Inc., in 1979. “I opened my firm in Presque Isle to be nearer to my family. People still remembered my late grandfather as the ‘Italian barber’ at the Northeastland Hotel.”
It was not an easy time to start a business, but over three decades he grew his firm into one of Maine’s leading providers of employee benefits, insurance and financial products and services. His company’s motto is Expertise with Integrity. “I always knew that, in the long run, you have to stick to your core values,” says Barresi.
A Distinguished Alum
This spring, the College awarded its Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Excellence to Marcus Barresi.
A generous donor, Barresi is a former trustee of the College, an Alumni Association Board member, and a past lecturer in the College’s Estate Planning Seminars. Recently, he was instrumental in bringing the College’s CPA Workshop Series to Bangor. His company has co-sponsored the continuing education series for the past several years
Accepting his award, Barresi gave a shout out to three exceptional people: Sister Mary George, Sister Mary Kneeland, and Sister Joyce Mahany. He praised the Sisters for their “constant dedication to their core values in their everyday ministry at the College.” He called them the Mighty Three.