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Bob Lind, Published June 11 2013

Mayville grad puts in 18 years working for federal government

From Mayville (N.D.) State University to Washington, D.C. From a triple college major in mathematics, computer information systems and business administration to a position with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

That’s the story of Matthew Worner, who has completed 18 years with the federal government.

“Where has the time gone?” Matthew asks,

Well, much of it has gone by while he’s been in the classroom and while performing his duties as senior information technology auditor with Homeland Security.

“As a guy who is always learning,” Matthew writes in reply to Neighbors’ inquiry, “I’m taking some extra accounting courses so I can take the certified public accountant review course, then take the CPA exam.

“This semester I’m taking one of the hardest courses of my life: intermediate accounting II. Next fall I take advanced accounting and a year from now, I take the Becker CPA review course.”

Neighbors has no idea what all that is. But there’s no doubt Matthew will nail all of those courses.

Mayville State family

Matthew, who lives in Alexandria, Va., is a 1989 graduate of Mayville-Portland High School. He’s the son of Michael and Marilyn Worner, Mayville. Both are retired from Mayville State: Mike as assistant professor of education and Marilyn as director of a student support services program.

This is a Mayville State family, because the three Worner offspring all are graduates: Matthew and his sisters Michelle and Martha. (Yes, the names of everyone in the family, along with Mayville, begin with “M.”)

Both Michelle and Martha are married. Michelle Kommer lives in Fargo and is vice president of human resources for North Dakota Blue Cross-Blue Shield. Martha Velasco-Suarez, an attorney, lives in Houston, Texas.

Matthew used to be with the State Department. He joined Homeland Security in 2005.

In 2008, he graduated from Virginia Tech University with a master’s degree in public administration. This was one of his proudest moments, because, he says, “VTU is a great university, and my dad’s brother Wayne is the retired dean emeritus of the College of Education there.” Matthew now is on the VTU Center for Public Administration and Policy alumni board.

He earned a master’s degree in policy management from Georgetown University in 2011.

Back home, Mayville State honored him with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008.

“Of course,” he says, “I’m still very interested in state and federal public affairs. You will see an occasional op-ed piece from me in The Forum.” He says he reads The Forum on the Web every day.

Facing a concern

Sequestration was a concern for Matthew, who thought his hours and, as a result, his pay might be cut back. But so far this hasn’t occurred.

Recent years “have been somewhat difficult,” he says, (because) “we haven’t had a pay raise in two years, and there are proposals to keep our salaries leveled for 3-5 years.”

Matthew argues (emphasizing he’s speaking for himself and not for Homeland Security or any other government agency) that “a balanced approach of increased taxes and spending cuts on all programs – mandatory spending, defense and domestic – are needed to stabilize the nation’s long-term fiscal pictures. People can’t tax and spend their way to fiscal prosperity, but they also can’t cut their way to prosperity, either. Negotiation is the only way to get things done.”

But he says he’s “cautiously optimistic” the government can get something done about the nation’s fiscal problems.

This cautious upbeat attitude comes, he says, from his having “ever the sunny North Dakotan, friendly Midwestern disposition.”

Don’t dispose of that disposition, Matthew.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com