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Crunching the numbers

Pam Slifka took over for Lou Guzek as Detroit Lakes city finance officer. She has been working with numbers most of her life, starting at a young age, getting involved with her parents' businesses. She has a degree in business, minor in accounting and is a certified public accountant as well.

Though some might consider accounting to be a somewhat less than thrilling profession, Pam Slifka would beg to differ.

"My parents had several business while I was growing up, and I got involved with the accounting side of things at a very young age," said the Albert Lea, Minn., native. "I enjoyed it."

So it wasn't much of a leap for her to decide on a career in finance. After graduating from high school in Sauk Center, Minn., Slifka moved to northwest Minnesota, to begin her undergraduate studies in business at Moorhead State University.

Before completing her degree, however, Slifka moved to Chicago, Ill., and spent 10 years there before finishing up her degree at Indiana University.

She graduated with a bachelor of science degree in business, "with a concentration in accounting."

"Shortly after that, I sat for my CPA (certified public accountant) exam," she said. "I'm a licensed CPA.

"Over the course of my career, my accounting role has expanded to include more finance," Slifka added.

After nine years of working in Fergus Falls, Slifka moved to northeast Iowa, near Decorah, and spent three years there before accepting a new job -- as finance officer for the City of Detroit Lakes.

Since starting her position with the city on June 23, Slifka said, she's enjoyed the challenge.

"I'm thrilled to be here," she said. "It's a great group of professionals I'm working with, and it's a this is a very dynamic community, with a vision for the future and a progressive, proactive council."

Her goal as the city's new finance officer is "to help the council in their vision for the future -- this is really a beautiful, small city and a great place to live."

As for why she chose to get into accounting and financial management in the first place, she said, "It allows you the opportunity to give people the information they need in order to make good decisions -- hopefully in the best interests of the organization (that they represent)."

Slifka, who is single, makes her home on Lake Lizzie south of Detroit Lakes, with her dog, a rat terrier named Trouble, to keep her company.

"I love dogs," she said. "He (Trouble) is waiting by the door for me to come home every night."

Besides dogs, Slifka also has an interest in antiques, and spends her leisure time tinkering around her lake property.

"I call my house 'Camp Never Rest" because there's always things to do there," she said. "I spend a lot of time on yard work."

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454