Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) alumnus Dennis M. Duffy, founder and chairman of Duffy+Duffy Cost Segregation Services Inc., has performed engineering-based cost segregation studies nationwide since 2002. A CPA since 1972, he has worked with international and regional public accounting firms and as a financial executive in industry and government.
Last year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he retired and sold his business.
Duffy often reflects on his educational and career journey, which began at Tri-C. Having finished high school in the bottom 10% of his class, he soon found himself drifting from job to job with no real focus. He envisioned his future family and worried about how he would support them.
When his brother and friends enrolled at Tri-C, Duffy decided to give it a try, too. He registered for classes in 1964, attending mostly at night while maintaining a full-time job.
“Tri-C was a godsend for me,” he said. “The instructors were wonderful, and they had real-world experience in business and accounting. Tuition was affordable, so I was able to pay for it myself.”
Duffy’s first accounting professor made a terrific impact, inspiring him to pursue accounting as a career. After earning an associate degree in 1967, he transferred to Cleveland State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree and, later, an MBA. Though he was apprehensive about transferring to a four-year school, he had no problem adjusting.
“I think Tri-C could compete with anybody,” he said. “I always thought the instructors were at least on par with four-year schools.”
Duffy taught accounting courses at Tri-C and Youngstown State University throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s. He found it especially rewarding to teach at Tri-C because it allowed him to give back by helping others pursue careers in the field.
In 2002, after several years as a corporate financial consultant, Duffy started his cost-segregation firm. The company now has offices in Westlake and Columbus as well as in Novi, Michigan.
Today, a year into his retirement, Duffy describes this chapter in his life as “wonderful — like being 18 again.” He particularly enjoys using his free time to exercise, golf, ski and ice skate.
To students considering Tri-C, Duffy says, “Cuyahoga Community College is a tremendous resource. It will be key to your success and to your professional life. I never would have achieved what I did had it not been for Tri-C.”