Don Packard Pic
Donald H. Packard III
UNF Degree: MBA – ’99
Employment: KPMG LLP, Jacksonville, FL

Packard praises quality of UNF

As a partner with KPMG LLP in Jacksonville, one of the things Don Packard enjoys the most is returning to the UNF campus to help accounting students pursue their own careers.

Packard's career as a CPA came after distinguished military service. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a bachelor's degree in oceanography. After completing training as a naval flight officer, he served in the Navy for eight years. He flew electronic surveillance missions in support of Operation Deliberate Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Operation Southern Watch in Iraq.

After resigning his lieutenant's commission, he searched for a new career direction and ended up at UNF. "I was at a stage in my life where I was ready to make a career shift. I wanted to pursue a career in business."

As a returning college student, Packard admits he had greater appreciation for the quality of a UNF education. "I quickly found that it was both intellectually exciting and challenging to study accounting and business at UNF." He started working for KPMG in 1997 as an audit associate and received his MBA in 1999. Over the next 10 years, he was promoted to staff auditor and senior manager and was most recently named a partner in 2006. Packard focuses his practice on the audits of public companies in the information technology and real estate industries. Fidelity National Information Services is one of his primary clients.

Packard credits professors in the Coggin College of Business with sparking his interest in accounting. Specifically he cites faculty members Jeff Michelman, Gary Fane and Homer Bates as being influential in his success. "Across the board, access to faculty at UNF was great, far better than what I expected."

His ties with UNF remain strong. He is a past president of the Graduate Business Club, now the Coggin College Alumni Chapter. For the past six years he has been coming back to campus to recruit for KPMG. "It's exciting and rewarding to see graduating students begin their own careers. For those to whom we make job offers, it's a wonderful experience to see them show up for work on their first day."

With more than 123,000 employees world wide, Packard says he is proud and humbled to be a partner with KPMG. "These people are so dedicated and capable it is a honor to work with them. They are sharp and focused."

Packard, his wife, Kristen, and their daughter, Amelia, are an active outdoor family. Swimming, biking and horseback riding are among their many pursuits. "Our love of the outdoors gets a bit crazy. We took a count the other day and determined we have eight bikes for three people."

As for UNF, Packard remains one of its biggest boosters. "I would have to say the quality is clearly there. I could not have done any better in terms of the quality of the curriculum, access to the faculty and small, interactive classroom settings."