Steve Castino ’02 ’05MBA

Invested in Rollins’ Future

By Warren Miller '90MBA

Steve Castino

Steve Castino ’02 ’05MBA has one foot firmly placed in Rollins College tradition and the other in its future.

For starters, Castino is a multi-legacy alumnus. His father, John ’77, went to Rollins. Two of his aunts and two uncles went to the College. His wife, Brooke Blackwell ’05MHR, and brother, Tim ’11MBA, went to graduate school at Rollins. His sister, Kelly ’09, graduated from the College of Arts & Sciences, and his mother, Nan, works in the development office.

Castino grew up in Edina, Minnesota. “My dad played baseball at Rollins for Coach Boyd Coffie,” he said. “I didn’t have any pressure to come here and looked at schools in the Midwest, but when I came to Winter Park, I just fell in love with the campus.”

Castino attended Rollins on a baseball scholarship and served on the student athlete advisory council. He was an economics major with a finance minor. Although finance was the subject in which he was most interested, business was not available as an undergraduate major. “That’s why I went to Crummer,” he said.

After earning his MBA, Steve had a chance meeting with a partner at the local accounting practice Vestal & Wiler, P.A. “He asked if I had ever thought of a sales position,” Steve recalled. “I hadn’t, but the idea sounded pretty good. I joined the firm to do business development, became a partner, and then a shareholder. Three of us run the firm day to day.”

Vestal & Wiler is one of the largest locally owned CPA firms, with 45 accountants and seven shareholders. The practice does tax and audit work for middle-market companies—businesses with $10 million to $500 million in annual revenue. Steve is the only partner who’s not a CPA.

“In addition to the management duties, I meet with clients quite a bit to make sure we’re doing what we say we’re doing,” he said. “The more face time with clients, the better, and it’s something I enjoy.”

Steve is very active with the College and in the community. He has served on the Crummer Alumni Advisory Board and currently serves on the boards of the Association for Corporate Growth, Community Coordinated Care for Children, and Florida Citrus Sports.

But his most significant board challenge is just beginning.

Steve has been named the alumni representative on the Sustainable Business Model task force, led by Debra K. Wellman, interim dean of the College of Professional Studies. The Sustainable Business Model committee is one of four groups addressing long-term challenges to the College. Each group is co-chaired by a faculty member and administrator, and includes staff, faculty, students, administrators, and alumni from each of Rollins’ schools.

“We’ve been tasked with making Rollins less reliant on tuition,” Wellman explained. “Higher education will not survive if tuition becomes unaffordable for the middle class, so we’re looking at other sources of revenue and business models, such as year-round classes so students can earn a degree in three years, instead of four.

“What Steve brings to the committee,” Wellman continues, “is a combination of management experience and a first-hand understanding of Rollins traditions. He’s helping us come up with a vision that will maintain those traditions in a sustainable way.”

“Rollins has been a big part of my family’s life,” Castino said. “I want to contribute whatever I can to ensure that it remains strong in the future, so my daughters can attend.”