Amanda Tiernan


Over the past several months, former Bay College student Amanda Tiernan has begun working as a human resources recruiting manager for Besse Forest Products Group. She said her time at Bay went a long way toward helping her succeed in this position.

Amanda graduated from Munising High School in 2004, but she did not go to Bay right after completing high school. Instead, she studied cosmetology at Paul Mitchell and finished that program a year later.

“Then, I worked at a salon in Munising until 2008,” she said.

Right before the year ended, Amanda’s husband took a job in Gladstone, requiring the family to move. However, that was not the only change they were going through at the time.

“I had my daughter at the end of 2008 – I was pregnant during the move. I decided to stay at home with her for about two years,” she said.

Eventually, Amanda took a job at Baybank in Gladstone. She also started making long-term career plans around that time.

“I knew that I didn’t want to do cosmetology anymore – I wanted a different career for myself. I signed up at Bay for my business degree since I was thinking about working in business administration or accounting. At that time, I was working at the bank in the loan department, so that prompted me to further my education,” she said.

Since she was working full-time at Baybank and raising her daughter, Amanda opted to pursue her business degree at Bay on a part-time schedule.

“A lot of my business classes were with the same professor – Brent Madalinski, who also did marketing classes. He really focused a lot on public speaking and presentations. I also took some interpersonal communications classes, which were extremely vital in developing my professional career,” she said.

She appreciated the fact that Bay’s scale allowed her to make meaningful connections with her instructors and peers.

“With Bay being a smaller college, it really brought the students together. Everything seemed like a group effort, and we did a lot of projects in groups. That really helped me develop a ‘team player’ mentality, which is a great thing to have,” Amanda said.

In addition to her classes, Amanda made use of Bay’s student support services.

“I definitely took advantage of having the TRIO center. Any time I felt that I needed extra support in my classes, I went there for tutoring,” she said.

Amanda graduated from Bay in 2017 with an associate degree in business.

“After I graduated, I took an HR position at a skilled nursing facility. I was there until I took my current job, and that’s where I figured out that HR was where I’m really meant to be,” she said.

In January 2022, Amanda began working at Besse Forest Products Group. Though she is still getting used to her new job, she said things have been going well since she started.

“It’s amazing. I absolutely love it here – I feel very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Besse Group. Obviously, I was new to manufacturing coming from healthcare, but Greg and Cain Besse have been amazing mentors for me,” she said.

Amanda’s role with the Besse Group involves marketing, recruiting, HR support, community involvement, and creating best practices. Fortunately, she said her experiences at Bay – particularly her business and interpersonal communications classes – helped her learn the skills she needed to excel in this role.

“Those classes really gave me confidence in myself, especially when it comes to speaking in front of people,” Amanda said.

Thanks to its high level of community involvement, dual enrollment opportunities, and low tuition rates, Amanda said Bay College has been a positive force in the local area.

“I think that, as a whole, Bay College is a phenomenal school,” she said.