Amer Gerzic, former GVSU student

Amer was born and raised in Bosnia, near the Croatian border. When he was in the seventh grade, the Croatian War of Independence began to spill over into his hometown. As the areas around his home became more volatile, Amer’s school became too dangerous to attend and students were moved to a nearby school. Because of overcrowding, this school was able to provide education for only two days per week.

In the spring of 1992, Amer’s parents decided it was safest to send Amer and his older sister to Croatia to stay with relatives. They traveled through Belgrade, Serbia, and moved to the Croatian capital of Zagreb. Amer attended the eighth grade in Croatia, where he returned to a normal school schedule. In eighth grade, Amer became interested in basketball and started playing for a local basketball club.

In the fall of 1993, Amer moved with his parents to Germany to start the ninth grade. In Germany, Amer and his family faced new challenges: they spoke very little German and lived for the first three months in the overcrowded basement of a refugee housing building. Amer joined his school’s basketball team, and was quickly recruited to play for another school and then for a basketball club. There, a coach helped his family find an apartment where they could live more comfortably.

Amer completed his high school education in Germany, including attending a technical university prep school, which would allow him to attend college (or University). He began classes at University, then decided to apply to move to the United States.

Amer moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan in January 1999. He worked for the Catholic Human Development Organization for a brief time, as a driver and translator for other Bosnian immigrants. He then took a job at Designquest, where he was introduced to Presort Services, Inc. through a chance meeting with Joe Czarnik, the company’s VP of Technology.

Amer accepted a position as a software developer at a sister company of Presort Services, Inc. and started attending classes full time at Grand Rapids Community College. Eventually, he transferred to Grand Valley State University and completed his Bachelor of Science degree in 2005.

Amer worked hard at GVSU, while continuing to work full time at Presort Services. He completed his Master of Science in Computer Information Systems in 2007 – just 7 years after he began his undergraduate studies.

Since graduating from GVSU, Amer was promoted through the ranks at Presort Services, which is now Extend Your Reach. His roles have included Information Systems Manager, Senior Software Programmer, and Vice President of Operations. In April 2013, he was promoted to Executive Vice President, and was named President in December 2014.

As president, Amer is responsible for overseeing strategic planning and day-to-day operations for Extend Your Reach, which employs more than 100 people and provides integrated marketing services in Grand Rapids and Lansing. The company continues to evolve under Amer’s leadership and has been recognized by the United States Postal Service for its pairing of direct mail and marketing technology.