Success: Kathy Halvorsen-Enstrom

Kathy Halvorsen-Enstrom

Success Follows: Kathy Halvorsen-Enstrom

As an accounting and business administration major, Kathy (Halvorsen) Enstrom ’96 didn’t expect to land an internship in criminal investigation with the Internal Revenue Service. But after a friend saw a job announcement posted outside of associate professor Steve Gilmour’s office, Enstrom’s 23-year career with the government agency began.

Now an Executive Director, Enstrom fills a unique niche in the federal law enforcement community. IRS Criminal Investigation investigates potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code and other related financial crimes. Enstrom’s accounting degree helped prepare her for the job’s distinct requirements.

“Today’s sophisticated schemes to defraud the government demand the analytical ability of financial investigators to wade through complex paper and computerized financial records. My degree from Mount Mercy was essential to the success I am having in my career.”

Kathy Halvorsen-Enstrom, '96
Executive Special Agent in Charge
Criminal Investigation, IRS
Chicago, IL

As the Director of Operations, Policy, and Support for IRS Criminal Investigation, Kathy is responsible for providing policy, support, and guidance to the IRS Criminal Investigation’s 21 field offices nationwide. Kathy oversees Financial Crimes, Special Investigative Techniques, Warrants & Forfeitures, and the National Forensic Laboratory. Kathy’s career has propelled her to this position after many stops along the way.  She began as a Special Agent Intern in Cedar Rapids.  After training, she moved to Chicago to work investigations as a Special Agent.  In 2005, she was promoted to Supervisory Special Agent in Milwaukee.  From 2010 to 2017, she held positions in Ottawa, Canada as the Deputy Attaché, in Washington, DC as a Senior Analyst, in Los Angeles as an Assistant Special Agent in Charge, in Cincinnati and New York as a Special Agent in Charge.

Hard work and the support of those around her have propelled her through the ranks during her impressive career. She credits much of her success to her Mount Mercy mentors, including Neil BernsteinTom Castle and Gilmour. She, in turn, finds the role of mentoring others to be very gratifying. In true Mount Mercy fashion, Enstrom strives to pay it forward and help others the same way her mentors helped her.

“I make sure I take time with my employees to listen to their goals and subsequently help guide their development in order to achieve the desired results,” Enstrom said. “I probably get as much out of the relationship as the person I am mentoring.”

Her mentor relationships have encouraged her throughout her life. First, her family and faith taught her values and work ethic which is essential to becoming a well-rounded person. Then, Enstrom’s time at Mount Mercy helped prepare her for the next big challenge: life after earning a degree.

“Mount Mercy faculty and staff were so supportive of every student,” she said. “They made sure you were ready for the next step in your life.”

While attending Mount Mercy, Enstrom was involved in many clubs, activities and sports. She attributes her time with the Mustang Women’s Basketball team to her understanding of teamwork and comradery, important traits in her field of work.

“Mount Mercy developed me from a kid into an adult. It taught me to be independent, benevolent, a career learner and supportive to others.”

As of August 2019, Kathy Halvorsen-Enstrom '96 began a new role in IRS Criminal Investigation as the the Executive Special Agent in Charge for the Chicago Field Office.

Be a Mustang. Success Follows.