The following is a comprehensive listing of my accounting experience since 1978:
- Received a Master’s of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Colorado in 1978. (I also have an Engineering Chemistry B.Sc. from Colorado School of Mines).
- Received Honors Distinction on the comprehensive exam C.U. required all business Master’s degree students to pass before receiving their degree. I was told I was the first student to receive such a distinction in 5 years.
Deloitte, Haskins + Sells
- Started my accounting career on September 4, 1978 as a staff accountant for the DH+S Denver office. At the time, DH+S was one of the eight largest CPA firms in the world.
- On my first try I passed all 4 parts of the CPA exam in the fall of 1979 (at the time only 15% who took the exam passed all parts on their first try). After getting the requisite work experience, I received my CPA certificate in January of 1981. I should note that I am no longer a practicing CPA; after having been in industry for many years, I changed my status to ‘Inactive’ CPA in the 1990’s.
- Worked as a staff auditor for DH+S for two years. During that time, I audited over 40 different businesses/entities. Click here for the highlights and more detail.
Oakley Tube Corporation
My second job was working as the Controller for this small tube manufacturing business located in Sheridan, Colorado and Skokie, Illinois. It was a family-owned business that was very successful. This was my first experience in private industry and the records of this company were in excellent condition, so I did not have a major reclamation project as I would have later in my career.
The major contribution this company had to my career, aside from seeing how a competent set of accounting records could be set-up and maintained was to introduce me to a small standalone computer system for the first time. The company had installed this computer to handle all of its accounting, and I was hired primarily to help make this new computer work better. This was in 1980 at the very dawning of the Personal Computer industry, and learning how to make this company’s computer work would prove invaluable for the remainder of my career.
Sunergy Communities, et al
(Note: The et al here refers to the many names that this company ended up being known by.) Beginning in May of 1981, I began what would become a 10 year association with a company that became the 2nd largest manager/owner of mobile home parks in the country. As you will see, this was the most difficult accounting job I ever had, and this company was responsible for over half of the business entities I have accounted for in my career.
Though it eventually ended up getting into a whole lot of other businesses, the core business for Sunergy Communities always was buying mobile home parks anywhere in the country and either managing them itself or (more likely) selling them to limited partnerships whose limited partners were wealthy individuals. The purpose of each limited partnership was to provide tax-sheltered cash flow to the limited partners and fees to Sunergy Communities. When I got there, the company was responsible for approximately 25 mobile home parks and approximately 20 partnerships. Over the years this would grow to about 40 to 50 business entities that I was accounting for, not all of them being mobile home park limited partnerships. Click here for some of my highlights/lowlights with this company.
Computer, Accounting and Tax Services (CATS)
I had always wanted to own/run my own business, so in late 1984 I decided to leave Sunergy/River Oaks and start my own business. I had become enamored with computers and especially the new personal computers that were becoming wildly popular in the early 80’s. I could see just how huge an impact these tools were going to have on the accounting industry (and just about everything else, as well). I wanted to participate in the coming boom. My idea was to set up an accounting firm that would use these PCs to make accounting far easier for small businesses, and I was going to do consulting and write-up work and tax returns, etc. And all of this would be done using PCs that would make the work easier and more efficient.
I did this for 2 years but was not ready to run a business at the time, and I found myself being torn in way too many directions to be effective in any of them. I was a terrific accountant, and I was absolutely correct about how PCs would transform accounting for small businesses (see Quicken), but the tools for communicating this ability and these ideas were far less existent and far more expensive in the mid-80’s than they are in 2012.
After owning two different businesses, having about a dozen clients, and managing a recreation center through 1986, I finally decided that I was not going to be as successful in running my own business as I had hoped to be yet. It was time to look for a job.
The day after I had made this decision, I started looking in the classified ads (remember them?) for a new job and found my old job with Sunergy/River Oaks (now called ROC Properties) was available. In the intervening 2 years since I left what was at that time River Oaks Communities, one of the owners had sold his River Oaks stock and left the company and the other principal owner decided to buy the ‘Communities’ portion of the company back from the now failing public company. ‘Communities’ had gone through 3 Controllers who had failed to handle my old job. The new private company was now called ROC Properties, and it was advertising for a new Controller because the books were in complete disarray again. Click for highlights from the 5 years I worked at ROC.
Colorado Container and the Kelley Family
In 1991, I made a major career change by becoming the Controller/CFO of Colorado Container. Colorado Container was a very successful family-owned manufacturer of corrugated containers (brown boxes). Click here for the many highlights of my twenty years with Colorado Container.
One significant aspect of this job was that I also signed on as the Kelley family accountant to handle the accounting needs for the various additional entities that had grown up over the years because of the success of this company. I still continue to support them in this capacity. Click here to see the various entities I’ve handled during my years with them.
I would have enjoyed working for Colorado Container until I retired, but in December of 2011, the son who now controlled the company decided to sell it to a large New York Stock Exchange Company. This company was very interested in having me continue as the ‘Plant Controller’ for their acquisition. However, having worked throughout my career as the ‘chief’ accountant for much smaller companies than the one that now employed me, I chose to move in a different direction and start this exciting new venture.