|Me (left) with my brothers Dan and Darrin, 1970
I was born in 1964 in Evergreen Park, Illinois. My family lived in several apartments on the south side
of Chicago until the mid-1970s, when we moved to the southwest suburbs, first to Justice and then to Alsip. My parents
made a modest living - my father was a shipping clerk for much of his life, and my mother, even though she had given
birth to four of us, always worked to keep us afloat. My parents instilled in me that, as the oldest, I should set
an example for my siblings and set high goals for myself.
|Governors State University graduate, 1992
I graduated from Alan B. Shepard High School in Palos Heights, Illinois, in 1981, and immediately went to work
full-time in order to pay my way through night college. It took me 10 years to finish, but somehow I persevered, first
attaining an associates degree from Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Illinois, and then a bachelors
degree in business administration from Governors State University in University Park, Illinois. During this period
(in 1983), an internship position required as part of my coursework turned into my first job in the accounting
field as a bookkeeper, at a time when most office desks did not have computers on them (although most did
have ashtrays!). Upon completing my college coursework, I attended a rigorous certified public accountant (CPA)
review course at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. In November of 1992, I achieved my proudest
educational moment - passing the uniform CPA exam on my first attempt, something accomplished by only 14% of those sitting
for this mental marathon of a test.
The following year, I married; then, in 1995, I accepted a promotion with my employer at the time which
required me to relocate, and we wound up making our home in Saddle Brook, New Jersey, just outside of New York City.
We had quite an experience on the east coast, but just a year later, the East Rutherford facility I had taken that position
at was shut down. We decided to return "home", this time landing in Woodridge. But we returned to
the Chicago area one family member stronger than we departed with, as my first son, Nolan, was born in Hackensack
|At a conference in New Orleans, 2001
For 26 years, I worked in the finance/accounting departments of several large companies,
and that enabled me to travel all over the country (to date, I have visited 41 of the 50 United States).
I can also say that, during my years in corporate America, I met a lot of good, talented folks. While
I learned a great deal then, I came to realize that my thirst for knowledge is a permanent part of my
makeup. I pride myself on my ability to adapt to change, which, apparently, is now the third thing you can count
on in life (after death and taxes, of course)!
While I started in private industrial accounting, I quickly found that one of the "requirements" of
being a CPA was doing tax returns for your family and friends! And I prepared my very first "paid"
return just a few months after I took the CPA exam, so I guess it was then that I officially became a "professional". I
quickly found that I truly enjoyed the challenge of helping folks reduce their legal tax liability, and started doing some
tax returns for a few of their friends and coworkers and acquaintences. Over the next few years, I was fortunate
enough to do some part-time work for a couple of respected local CPAs, Mary Billish and Ken Williams, where I continued
to learn and hone my skills. Eventually, I was separated from the industrial accounting world, and I am now
a full-time tax practitioner with over 500 valued clients. As you might imagine, I've gained quite a bit of experience
and practical knowledge through the years, and, with each passing year, I accelerate my efforts to keep up with
the constantly-changing tax laws. Many of my clients have thanked me for taking the time to explain, in plain
English, the items and figures on their tax returns.
|Declan, Nolan, Zack, and Joy with Santa, 2016
I still live in Woodridge with my wonderful wife, Carole, who also spent many years in the
corporate world before joining my practice in 2015. She even coordinated my participation in Woodridge's recent 50th
anniversary parade, going so far as to march in the event dressed as Wonder Woman. Togther, we have four fine children
- Zack (23), Nolan (22), Joy (17), and Declan (11).