I emerged on earth in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in September of 1964. Residing with my parents and siblings in a series of six or seven room shacks (most with two bathrooms), I toured the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest while Dad worked to replace laborers with capital (Outsourcing wasn’t as popular then). In 1977, at the ripe old age of 12, I was destined to become more of a native to Hampton Roads than most residents upon my arrival in Newport News.

Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Accounting, and Economics

When Homer L. Ferguson High School conferred a degree upon me in 1982, I was “out of a classroom” so to speak. Hardly anxious to continue my fast food career, I enrolled in nearby Christopher Newport College. In 1987, long before Paul Trible actually did transform us into “ Shoe Lane” University, I was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.

Unfortunately, all the studying left me without much of a tan. Miami University offered me a scholarship package, but pale as I was, it did so at the Oxford, Ohio campus, rather than the one in Florida. I was awarded a Master of Science in Accountancy in 1988.

We say that education is a process of life-long learning. That’s reassuring because since 2004, I have been enrolled in the Masters of Economics program at Old Dominion University on a part-time basis.

On-the-Job Training

Lecturing in the fields of Accounting and Economics is easier if you’ve been on the inside of a variety of businesses. At Ernst and Young in Columbus, Ohio, (Managing Partner) Jim Zid brought me face-to-face with a handful of America ’s largest businesses. Back home in 1990, I was introduced to cost control by CENIT Bank. As I prowled the institution’s halls--the Internal Auditor title dangling from my lips--the coffee in my cup came via payroll deduction (though not as a tax deduction, unfortunately). Later, as the 1990s unfolded and ushered in the new millennium, local accounting legends Jim Hall of Edmondson, LedBetter and Ballard, LLP and Jimmy Strickland, of Strickland and Jones, PC took me under their wings. First at Edmondson, then at S&J, I was encouraged to deduct something on every client’s tax return, if not coffee.

In 2003 I realized that my dad (also named Bill), would never forgive me for changing my name. Meanwhile, someone at Roanoke-Chowan Community College offered to let me teach Accounting and Econ there, even if I wasn’t named “Jim.” I accepted the position as graciously as I informed the industry folks of the decision to keep my name. Since the summer of 2006, I’ve been fortunate that there’s room at Tidewater Community College for a guy named “Bill.”