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Member Spotlight: Thomas P. Giusti, Clark Schaefer Hackett

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Coordinator, Monday, November 28, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The member spotlight series features legacy OOGA members who have been a member of the Association for at least 10 years. If you would like to recommend someone to be highlighted, please contact Lyndsey Kleven lyndsey@ooga.org

 

Background information:

 

Tom Giusti was born and raised in Logan, West Virginia in the heart of coal and oil and gas country. Shortly after getting his drivers license, his cousin James Ferzacca asked Tom to drive him around in his 1959 Cadillac after he experienced a health issue that caused Ferzacca to have concerns about driving, frequently. Ferzacca was an oil and gas driller who had two partners and this was how Tom got his first education in oil and gas production in southern West Virginia.  

 

Tom graduated from high school in 1960 and continued driving Ferzacca until he attended college at Marshall University. In the winter of 1965 Tom graduated from Marshall with a business degree and a specialty in accounting. Ready to enter the workforce, his plans were stalled as Tom was drafted into the U.S. Army where he spent two years as a helicopter mechanic. Tom had orders for Vietnam but did not serve because it came too near the end of his term.

 

Following his time in the U.S. Army, Tom started working at Coopers and Lybrand in Columbus in 1967 (today known as Price Waterhouse Cooper). Coopers and Lybrand wanted to hire Tom two years prior but the issue of being drafted that was inevitably going to occur put that on hold. In 1969 Tom was asked by one of the partners to work on an engagement involving clients with oil and gas production in Marietta. This pulled Tom back into the oil and gas industry as he started working on some of the accounting and tax issues related to those particular clients.

 

Work History Overview:

 

In 1974 Tom was working for Ralph Dickson and Company which is where he met Jerry Jordan. Jordan was instrumental in getting Tom involved with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association and keeping him involved with the industry. Tom, being a cross-trained accountant, worked in tax area, consults, accounting and assurance. Tom wanted to use his knowledge with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association and got involved in some of the tax issues affecting the industry.


“Oil and gas taxation is unique because there are a lot of special provisions in the industry, simply because there is a lot of risk. Consequently, you need to keep abreast of any changes.”

 

It was while he was at Ralph Dickson and Company he also met and worked with another gentleman named Neal Longanbach in 1974. They had worked contemporaneously, before.  The two developed a good working relationship and in 1979 Neal and Tom were both ready to establish their own Firm. They called it Longanbach, Giusti and Associates.

For approximately 25 years they did accounting and tax for work for operators, producers and drilling contractors. Along the way, Tom met Jerry Olds (longtime OOGA member) and Richard Meyer (deceased), and along with Neal bought a producing company they named Zenith Oil and Gas. Olds and Meyer were the industry shareholders while Tom and Neal were non industry shareholders in the company. Zenith Oil and Gas drilled a few wells over the years to supplement production it already owned.

 

“As a tax and accounting consultant you see some of these expenditures and you learn to know what they are, but it’s nice to be on the real side of that and have operations in which you yourself participate.”

 

Reflecting on the industry, Tom noted that it has its ups and downs. Throughout the years Tom has seen that once a tax stature gets legislated, you seem to never get rid of it, even if profits drop immensely from when the tax was invoked in the first place—heightening the importance to protect the industry. Specifically mentioning when the industry was under attack by Congress with the windfall profit tax, profits became ridden with a “dirty” reputation and therefore they wanted to tax the industry.

 

“It’s kind of like a yo-yo with the way pricing is set from world influences; we have to ride with the tide,” Tom quipped. 

 

Tom reads a lot and subscribes to specific publications focused in oil and gas to stay updated on the industry. He also noted that accounting and reporting issues are peculiar, aside from the tax issues. They have what his profession calls the successful efforts method and the full cost method.  There are different ways you capitalize and depreciate/deplete assets, and check them for impairment.

“There really hasn’t been much of a change lately at the federal level, there are a lot of issues at the state level, but federally there hasn’t been a lot of change.”

 

In 2005 Tom and Neal sold Longabach, Giusti and Associates to purchaser Schneider Downs, where Tom continued working until 2009. Following this Tom went to work for Fentress and Barnes until 2012, when ultimately Fentress and Barnes joined with Clark Schaefer Hackett, where Tom is employed today. He continues to do work for people in the industry and has continued to participate in wells, some royalty interest, and lease acquisitions with others.

 

In 2010 Tom coauthored a course for oil and gas taxation and reporting, along with Mike Eberhart (another OOGA member). They organized and presented a seminar for people in the industry, lawyers and CPA practitioners and had more than 170 attendees. They hosted another seminar in 2013 in which Tom was the master of ceremonies and numerous other OOGA members presented.

 

Tom has seen the industry through many changes over the years and reflected on Shale development. He felt it initially gave the industry a false sense of all the wealth. It came at a time when the prices were high and a lot of people spent a lot of money buying into the deep right acquisitions. When you look back, it has been a tough scenario for many, and still is.

 

Tom has dealt with a lot of activity relative to deep right leasing and subleasing. He’s worked on strategies to utilize the internal revenue code to the fullest extent, to optimize the tax structure to close some of these subleases and sales.

 

History with the OOGA:

 

Tom has been a member of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association since the 1980s. After meeting Jerry Jordan in the 1970s, Jerry was instrumental in getting Tom involved with the Association. He started out on the tax committee and has volunteered on various special projects.

Tom was active as the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) was enacted in Ohio, and was very involved throughout that process. Tom attended all the meetings with the Chamber of Commerce on behalf of OOGA in 2005. He also met with numerous legislators along with Tom Stewart concerning CAT, and how it was to replace the general personal property tax and corporate franchise tax.

Tom feels that Jerry’s guidance early on within the Association led him on the path of getting the opportunity to become a trustee. Tom was elected to the OOGA Board of Trustees in 2013, where he continues to serve in this capacity. Tom also currently serves as the Chair for the OOGA Tax Committee. In 2014 Tom was inducted into the Association’s Hall of Fame and believes that was connected to the seminars he’s hosted, since he is not a producer.

 

Being a member has helped Tom’s networking in developing good relationships with law firms and banks. Tom’s skill set is very unique being that he is an accountant that is oil and gas industry specific. There are not many other accountants with this niche, especially in central Ohio.

Tom reflected on how much he has enjoyed bring involved with the people in the oil and gas industry. He finds it satisfying knowing he’s involved with an industry that is vital to everyone and as far as Tom’s concerned, it always will be. He is an advocate for the industry and enjoys being an advocate to people unfamiliar with the industry that don’t fully understand it, and prides himself to make a convincing argument that some of their illusions about the industry are incorrect.

 

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