To Hal Reister, The Man Who Made My Careet Possible
Today, July 5, 2011, is the 50th
anniversary of the day that began the formation of Tom Samson as a professional. Fifty years ago this morning
I reported to the Arthur Young office in Kansas City fulfilling the process you started when you interviewed me the previous
fall at Creighton University in Omaha. As I stood at the reception desk that morning it was easy to reflect
on what had happened since our first meeting in Omaha:
- I had taken my first plane ride to fly to Kansas City for the in-office interview. I can
still remember the anxiety I felt as I boarded that plane at the Omaha airport on an overcast winter day and the excitement
I felt in that magical moment when the plane broke through the clouds into the bright sunlit sky . . . I just knew that I
was embarking on something special . . . but little did I know how special and important that trip would be.
- Your offer letter, after the office interview, to start in July 1961 with
the firm’s Kansas City office for $425 per month was received with another level of excitement. Those
four years at Creighton had paid off as my dad had said they would when he pushed me to become the first in my family to earn
a college degree and to “work with my head instead of my hands alone”, a tough decision for a farmer whose only
son would no longer be there to help him with the tasks and chores required to keep the family farm going as he aged.
- Dr. John Begley, my accounting professor and boss (I worked for him part
time in his accounting practice while at Creighton) had pushed me to take your offer and had nothing but great words to say
about Arthur Young.
- As an ROTC cadet,
I had a six month commitment for active duty as a commissioned officer in the Army reserve following graduation.
My active duty date was the January following graduation. None of the firms I discussed this with
during on-campus interviews had any issues with this commitment.
- Judi and I had set our wedding date for two weeks after my graduation and we were ready to move to where my new job
was for the six months before my active duty time. Our plans were that she would remain there for the six
months I was on active duty.
- I had
received two other offer letters, one from Peat Marwick’s Omaha office and the other from Arthur Andersen’s Chicago
office, both with start dates in July.
January 1961, a new, young president, John Kennedy, was inaugurated and almost immediately our country’s relationship
with Russia worsened. Within weeks, the active duty time for nearly all Army reserve officers, including
me, was extended to two years.
- I will never
forget the feeling I had when I sat across the desk from the Andersen recruiter in their Omaha office where we met to discuss
their Chicago office offer. Upon learning of the change in my active duty assignment, he threw his business
card across the desk at me and told me to call him when I “got out of the Army.” (That feeling
served me well over the years as I worked on Arthur Young proposal teams and gave me a special feeling when Enron imploded.)
- A few days after that I got a letter from Peat Marwick with a similar message
- My mind was racing with questions: Would anyone hire me for the six months
before I went on active duty? Judi and I were not going to be able to live on her wages alone and it looked
like no one would hire me for the six months before I went on active duty.
- I wrote you a letter explaining the change in my military commitment. You sent me a note
reassuring me that the offer to start in July for six months was still good and you expected to see me back with the firm
when I completed my two year active duty time. I believe that note still has the smudges from my tears
- Our wedding
plans were firmed up and our honeymoon trip to Kansas City was planned to include a hunt for our first apartment as a married
and my commissioning took place on June 7th followed by our wedding on June 17th.
- We found our new home in an apartment on the edge of the Plaza.
- Judi found a job with a company near the Plaza and I prepared for my
first day at Arthur Young.
And what a day it was. Only got part of my paperwork filled out before you
introduced me to a senior who whisked me off to a client’s location before lunch where I began sorting checks and completing
bank reconciliations, a task John Begley had prepared me well for. As I recall, I got six hours of billable
time that first day. Not bad for a newbie! I also remember there was a problem in that
my first time sheet preceded the completion of the paperwork needed to make me an employee.
Hal, words cannot express the gratitude I have for all that you did for
me not only at the start of my career, but throughout the time we worked together. You became a good friend,
confidant and advisor. To you my dear friend goes much of the credit for helping make not only my career
so rewarding but for helping create the platform from which our three sons have each built their professional careers.