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Looking back can prepare us for moving forward.

1960 was a momentous time for the country and for TEI. It was the year in which America ushered in the New Frontier with the election of John Kennedy as President who campaigned (among other things) in favor of tax reform. Just five days before the U.S. presidential election, TEI installed Wilford Young as its eleventh president. The Institute received word recently that Mr. Young, who was 94, died earlier this year, and the occasion of his passing prompted me to pull out the Annual Report from his year as TEI's president to explore the parallels between "then" and "now." They are more striking than I expected.

In many respects, TEI forty-five years ago was like TEI is today: Focused on education, networking, and (increasingly) advocacy. In 1960, the Institute's membership topped 1,400, and the organization celebrated the chartering of a new chapter--encompassing members in the Baltimore-Washington region. Today, the membership milestone is 5,800, and the new chapter is about as far away from Washington as you can get--in Asia. But in a very real sense, the reasons undergirding the chartering of an Asia Chapter are the same as those prompting the Board of Directors to grant a charter to a group of 15 tax professionals in Maryland and the District of Columbia 45 years ago: Helping members stay connected and current, and giving them a voice. Interestingly, in 1961 the Institute heralded the presence at its Midyear Conference of government officials from Japan and the Philippines, and this year, we welcomed members from those countries.

The parallels do not end with the Institute's expansion. In 1961, TEI established an employment committee to assist members in finding staff for their companies (or jobs for themselves), and currently, we have undertaken to leverage technology to this end by launching a new job bank on our website. As for advocacy, the Institute's outreach to government officials as part of what became the Revenue Act of 1962 led to the creation of a Special Committee on Legislation to establish formal guidelines on when (and on what) TEI would become involved in the legislative process. The outcome of that committee's work--though revised several times the intervening four decades--continues to guide the actions of the Institute's Standing Committees, Executive Committee, and Board of Directors.

Finally, 1961 was the year in which the Institute published its first ever Corporate Tax Department Survey, an effort undertaken with the assistance of McKinsey & Associates. Entitled "Organizing for Effective Tax Management," the study constituted the first full-scale, independent study of the corporate tax function ever undertaken. In TEI's 1961 Annual Report, Wilford Young reported that the report articulates "a preference for locating the tax department 'as a co-equal component of a truly integrated finance and planning function headed by a senior officer having group responsibilities,' but makes clear that such an integrated finance, tax, and planning function is only they foresee as an evolving management concept." This year, of course, brought the publication of the 2004-2005 Corporate Tax Department Survey, which should enable 21st Century tax executives (like their 1960s forebears) to better organize their departments for the benefit of their companies.

Since my look-back at the 1961 Annual Report was prompted by Wilford Young's death, I would be remiss if I did not share the highlights of his eventful life. Born in 1910 in Rathdrum, Idaho, Mr. Young was graduated from the University of Idaho with a B.S. degree in 1931. He subsequently received an M.S. degree from Columbia University School of Business and a J.D. degree from Fordham University Law School in 1940. (He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Idaho in 1975.) Before receiving his law degree, Mr. Young worked as a certified public accountant in New York City. In 1942, Wilford joined the legal department of Texaco Inc., where he worked for 36 years. He served in numerous positions including General Tax Counsel, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, and Vice Chairman, Board of Directors.

In addition to his Herculean efforts in TEI's behalf, Mr. Young was active in many other organizations, including the American Petroleum Institute, Tax Institute of America, and the Association of General Counsel. Following his service as TEI President, he was appointed to the Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commissioner of Internal Revenue.

Wilford Young was married to 63 years to Lillie Gallaher Young, who predeceased him. In writing to inform TEI of her father's death, his daughter, Catherine Finn, wrote:

"I remember fondly his Presidency--one of TEI's meetings was at the Greenbrier, if I am not mistaken. I certainly enjoyed being there even though I had to share Dad. There are probably not too many people from his era [who still receive The Tax Executive], but the 90-year old gentleman that Ms. Zelisko referred to participating in the October 2004 TEI New Orleans Conference might remember him."

Morris Rinehart, the person Mrs. Finn refers to, served as Institute President just four years after Mr. Young, and given Morris's power of recall--as evidenced by his comments at the New Orleans Conference--I am counting on his adding some texture to the foregoing summary of Wilford's life and contributions to TEI.

TEI continues to prosper not only because of the efforts of the Wilford Youngs in the membership (who sometimes may have struck a worklife balance different from what their families would have preferred), but also from those members who toil quietly and unassumedly in the background or who simply pay their dues and support their confreres' involvement in the organization colleagues. This issue of the magazine includes a short item on Ed Roche, a retired member of the Chicago Chapter who spent many years with McDonald's. Paul Schaffhausen, who served in many positions at both the chapter and Institute level (including Regional Vice President, Chair of the Membership Committee, and Vice Chair of the IRS Administrative Affairs Committee), wrote to inform the Institute of Mr. Roche's death. Ed, who worked as both an IRS and state auditor, was the type of boss who did not need to elbow his way into the "TEI picture." Paul put it this way: "As for his involvement in TEI, Ed felt that TEI was my job. He preferred to support me in that role and that seemed to work pretty well, or so we thought. For example, he thought that the TEI/IRS Chicago video was a bit silly, but once we decided that it was a go, he provided the budget and McD resources as well as [CEO] Jack Greenberg's involvement in the project. His name never appeared in the acknowledgments, but it probably should have. Anyway, he was the quiet support behind my very public face."

We offer both Wilford's family, and Ed's, TEI's deepest condolences.

One final note of member transition: I recently received a letter from Jim Fisher of Brown-Forman in the Kentucky Chapter, informing the Institute he would not be renewing his membership. "After enjoying the many benefits of belonging to TEI, as well as the many friendships I have made," he wrote, "it is one of the things I will miss most in my retirement. My involvement, both on the national and local level, has served me well in my career. My thanks to you and your entire staff for all of your hard work." It is we on the staff who owe Jim, and countless other members, our gratitude for their quiet and thoughtful involvement and support. Jim may not recall it, but I sat beside him at my very first TEI Board of Directors meeting. It was the summer of 1982, and the location was sweltering Kiawah Island. Jim served on TEI's Executive Committee that year, and he took the time to "give me the lay of the land" and make me feel glad that I had joined the staff. His fellow members have been reinforcing that feeling ever since.

Twenty years seems like a long time ... until something jars your memory like one of Proust's madeleines. For example, writing about Wilford Young becoming TEI's president five days before the 1960 presidential election spurred memories of a snowy November 9, 1960, when I had to get up early to deliver a newspaper "extra" heralding John Kennedy's election. And, as just noted, Jim Fisher's retirement letter made me think a very hot and humid day in South Carolina two decades ago.

I mention 20 years because at this year's Midyear Conference, we noted the 20th anniversary of Deborah Gaffney's joining TEI's staff as the Institute's Director of Conference Planning. In the intervening period, Deborah has helped guide TEI's protean educational efforts. By my count, she has planned 40 conferences, between 60 and 75 seminars, and nearly 100 courses, to say nothing of Board of Directors meetings and innumerable ad hoc gatherings. To her work, she has bought thoroughness, tenacity, and unmatched professionalism. She has a stellar reputation in the meeting planning community, has served as a mentor for younger meeting planners, and has served TEI extremely well.

Ten years ago, when asked what appealed to her most about working for TEI, Deborah responded: "I am gratified to be employed by an association which places such emphasis on providing excellent continuing education for its members, and I enjoyed working side by side with the leadership to provide the first-class logistical support TEI members expect and deserve t their meetings." Earlier this year, I asked Deborah the same question, and without hesitation (and, I daresay, without resort to her previous comments), she responded in nearly identical words. That's a tribute not only to her consistency and high standards, but to TEI's as well. I thank her for her service to the organization and look forward to continuing to work with her.
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Author:McCormally, Timothy J.
Publication:Tax Executive
Date:Mar 1, 2005
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